To borrow items from the Lending Library contact Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation at

Search by Subject Area:  Beef  •   Corn  •   Dairy  •   Environment  •   Farm  •   Food  •   History  •   Other Animals  •   Other Plants  •   Pigs  •   Poultry  •   Soy  •   Spanish  •   Technology     

Search by Grade Level:  Elementary  •   Secondary 




Heart of a Shepherd


When Brother's dad is shipped off to Iraq, along with the rest of his reserve unit, Brother must help his grandparents keep the ranch going. He’s determined to maintain it just as his father left it, in the hope that doing so will ensure his father’s safe return. The hardships Brother faces will not only change the ranch, but also reveal his true calling.

Little Joe


It's a cold December night and Fancy, the Stegner family's cow, is about to give birth. Out pops Little Joe, a huge bull calf, and with him comes 9-year-old Eli's first chance to raise an animal to show at next fall's county fair. Over the next ten months, Eli and Little Joe learn some hard lessons about growing up and what it emans to take on bigger responsibilities, especially when it comes to taking care of another living thing. But one thing Eli is trying to think about is what will happen to Little Joe after the fair; it's auction time and he'll have to sell Little Joe!

The Beef Princess of Practical County


After years of waiting, it is finally Libby Ryan's turn to shine at the Practical County fair. Libby is filled with excitement as she and her granddad pick out two calves for her to raise on her family's cattle farm, in hopes of winning the annual steer competition. Against her father's advice, Libby gives the calves names, even though both steers will eventually be auctioned off. After a few months of preparing for the Practical County Fair, Libby finds that she is growing closer to her steers with each passing day, and the pressure to win Grand Champion is mounting.

A Sand County Almanac


This book explores American landscapes. It is a stunning and classic tribute to our land, and a challenge to protect the world we love.

Agriculture and Culture of Costa Rica


This is a unique, fun booklet designed to improve understanding of the interactions of agriculture, culture, and environment in Costa Rica. Through interdisciplinary agronomic learning with a relevant “real world” perspective, students will find interest in Costa Rica and its agriculture systems.

Atlas of Our Country's History


An overview of United States history is presented in maps, graphs, and photographs with concise explanatory text. Clear, curriculum-related maps develop visual literacy, easy-to-understand graphs help students make comparisons, photos and illustrations expand understanding, and an index, glossary, and tables allow students to practice reference.

Atlas of United States History


Visualizing U.S. history's what, when, were, how and why. Rich in information, but clear in presentation, this atlas’s ten chronological units each cover a major era. After a “How Does This Atlas Work” introduction, the units each begin with a timeline and introductory text, and then the atlas’s captioned, full-color maps and images are labeled “A-B-C-D” to guide readers logically from idea to idea.



Here, in their second stunning collaboration, Diane Siebert and Wendell Minor create a joyful, singing celebration of this country's Heartland, the Midwest. It is a land where wheat fields grow and cornfields stretch across the plains to create a patchwork quilt in hues of yellow, green, and brown; a land where herds of cattle graze in pastures draped in lush, green grass, and a newborn calf stands in the sun. And upon this land toils the farmer, strong and proud, whose weathered face tells a tale of a life of work that's never done. The Heartland -- a land where, despite man's power, nature reigns.

Iowa's Groundwater Basics


A geological guide to the occurrence, use, and vulnerability of Iowa's aquifers.

Sustainable Agriculture


Thrilling new discoveries in science and technology are announced almost daily. Sustainable Agriculture covers a broad spectrum of issues related to advances in farming technology, such as sustainable soil, water, energy, and biotechnology. High-impact photos and explanatory graphics and charts bring scientific concepts to life.

The Wonderful Water Cycle


Three-quarters of our Earth is covered by water. This book explains how water travels in a never-ending pattern called the water cycle and how water is used, from bathing to irrigating crops, along with tips for conserving our most important natural resource.

United States Atlas


This large, full color atlas discusses each state and region in the U.S., and includes maps, facts, and commodities.

World Atlas


Excellent classroom atlas for middle and high school students. Chapters address the world, its continents and regions, the Pacific Rim, and the Arctic and Antarctic. Most regional studies are anchored by two shaded-relief reference maps (political and land cover), while the world and U.S. sections also include sculptural-relief (elevation) and thematic maps. Photographs, graphs, and explanatory sidebar text further enrich the treatment of each region.

Food and Farm Facts


Where does our food come from and who grows it? Food and Farm Facts helps to answer these questions as it explores topics about agriculture in the U.S. Food and Farm Facts can be used in a variety of wasy to help increase agricultural literacy. Suggested uses include: in a classroom, at fairs and events, and with student leadership organizations. Explore specific suggestions online at

Our Farm


A real-life look at a family and the farm they work together, season by season. Told through the voices of the children, this inside view of life on their farm is authentic and sometimes surprising.

Post Hole Digger


Post Hole Digger follows the life of one Iowa farm boy, James Pope, from first memory to adulthood. At the age of fifteen, upon the death of his father, he is called upon to support his mother and little sister.

The Future of Farming


This book explores the future of farming on a global scale, including the environmental, political, social, and economic implications of farming.

Bread Lab!


Iris's kitchen is transformed into a busy bread lab one Saturday thanks to her favorite aunt, a plant scientist who helps farmers grow grain. Together they make whole wheat sourdough bread using just four ingredients, beginning with a mysterious goo called "starter" that's teeming with invisible microbes. To iris, bread making seems like magic, but it's really science!

Hungry Planet


The age-old practice of sitting down to a family meal is undergoing unprecedented change as rising world affluence and trade, along with the spread of global food conglomerates, transform eating habits worldwide. HUNGRY PLANET profiles 30 families from around the world--including Bosnia, Chad, Egypt, Greenland, Japan, the United States, and France--and offers detailed descriptions of weekly food purchases; photographs of the families at home, at market, and in their communities; and a portrait of each family surrounded by a week's worth of groceries. Featuring photo-essays on international street food, meat markets, fast food, and cookery, this captivating chronicle offers a riveting look at what the world really eats.

Spill the Beans and Pass the Peanuts (Plants We Eat)


This book highlights legumes, especially peanuts and beans. Learn the history, agricultural production, and processing of these food crops. You will also find recipes and cooking methods used around the world.

Stinky and Stringy: Stem & Bulb Vegetables (Plants We Eat)


This book provides a fun-filled exploration of the history and field-to-table processes of onions, garlic, leeks, celery, asparagus, and rhubarb. Examine the discovery and migration of these vegetables as well as their roles in cooking, technology, and world cultures.

Tomatoes, Potatoes, Corn & Beans


This excellent book describes how foods from North and South America changed eating around the world. It focuses on corn, beans, peppers, peanuts, potatoes, tomatoes, and chocolate but also includes other foods that originated in the Americas. Can you imagine Italian food without the tomato? Indian curries without the pepper? German or Irish food without the potato? Corn is now the most widely grown grain in the world. This book details the history of those transitions and is illustrated with historic artwork and modern photos. For anyone wishing to understand the real gold found in America, this book is an essential read.

What's For Lunch? How Schoolchildren Eat Around the World


Andrea Curtis reveals the variety and inequality to be found in the food consumed by young people in typical school lunches from 13 countries around the world. Food is now the biggest industry on Earth. Growing it, processing it, transporting it, and selling it have a major impact on people and the planet. Unpack a school lunch, and you'll discover that food is connected to issues that matter to everyone.

A Farm Through Time


This text presents the history of a farm from medieval times to the present day. It aims to provide and insight into how ancestors lived, and how farming has changed the landscape over the centuries. Half-page flaps reveal inside farm buildings.

Change in Agriculture


American agriculture changed radically between 1820 and 1870. In turning slowly from subsistence to commercial farming, farmers on the average doubled the portion of their production places on the market, and thereby laid the foundations for today’s highly productive agricultural industry. But the modern system was by no means inevitable. It evolved slowly through an intricate process in which innovative and imitative entrepreneurs were the key instruments.

Eli Whitney and the Cotton Gin (Graphic Library)


Eli Whitney and the Cotton Gin recalls this important inventor and invention in dramatic graphic novel format. When the number of American cotton mills grew, so did the need for clean cotton. Eli Whitney studied the type of cotton that grew in the South and invented a machine that could quickly remove its green, sticky seeds. Inside this book, discover how Whitney created the cotton gin and how this invention changed the industry.

Esperanza Rising


Esperanza thought she'd always live a privileged life on her family's ranch in Mexico. She'd always have fancy dresses, a beautiful home filled with servants, and Mama, Papa, and Abuelita to care for her. But a sudden tragedy forces Esperanza and Mama to flee to California and settle in a Mexican farm labor camp. Esperanza isn't ready for the hard work, financial struggles brought on by the Great Depression, or lack of acceptance she now faces. When Mama gets sick and a strike for better working conditions threatens to uproot their new life, Esperanza must find a way to rise above her difficult circumstances-because Mama's life, and her own, depend on it.

Fifty Years of Disruptive Innovation


Fifty more years from now, regardless of what technological changes come in the way we communicate, this book will still function as it was intended. It’s the simple story of how Kinze Manufacturing fought the industry giants and grew to one of the largest privately held farm equipment manufacturers in the world.

George Washington Carver: Agriculture Pioneer: Life Science (Science Readers)


Born into slavery, George Washington Carver worked hard, earned a university graduate degree, and eventually became a world-famous expert on plants. By experimenting with peanuts and other plants, he learned how to make many useful products from them. Carver taught students and farmers how to grow plants without damaging the soil.

