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Show Me The Green!

“Award-Winning Finalist in the Children’s Fiction category of the 2015 USA Best Book Awards”

Show Me the Green!

It’s the First Annual Garden Contest sponsored by the local farmer’s market, and Lexi and Jason Williams are determined to win. In this battle against time and Mother Nature, the kids are sidetracked by everything from caterpillars to worms, seeds to harvest. Who knew there were so many exciting things in a garden? Including poop. Worm poop, mostly. It’s one of a plant’s favorite foods!

It was volunteering in her children’s school garden that inspired D.S. Venetta to create Show Me the Green! It’s a story filled with real life experiences with her young gardeners and will surely inspire a new generation to get out and get digging!

Middle Grade Fiction

Ages: 7 – 10

Grades: 2 – 4  (Lexile 580L)

Genre: Gardening, Nature, Science, Environment

Formats available:

$6.99 Full-color ebook ~ ISBN: 978-0-9964391-0-7 (Axis 360, Library Direct, Overdrive)
$12.99 Print (black & white, 258 pages) ~ ISBN: 978-0-9911182-9-8 (Ingram)
$12.99 Print Education Edition ~ ISBN: 978-15168015-2-7 (Baker & Taylor)

$6.99 Coloring Book for the younger children ~ ISBN: 978-0-9964391-9-0

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IR Approved



Jason rubbed a stripe of inky dirt beneath each of his eyes, then grabbed his football and wound up for a pass. “Nathan!” he shouted. “Go long!”

Jason threw the ball with all his might, hooting with delight when Nathan caught the spiral square in the chest. “Good catch!”

“Great throw!” Nathan yelled over his shoulder as he ran for a touchdown near the edge of the garden. He sailed past neatly tilled beds of black soil and leaped high over an imaginary goal line, but landed short, burying himself knee-deep in soft soil.

Jason hooted with laughter. “Nice one!”

Nathan looked down at his jeans. “Aw, man! My mom’s gonna freak when she sees me!”

Jason jogged over and checked out the situation. Black dirt was ground into Nathan’s pants and seemed to fill his shoes. It wasn’t anything they couldn’t fix. “Tell her you fell,” he said. “She can’t be mad at you if it was an accident.”

“I hope you’re right,” Nathan replied.

“Boys?” Jason’s mom called from the house.

The boys turned toward her voice.

“Have you finished planting your beans?”

They were supposed to be planting Jason’s red beans, but Nathan side-tracked him with a toss of the football. Jason surveyed the huge dent that Nathan’s landing had forged in their line of dirt and shouted back, “Almost!”

Nathan gaped at him in disbelief.

“Okay. Lunch is in fifteen minutes!”

“We better fix this before she sees it!” Jason exclaimed.

Nathan hastily brushed the mess from his pant legs and the boys went to work. Scooping handfuls of dirt, they piled it back into place, patting it down as best they could, then scraped their fingers across the top, mimicking the action of a rake.

“Make sure it’s really smooth,” Jason said. This was his mother’s corn row. If they messed up her seeds, she would not be happy. Glimpsing movement farther down the bed of dirt, he stopped and crawled over. “Hey, look at this,” he said, and pulled a wriggly worm free.

Nathan brightened. “Live bait! Do you think there are any more?”

“Probably. Let’s check!”

Jason and Nathan tore through the row, sifting dirt, crumbling it through their fingers as they scanned its contents. When they came up empty, they cast it aside and hurried on to the next clump.

“I found one!” Nathan exclaimed.

“Awesome.” Jason expanded his hunt farther down the row, tunneling deeper into the neatly combed bed as he searched.


They froze.

Jason’s mom stood over them with hands on her hips. “What are you doing?”

“Uh, we—” Jason scrambled to his feet. Nathan did the same. Heart pounding, he lied, “We were—um—trying to fix this row of dirt.” He pointed to the mess they’d made.

Nathan flashed a look of, is-that-the-best-you-could-come-up-with?

Jason’s mom crossed her arms over her chest and the headlights of interrogation beamed bright. “And what were you shoving into your pockets?”

Jason gulped. “Well, we—um—found a couple of worms,” he said, “and decided to save them for later. For fishing,” he added, though it was pretty obvious. He was allowed to fish, right?

