NOMA’s Learning and Engagement staff suggests the following books related to themes of flowers and nature. In partnership with Octavia Books, links are provided to purchase these titles through this independent bookstore based in New Orleans, which offers nationwide shipping or curbside pickup.
The Tulip by Anna Pavord, Bloomsbury Publishing, 2019, ISBN: 9781635573909
Anna Pavord’s internationally bestselling sensation, The Tulip is the story of a flower that has driven men mad. Greed, desire, anguish, and devotion have all played their part in the development of the tulip into a worldwide phenomenon. No other flower has ever carried so much consequence; it charts political upheavals, illuminates social behavior, mirrors economic booms and busts, plots the ebb and flow of religious persecution.
Why did the tulip dominate so many lives through so many centuries in so many countries? Anna Pavord, a self-confessed tulipomaniac, spent six years looking for answers, roaming through Asia, India, and the Ottoman Empire to tell how a humble wildflower of the Asian steppes made its way to Turkey and from there took the whole of Western Europe by storm.
Sumptuously illustrated from a wide range of sources, this irresistible volume has become a unique source book, a universal gift book, and a joy to all who possess it. This beautifully redesigned edition features a new Preface by the author, a completely revised listing of the best varieties of this incomparable flower to choose for your garden, and a reorganized listing of tulip species, to reflect the latest thinking by taxonomists.
The Orchid Thief: A True Story of Beauty and Obsession by Susan Orlean, Ballantine Books, 2000, ISBN: 9780449003718
A modern classic of personal journalism, The Orchid Thief is Susan Orlean’s wickedly funny, elegant, and captivating tale of an amazing obsession. Determined to clone an endangered flower—the rare ghost orchid Polyrrhiza lindenii—a deeply eccentric and oddly attractive man named John Laroche leads Orlean on an unforgettable tour of America’s strange flower-selling subculture, through Florida’s swamps and beyond, along with the Seminoles who help him and the forces of justice who fight him. In the end, Orlean—and the reader—will have more respect for underdog determination and a powerful new definition of passion.
Cultivated: The Elements of Floral Style by Christian Geal, Princeton Architectural Press, 2020, ISBN: 9781616898205
Cultivated: The Elements of Floral Style elevates floral design to fine art in this richly informative work on the principles of floral style. A charming and intelligent mentor, Christin Geall emboldens designers, gardeners, and entrepreneurs to think differently and deeply about their work with flowers as she draws upon the fine arts and historical sources, exploring Baroque music, the paintings of the Impressionists, or the work of floral innovators like Gertrude Jekyll and Constance Spry.
Covering all aspects of floral design, including choosing plants to grow and arrange, selecting tools and vessels, balancing color and form, and even photographing and selling arrangements, Cultivated offers universal lessons for all levels of practitioners, budgets, and materials. Geall’s stunning photographs of her own lush designs illustrate techniques for creating brilliant arrangements that spark the imagination.
Redouté: Selection of the Most Beautiful Flowers by Werner Dressendörfer & H. Walter Lack, Art by Pierre-Joseph Redouté, Taschen, 2018, ISBN: 9783836505154
Pierre-Joseph Redouté (1759–1840) was forever in high demand. Official court draftsman to Queen Marie Antoinette (who purportedly summoned him at midnight to paint a cactus), and later a favorite of Joséphine Bonaparte, the artist brought flowers to the highest of places, and offset the chaotic upheaval of the French Revolution with the delicacy of perfectly drawn petals.
This reprint brings together 144 examples of Redouté’s flower, branch, and fruit drawings. Originally published between 1827 and 1833, these precise yet tender illustrations are as delightful as they are informative, recording some of the most delicate plant specimens in the world and evoking the bygone magnificence of Parisian greenhouses and gardens.
For Young Adults
This Time Will Be Different by Misa Sugiura, HarperTeen, 2019, ISBN: 9780062473448
Katsuyamas never quit—but seventeen-year-old CJ doesn’t even know where to start. She’s never lived up to her mom’s type A ambition, and she’s perfectly happy just helping her aunt, Hannah, at their family’s flower shop.
She doesn’t buy into Hannah’s romantic ideas about flowers and their hidden meanings, but when it comes to arranging the perfect bouquet, CJ discovers a knack she never knew she had. A skill she might even be proud of.
Then her mom decides to sell the shop—to the family who swindled CJ’s grandparents when thousands of Japanese Americans were sent to internment camps during WWII. Soon a rift threatens to splinter CJ’s family, friends, and their entire Northern California community; and for the first time, CJ has found something she wants to fight for.
For Ages 9–12
Botanicum: Welcome to the Museum by Kathy Willis, Illustrated by Katie Scott, Big Picture Press, 2017, ISBN: 9780763689230 (Suggested ages: 8–12)
The 2017 offering from Big Picture Press’s Welcome to the Museum series, Botanicum, is a brilliantly curated guide to plant life. With artwork from Katie Scott of Animalium fame, Botanicum gives readers the experience of a fascinating exhibition from the pages of a beautiful book. From perennials to bulbs to tropical exotica, Botanicum is a wonderful feast of botanical knowledge complete with superb cross sections of how plants work.
Lola Plants a Garden by Anna McQuinn, Illustrated by Rosalind Beardshaw, Charlesbridge, 2017, ISBN: 9781580896955 (Suggested ages: 2–5)
How does your garden grow? Book-loving Lola is inspired by a collection of garden poems that she reads with her mommy. She wants to plant her own garden of beautiful flowers, so she and Mommy go to the library to check out books about gardening. They choose their flowers and buy their seeds. They dig and plant. And then they wait. Lola finds it hard to wait for her flowers to grow, but she spends the time creating her own flower book. Soon she has a garden full of sunflowers and invites all of her friends for cakes and punch and a story amongst the flowers.
The Honeybee by Kristen Hall, Illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault, Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2017, ISBN: 9781481469975 (Suggested ages: 4–8)
Buzz from flower to flower with a sweet honeybee in this timely, clever, and breathtakingly gorgeous picture book from critically acclaimed author Kirsten Hall and award-winning illustrator Isabelle Arsenault.
Do you hear it?
You’re near it.
With zooming, vibrant verse by Kirsten Hall and buzzy, beautiful illustrations by Isabelle Arsenault, this celebration of the critically important honeybee is a honey-sweet treasure of a picture book.
Zinnia’s Flower Garden by Monica Wellington, Puffin Books, 2007, ISBN: 9780142407875 (Suggested ages: 3–7)
Springtime is here, and Zinnia can’t wait to plant her seeds and watch them grow. She carefully takes care of her garden, watering her plants, weeding, and waiting patiently for something to sprout. And soon enough, the first seedlings appear! With art just as colorful as a garden in bloom, young readers will enjoy watching Zinnia’s beautiful garden grow, and may even be inspired to start one of their own.