Blog Tour and Review!: Weeds Find a Way by Cindy Jenson-Elliot


NF PB 2014

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday is hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy and was started to help promote the reading of nonfiction texts. Most Wednesdays, we will be participating and will review a nonfiction text (though it may not always be a picture book).
Be sure to visit Kid Lit Frenzy and see what other nonfiction books are shared this week!

weeds find a way

Weeds Find a Way
Author: Cindy Jenson-Elliot
Illustrator: Carolyn Fisher
Published: February 4, 2014 by Beach Lane Books

Goodreads Summary: Weeds are wonderful! Persistent, exuberant…these plants have personalities, and this nonfiction picture book puts them on colorful display!

From bright yellow dandelions popping through cracks in sidewalks to purple loosestrife growing rampant along roadways, weeds offer unexpected splashes of color and life to the least likely of places. With lovely language and a sly sense of humor, this beautiful picture book celebrates the tenacious temperaments of these pesky plants and is sure to have little ones chanting, “Way to go, weeds!”

Ricki’s Review: The illustrations! The illustrations! I was mesmerized by the gorgeous artwork in this text. As I read it aloud to my son and husband, I was oohing and aahing at the bright, luscious colors. It made me want to go outdoors and lay among the weeds. If it wasn’t the dead of the winter, I would pull my son outside and read the book to him in our garden. There are beautiful passages of figurative language–alliteration that reads like a song, and readers will be sucked into the sprawling passages that evoke lovely images. The book turns readers’ assumptions on their heads. The words and images show that we can find beauty in, of all things, weeds. While I learned much about weeds and found the informational passages at the end (about different types of weeds) to be quite informative, I found the idea of weeds to be symbolic, too.

Kellee’s Review: I was blown away with how fascinating the author made something that we walk by every day and ignore. The text itself is quite lyrical and has the amazing illustrations with it; however, I found the goodies in the research in the afterword.  It was very interesting for me to learn that these plants, which we treat like pests, are actually so very useful. I second much of what Ricki says about the figurative language. I love seeing these elements being used in a nonfiction book! Overall, this is a nonfiction book that should be shared with kids and will definitely start some major discussions.

Teachers’ Tool for Navigation: Teachers will find multiple opportunities with this text. They can use it to teach different types of figurative language, or they might ask students to explore weeds in a more symbolic way. We love the idea of using nonfiction at such a young age, and we wonder if teachers might try literature circles with this text. While it is marketed for ages 4-8, it could be used for different purposes with a variety of age groups. The informational passages at the end might allow teachers to help students research about different types of plants. We also love the illustrations so much that we would love to have kids take the pictures and write their own stories to match the images. It would show that nonfiction can be accessible and fun.

Interior illus from WEEDS FIND A WAY_Copyright � 2014 by Carolyn Fisher

Discussion Questions: Why do weeds get a bad reputation? What else might we compare weeds to? Are there other things in the world that are unfairly loathed?; How does the author use figurative language to draw the reader in?; What makes a plant a weed?; Some of the plants shared at the end of the book are useful (for foods, medication, etc.); however, we still treat them as weeds. Why do we have this perspective of these plants?

We Flagged: “Weeds find  way to stay, reaching deep with a  grip so strong, the stem always breaks first, leaving the living roots behind to sprout again; or pinching into pieces the minute you try to tug them out, spreading into a spray of plant parts that find new spots to take root” (p. 21-22).

Read This If You Loved: The Lorax by Dr. Seuss, Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly, The Tree Lady by H. Joseph Hopkins

Cindy Jenson-Elliott photo

About the Author: Cindy Jenson-Elliott is the author of fourteen books of nonfiction and hundreds of articles for newspapers, magazines and educational publishers. She is a teacher and environmental educator with an MA in education and a passion for connecting children with nature. In her free time, she enjoys swimming in the ocean and spending time outdoors in San Diego, where she lives and gardens with her family of four humans and three Buff Orpington chickens. Visit her at

Recommended For: 

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 Check out all the stops on the WEEDS FIND A WAY blog tour!

Mon, Feb 24
Growing with Science
Tues, Feb 25
As They Grow Up
Wed, Feb 26
Kid Lit Frenzy
Thurs, Feb 27
Fri, Feb 28
Children’s Book Review
Mon, Mar 3
Let’s Go Chipper!
Tues, Mar 4
Just a Little Creativity
Wed, Mar 5
Unleashing Readers
Thurs, Mar 6
5 Minutes for Books
Fri, Mar 7
Archimedes Notebook


Signature andRickiSig

**Thank you to Barbara Fisch at Blue Slip Media for providing us with copies for review**

7 thoughts on “Blog Tour and Review!: Weeds Find a Way by Cindy Jenson-Elliot”

  1. Thank you so much for reading Weeds Find a Way! I really appreciate all the nice things you said about it. I’ve taught preschool to middle school students outdoors and in, and I wrote the book that I wanted to use to teach children to take a second look at the things they overlook — and over step — every day.
    Today was a lovely gardening day! I spent the morning out in the school garden with ten middle schoolers who were volunteering in our elementary garden. They painted white paint on signs for the 3rd graders who are studying native plants, pulled weeds out of the 1st graders garden — and discovered why we call mint a weed in our garden, despite it’s lovely smell and taste — and built a little fence to keep the kinder kids from playing in the compost. Though some kids said at the beginning of the day that they would rather be volunteering inside the school, every one enjoyed the cool air and warm sun. They felt great about what they had accomplished and most learned something new — using power drills to drill holes in signs to hang up, using garden claws to dig up weeds, using a post-hole digger to sink fence posts. Gardens are empowering in so many ways. I hope readers will use this book to help kids connect to the earth, to reading, and to the world at large. For more ideas on how to use the book, download my free curriculum guide on my website at
    Thanks again!

    • Cindy,
      I would love to spend the day with you in the garden. Your words empower us to think about the world in quite different ways, so thank you. Kellee and I had a wonderful time reviewing this book. It is a fantastic contribution to literature and a beautiful classroom text.


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