Accurate Ag Book Gets Thumbs Up from Young Readers



The American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture has presented its ninth annual Book of the Year award to Susan Grigsby for “First Peas to the Table.” In this lighthearted story, a little girl, Maya, and her classmates learn about gardens and peas, as well as Thomas Jefferson’s garden at Monticello.

Ainsley and Kamdyn McFarland from Billings stood in line for an hour at the Accurate Ag Book booth at the IDEAg Trade show waiting for Grisby to sign their book. The girls and their parents were there as part of the American Farm Bureau Annual Convention January 8-13 in Orlando, Fla.

Although the book is written for slightly older students, Ainslie and Kamdyn, second and third graders, respectively, liked the story.

“It was a really cool book,” Ainsley said. “There were a lot of facts about peas and how long they take to grow and what can damage them, like strong wind.  We have a garden at school and we grow pumpkins and squash. It’s harvested and used in the cafeteria. What I found the most interesting was the life cycle of the pea from a seed to pea you can eat.”

Kamdyn, a young history buff, especially enjoyed the references to Thomas Jefferson’s garden. “I liked learning that he had a book about gardening, traded seeds with people all over the world and grew all kinds of vegetables,” she said.  

Grigsby shares that interest in Thomas Jefferson. “After reading the agricultural-related correspondence and journals of Thomas Jefferson, I was struck by the passion that he and others had in regards to experimenting to figure out which plants, previously grown on other continents, would grow best in each of the diverse environments spread across the country,” she said. “I wrote the book to celebrate how every gardener, young and old, learns through experimentation, through failures and success with a joy for the wonders of nature.”

Lisa McFarland, mother of Ainsley and Kamdyn and Yellowstone County Farm Bureau President, found the book to be educational. “I think this new book will be a great learning opportunity for Ag in the Classroom events.  Generally, the Accurate Ag Books are geared more towards K-2 students, where this book will be a great fit for older kids in the 2nd-5th Grade,” said McFarland. “We need to be able to have more books like this so we can continue to educate students as they move through grade levels.  It will be very easy to incorporate any “growing” activity into a reading event with this book as a guideline and because this book follows the cycle of a pea, there is a science lesson added as a bonus.”

The Book of the Year award springs from the Foundation’s effort to identify accurate ag books, a collection of nearly 500 books for children, teenagers and adults that accurately cover agricultural topics. Book of the Year selections are educational, help to create positive public perceptions about agriculture, inspire readers to learn more and touch their readers’ lives, as well as tell the farmer’s story. The accurate ag books database is available at:

To accompany the “First Peas to the Table” book, the Foundation has created an educator’s guide and a School Garden Ag Mag.



Source:  Montana Farm Bureau Federation


Kamdyn and Ainsley McFarland recommend the book “First Peas to the Table” to teach kids about agriculture.

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