Increasing Ag Understanding with Books

Children’s books feature farm and food facts

It’s pretty neat when a student checks out an ag-related book from their school library. “But what’s even more exciting is when a teacher checks one out to use with her students,” says Ag Literacy Coordinator Rhodora Collins. “All of a sudden, an entire class learns new facts about agriculture.” Facts like:

• A worker honeybee may visit 30,000 flowers during her five-week lifespan—but she doesn’t leave the hive until she is over three weeks old.

• Drones with thermal or near-infrared cameras can be used to monitor the health of farm crops.

• In the 1930s the Ford Motor Company began using soybean plastic and paint in its cars, leading Henry Ford to boast that a bushel of soybeans goes into every car.

2020 marks the 19th year ag-related books will be donated to schools across the county. In those 19 years, a total of 3,650 items—mostly books, but a few videos and magazines as well—have been donated.

Genoa Elementary School librarian Sue Carroll shows off the books that were recently donated to their school as she reads one to students remotely. Genoa Elementary is one of 34 schools in DeKalb County receiving books this fall.

Local sponsors make the book donations possible. Farm and food-related businesses, organizations, and farm families step up each year to provide funds needed to purchase the books. Upon opening each donated book, readers will see a label recognizing the sponsor or sponsors of that title.

Five titles will be donated this year, including “Agricultural Drones” by Simon Rose, “Bread Lab” by Kim Binczewski & Bethany Econopouly, “Full of Beans: Henry Ford Grows a Car” by Peggy Thomas, “Honeybee: The Busy Life of Apis Mellifera” by Candace Fleming, and “Now You Know What You Eat” by Valorie Fisher.

Thirty-four schools will benefit from this effort. Each library will receive titles appropriate to the grade levels within that building.

Many thanks to our generous sponsors:

Barry, Kris, and Kelly Aves, Kirkland

Honey Hill Orchard, Waterman

La Terra Partners, Ryan & Deanne Frieders

Sycamore Meijer Store

DeKalb County Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture