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The Picture Book Buzz

Gifts From Georgia's Garden - Perfect Picture Book Friday #PPBF

This is a remarkable biography of the immensely talented and fascinating artist Georgia O'Keeffe. It's a stunning look at lesser explored aspects, such as the intersection of art, gardening, and care taking within her life. Don't miss this gorgeous nonfiction picture book.

Book Cover - woman standing, with a basket of vegetables on her hip, surveying a table laden with

Gifts From Georgia's Garden: How Georgia O'Keefe Nourished Her Art

Author: Lisa Robinson

Illustrator: Hadley Hooper

Publisher: Neal Porter Books/Holiday House (2024)

Ages: 4-8



Art, biography, sustainability, gardening, food, and friends.


Come behind the scenes of Georgia O’Keeffe’s famous flower paintings to her sustainable homestead in New Mexico, where art was everything and everything was art.

Most of us have heard the name Georgia O’Keeffe— she’s one of the most famous women in art history. But did you know that for most of her life, she lived on her own land in New Mexico, grew her own food, bought locally, and even made her own clothing?

Georgia’s garden and her art fed and enriched one another, just as her bean plants enriched the soil and her home-grown feasts fed her friends. In spite of the era’s prejudice against female artists, Georgia lived and thrived in her verdant sanctuary well into old age.

Soothing and inspiring, Gifts from Georgia’s Garden illuminates the life and philosophy of a figure every child should know. Backmatter adds context to O’Keeffe’s story and invites families to try out her sustainable gardening techniques— and her pecan butterball cookies.

Opening Lines:

Georgia painted flowers so lush and

large they filled the canvas—

petunias, poppies, lilies,

and more. . .

What I LOVED about this book:

I love Georgia O'Keefe's flower paintings; I own her large black iris print. Hadley Hooper's image of large colorful flowers, surrounding a small inset image of Geogia painting at her easel is stunning! And such a fun way to introduce Georgia in the succinct text and vibrant illustration.

Internal spread - large colorful flowers, surrounding a small inset image of Geogia painting at her easel

Text © Lisa Robinson, 2024. Image © Hadley Hooper, 2024.

Seeing a world of beauty within the flowers, Georgia was determined to make "even busy New Yorkers take time to see what I see of flowers." Until, tired of the city, she fled to New Mexico, where the open countryside spurred memories of a Wisconsin farm childhood and she began to dream about building her own garden of flowers and food. I love Hooper's image of her daydreaming over an adobe wall and the vision of flowers and vegetables sprouting around her head. It's so colorful and such a great to show what she was imagining.

Internal image - on the left, woman daydreaming leaning over an adobe wall. On the right, a array of flowers and vegetables sprout around her head

Text © Lisa Robinson, 2024. Image © Hadley Hooper, 2024.

Using sustainable gardening, Georgia planted fruit trees, vegetables, and flowers and added marigolds and garlic to naturally reduce pests. As Hadley draws our eyes across the page from plants sprouts, through flowers, to peas pods, Robinson expands on the activities - painting, exploring, sewing, and collecting - which Georgia did as she waited for her seedlings to grow. I love the contrast between the deep green vine crawling across the white page and the mustard and black, desert-toned insets of Georgia biding her time.

Internal image - starting on the left, a vine crawls across the white page, with flowers and pea pods on the far right. With desert-toned insets of a woman painting, exploring, and sewing.

Text © Lisa Robinson, 2024. Image © Hadley Hooper, 2024.

When the garden finally ripened, Georgia shared feasts with friends. The final images gorgeously encapsulate Georgia's belief that "everything was art, and art was everything." They are touching and contain a number of treasures from Robinson and Hadley, including a photo of Georgia working in her garden and an image of one of her handwritten recipe cards! What a treat. A wonderful author's note offers more information on Georgia O'Keefe, her sustainable living, and the fate of her garden. As well as shares her recipe for Pecan Butterballs. This is an amazing biography offering additional insight into of a superbly talented artist; one whom I have admired for years.


  • look closely around you. Find something that fascinates you. Then draw, paint, or write a description of this item from your close-up view.

  • how can growing a garden be like painting? What would your dream garden look like? Draw, paint, collage, or write a description of your own garden. Would it be sustainable where you live?

  • what is your favorite recipe of cookie? What makes it special? The time of year when you make it or who you usually share it with?

If you missed the fun interview with Lisa Robinson and Hadley Hooper on Monday, find it (here).

This post is part of a series by authors and KidLit bloggers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays. For more picture book suggestions and resources see Susanna Leonard Hill's Perfect Picture Books.


Maria Marshall

 Photograph © A. Marshall

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