“But our garden needs worms, honey.”

Jason frowned. She wanted the worms? He’d expected his mom to yell at him and Nathan for making a mess of their row, not be mad because they were taking worms out of the garden.

Nathan looked as confused as Jason felt. “But, Mrs. Williams, why would a garden need worms?”

“For food, Nathan.”

Nathan gawked at her. “Food?”

“Yes, food.” She smiled. “Much like you boys need a healthy diet to grow big and strong, plants need soil rich in organic nutrients so that they can grow big and strong.”

Organic?” Nathan asked. He glanced at Jason who shrugged. “What’s that mean?”

“It means all natural,” Jason told him. “We don’t use any chemicals or toxins or stuff.”

“That’s right,” Mom said. “And that’s why we need worms.”

Nathan looked like he was about to be sick. “Plants eat worms?”

“Nope. Even better.” Jason’s mom crouched down beside them and sifted through a handful of soil. “Worms live in the soil and eat the nutrients they find there. Then they poop.”

The boys giggled.

“I know it sounds funny, but worm poop is one of the best types of food for plants. It’s an excellent source of nitrogen. Nitrogen is important because it helps the plants grow nice green leaves. With the help of the sun, big green leaves allow plants to make their own food. The process is called photosynthesis.”

worm and dirt scene

“Wow…” Nathan pulled the worm from his pocket, particles of dirt tumbling out with it. “I never knew that. I thought they were only good for fishing.”

“Plants also need phosphorous and potassium.”

“What are those?”


“She means food,” Jason pitched in.

“Yes. Nutrients. Plants need them to grow, same as you boys.” Jason shrugged his shoulders. He didn’t really care what plants ate, though the conversation was making him hungry. Mom smiled. “Cow poop is also good for plants.”

“Gross…” Nathan crinkled his nose. “You feed them cow poop?”

She nodded and waved a hand over the bed of dirt beside him. “In fact, this dirt here is mostly cow poop.”

Jason and Nathan exchanged a horrified look. They’d just been digging through cow poop!

“Don’t be so squeamish, boys,” she said. “A little cow poop never hurt anyone.” She brushed the dirt off her hands and rose. “Finish up here, you two, then come in for lunch.”

As his mom turned and walked away, Jason pointed at Nathan’s dirt-covered pants and snickered, “Ha! You’ve got poop on your pants!”

“And, Jason,” his mom said, turning back to them. “Be sure to wash your face.” She winked. “You don’t want to get any poop germs in your eyes.”

Nathan pointed at Jason’s face. “Ha, ha! You have poop on your face! Poop on your face! That’s way worse than having poop on your pants!”

Jason scowled. “Whatever, poop pants.”

“Poop face!”


Day 4 in the Garden…

P.S. Nathan Jenkins smashed into one of the rows while going out for a pass and then we found worms. Mom says they’re good for plants but their poop is gross.

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  • by Blair Bancroft, Author

    Although Show Me the Green! is clearly a strong “Let’s garden” for country and suburban children, even city dwellers should be inspired by this charming tale of how to grow veggies. With chapter titles like “Slippery Eggs & Seeds,” “Wacky Weeds,” “Shiny Frogs & Flittering Flies,” this is a fun story in itself and an inspiration to children everywhere.


  • by Sharon Grier, Teacher

    Not only were the characters easy to relate to and real, one can learn quite a bit about gardening without feeling like you’re reading a textbook. My students commented that they had felt just like Jason and Lexi a few times, and I shared that I had surely felt like the mom, too. Having read many books, I feel strongly about recommending this book to students as well as teachers. Great, well-written children’s book!


  • by Kirkus

    Venetta’s debut children’s book conveys the thrill of growing one’s own food.

  • by Indie Reader

    A cheerful, welcoming way to plant seeds of interest in gardening for elementary-school aged children, SHOW ME THE GREEN! falls on fertile soil.


  • by Queen Bee Books

    This is a story that kids will be absorbed in without realizing how much they’re learning–about seeds, planting, plant life cycles, bugs, fertilizer… If you’re looking for a chapter book to get kids excited about nature, gardening, and science, this one would fit the bill.