-Guest Post by Stefanie Schroeder, Publicity Manager, Specialty Publishing
“Spring.” The mere mention of the word—especially for those who have dealt with snow days, daycare and school closures, impassable roads, and the rumble of the ever-present snowplow within earshot—elicits feelings of hope, joy, renewal, and growth. Rather than overcast skies and slushy driveways, it is time for green lawns, flowers in bloom, and plants coming back to life. How appropriate, then, that the perfect book for this time of year comes from Magnolia co-founder and New York Times best-selling author, Joanna Gaines: We Are the Gardeners (from Tommy Nelson), available now.
We Are the Gardeners is Joanna’s first children’s book, and at first glance of the cover, readers will discover that her kids are listed as her co-authors. That’s because they were an integral part of the story and have spent time contributing to and learning from their family garden.
The book is part story, part tips and tricks, for children and their parents regarding how to care for plants and create a thriving garden. This adventure started for the Gaines’ when the kids and Chip bought a fern for Joanna but killed it as a result of aggressively loving it—in other words, giving it too much water. But, the book isn’t only about how to nurture and water plants—the book is also about important life lessons that people can learn from the garden.
Kids will see, for example, that sometimes with a big project, one must consider how to overcome obstacles. What if you were trying to grow a happy, successful garden, but encountered bunnies who ate everything? What if you had to learn how to start over if your first attempt at a new project was not a success? As the Gaines children learned, trying something new isn’t always easy, but the hardest work often yields the greatest reward, and there are always new lessons to be learned in the garden!
“The garden has always been a place that inspires me. There’s something about digging deep into fresh soil or watching new life burst from what was not long ago just a tiny seed that reinforces what a gift life is,” said Joanna. “I think that’s part of why my kids have come to love spending time in the garden just as much as I do. It can be a great teacher, if we pause long enough to notice all there is to learn. Where every day can be a lesson in hard work, and sometimes even in failure, but where there’s also growth worth celebrating. This book is our way of sharing what the garden means to us, and the many adventures we’ve had along the way!”
On social media, Joanna recently shared a little bit more about her heart for the book and why it was the perfect subject for her growing family.
“We wrote this children’s book together to tell the story of our journey in the garden—a story of trying and failing and trying again and never giving up,” she said. “We hope it inspires you and your little ones to get outside, get your hands dirty, and grow something great!”
The opportunity to work on the book alongside the Gaines family and watch the project come to life has been a special one for Tommy Nelson.
“Joanna’s creativity has resulted in a gorgeous and splendid book,” said Laura Minchew, senior vice president and publisher of Tommy Nelson, gift books and new media at Thomas Nelson. “Families will delight in reading the story together and create happy memories by starting their own gardens. What fun for children to discover their green thumbs as a result of reading We Are the Gardeners!”
Major press for the book included the covers of People and Southern Living, Parents, Good Housekeeping, Parade, and much, much more. During Magnolia’s “Spring at the Silos” event in March, Hoda Kotb visited Waco, Texas, to interview Joanna for a special feature piece on The Today Show that aired on March 18. Samantha Ponder, host of Sunday NFL Countdown on ESPN and mom of three, served as emcee during a special Q&A with Joanna about the book at the event. Ticketholders to the event—where Joanna was interviewed live in front of more than approximately 3,000 people for the first time—received autographed copies of the book with their purchase.
Julianna Swaney’s illustrations bring the Gaines family garden to life with colorful, whimsical watercolors, inviting readers to enjoy the beauty a thriving garden provides.
This will be the Gaines family’s fifth book with the HarperCollins family. Their previous books include The Magnolia Story (Thomas Nelson), Capital Gaines: Smart Things I Learned Doing Stupid Stuff (Thomas Nelson); Magnolia Table: A Collection of Recipes for Gathering (William Morrow Cookbooks); and Homebody: A Guide to Creating Spaces You Never Want to Leave (Harper Design).