Never Miss a Beat

Summer Unplugged: The magic of a timeless children\’s story

“This is my favorite book in the whole world and has been since I first heard it read back in grammar school. When I saw this new book out, I just had to get it; and I wasn’t disappointed. All the magic of the original story came back to me. I love the craft ideas presented, and the short write-ups about the characters. I highly recommend this to anyone who is A SECRET GARDEN book fan, and what a wonderful gift to present to a child for the holidays! The magic of this timeless story will never end!” ~Amazon reviewer


Over six years ago, I had the great pleasure of teaming up with Marilyn Scott-Waters from The Toymaker to create our award-winning chapter book A Year in the Secret Garden.




One of my favorite childhood books is The Secret Garden by Frances Burnett Hodgson. I spent countless hours in the forests pretending to create my secret place filled with plants, animals, and magic.


To this day, Secret Gardens are a huge part of my life. I have acted on many occasions as a Secret Garden Consultant when organizations create sacred spaces or healing gardens.



Imagine my delight when I discovered that my long-time friend loved the same book!


With this passion in our hearts, Marilyn and I decided that we wanted to bring that classic children’s book to life for a new generation of readers.

After months of exchanging ideas via email, pouring over graphics, activities, and recipes and spending countless hours revisiting every aspect of the  Secret Garden story, the end result was a vibrant, month-by-month guide that brought the original classic tale to life.


Our mission with A Year in the Secret Garden was (and still is) to help the reader feel that he/she is a part of the Secret Garden.


We also imagined the final product to showcase “life after the Secret Garden.” We wanted the adventure, mystery, and enchantment to continue even after the story was finished. Marilyn and I created crafts, learning opportunities, and activities that would occur as Mary, Colin, and Dickon grew and continued their friendship.


And that is exactly how this wonderful keepsake-quality book was published.


A Year in the Secret Garden brings the magic of The Secret Garden to readers by getting them into the garden, cooking authentic foods, and being active.


For each month, a character from the book (e.g., Mary Lennox, Dickon, Colin) is introduced and their role in the story is described. Each month also features a number of activities including planting activities, crafts, recipes, children’s games, as well as snippets of information about some of the themes covered in the story like life and death in Victorian England or languages spoken in Yorkshire.




Then there are fun and unexpected things like a recipe for Indian-style chicken curry (because Mary moved from India to England) and so much more!


In the continuing era of Harry Potter mania, Frances Hodgson Burnett’s classic “The Secret Garden” is much more subtle in its enchantment, but it continues to withstand the test of time, and through “A Year in the Secret Garden”, a new generation of readers can be introduced to this wonderful story.~Amazon reviewer


Not to brag, but visually, A Year in the Secret Garden is GORGEOUS! The book uses a combination of hand-drawn illustrations as well as photographs that are peppered throughout the text. The text and illustrations go hand-in-hand and are integrated beautifully page after page.


“Never mind the children, I could flip through this book for hours myself making note of all of the activities I could do with my children. I see that homeschoolers or even teachers can use this activity guide hand-in-hand with The Secret Garden with their students. The potential for what there is to learn is tremendous.“~ Amazon reviewer.


Fast forward 6+ years are we are just as proud of the A Year in the Secret Garden as we were on Day One. We are also thrilled to announce that Brown County Public Libary is making our book part of their Summer Reading Program!


Another exciting addition to this already wonderful book is that it is now available in Kindle format!

“I cannot recommend this beautifully illustrated and detailed, information-packed book highly enough to parents, homeschoolers, teachers, and librarians. Ages 5+.” ~Amazon reviewer



As parents, we want/need quality books with extension activities to help our young ones unplug and create memories. Pulling books from shelves, and stories from pages is also an important act that will the habit of being lifelong readers.


Quality books with companion book extension activities are not only working to create special family time, but it also allows kids to solve the world’s problems without major consequences. A Year in the Secret Garden is just such a book.


Grab your copy ASAP on Kindle, Amazon,, and “meet me in the garden!”