George Washington Carver for Kids; His Life and Discoveries, With 21 Activities


Do you want to learn more about George Washington Carver and get some ideas for projects, experiments, and activities at the same time? This is the book for you! Students can learn to create compost, brew ginger tea, create paints using things found in nature, and much more, all while learning about this famous Iowan.

George Washington Carver; Ingenious Inventor (Graphic Library)


Learn about this famous Iowan in a new way by checking out this graphic novel biography of his life. This colorful and dramatic format is a great way to encourage students to read and learn more.

Gregor Mendel; The Friar who Grew Peas


Gregor Mendel explains to children the theory of heredity in simple-to-understand language and examples. Regarded as the world's first geneticist, Gregor Mendel discovered one of the fundamental aspects of genetic science: animals and plants all inherit and pass down traits through the same process.

How Iowa Conquered the World


What if Iowa has done more to influence the modern world than any other population group? Turns out it has. In this new book by #1 best-selling author Michael Rank (a native Iowan) find out how this underdog state saved billions of people from starvation in the 20th century.

In the Garden with Dr. Carver


Sally is a young girl living in rural Alabama in the early 1900s, a time when people were struggling to grow food in soil that had been depleted by years of cotton production. One day, Dr. George Washington Carver shows up to help the grown-ups with their farms and the children with their school garden.

Iowa History Reader


In this collection of well-written and accessible essays, originally published in 1996, seventeen of the Hawkeye State's most accomplished historians reflect upon the dramatic and not-so-dramatic shifts in the middle land's history in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Iowans Who Made a Difference


This book provides short biographies of 150 Iowans who made an impact on agriculture in Iowa.

John Deere's Powerful Idea; the Perfect Plow


Learn more about the inventor behind the large company! This book talks about John Deere's life and his work on the moldboard plow.

Levi Strauss and Blue Jeans (Graphic Library)


Levi Strauss and Blue Jeans tells the story of the man who made the first pair of blue jeans and changed the way the world dressed! In the mid-1880s, while adventurers rushed off to California to find gold,Levi Strauss followed with an idea of his own. In dramatic, graphic novel format, this book follows Strauss as he works to create a pair of pants sturdy enough for gold miners. Readers will learn how Levi found that not just gold miners, but hard-working people everywhere wanted the durable pants with the pocket rivets.

Louis Pasteur and Pasteurization (Graphic Library)


Louis Pasteur and Pasteurization recalls this important scientist and his discoveries in dramatic, graphic novel format. In the early 1800s, people did not understand why food spoiled. Pasteur discovered that small germs cause spoilage. He began working on a process that would help food last longer. In this book, learn about the experiments Pasteur conducted and the process of pasteurization.

Mr. Blue Jeans


Mr. Blue Jeans is a 64-page chapter book which tells the story of the life of an immigrant Jewish peddler who founded Levi Strauss & Company, the world's first and largest manufacturer of denim blue jeans.

Notable Notebooks


Written in captivating rhyme, the text is sprinkled with lively illustrations. Flip through and see - it looks a lot like the science notebook you'll be eager to start after reading Notable Notebooks. The book gives you four steps for starting your own notebook, plus mini-biographies of the diverse array of featured scientists.

Out of the Dust


This intimate novel, written in stanza form, poetically conveys the head dust and wind of Oklahoma along with the discontent of narrator Billie Jo who relates the hardships of living on her family's wheat farm in Oklahoma during Dust Bowl years of the Depression. ALA notable children's book, ALA best book for Young Adults, SLJ best book of the year.

Outside In; African-American History in Iowa


This book gives and encompassing overview of African-American history in our state, with sections specific to the role agriculture has played in this history. This book covers history from 1838 to 2000.

Seeds For Change; The Lives and Work of Suri and Edda Sehgal


Seeds For Change documents how Suri and Edda Sehgal, refugees who each escaped dangerous and difficult circumstances as children, came to America as young adults (from India and Germany respectively), met and fell in love, and went on to have more astonishing experiences as talented and visionary business leaders, generous philanthropists, and proud Americans. As a crop scientist, seedsman, and agricultural visionary, Suri became a respected and pivotal figure in the development of the global hybrid-seed industry. He and Edda have shared their resulting good fortune with those in need around the world. Their personal history is a chronicle of remarkable events and people, but most importantly, an enduring lifelong commitment to helping others that is their family legacy.

Sweet Corn and Sushi


This bilingual book about the sister state relationship between Iowa and Yamanashi, Japan, was chosen as the 2004 Iowa Children's Book of the Year. It highlights the importance of the Iowa Hog Lift that brought breeding stock swine to Yamanashi after a devastating natural disaster.

Temple Grandin: How the girl who Loved Cows Embraced autism and Changed the World


When Temple Grandin was born, her parents knew that she was different. Years later she was diagnosed with autism. While Temple's doctor recommended a hospital, her mother believed in her. Temple went to school instead. Today, Dr. Temple Grandin is a scientist and professor of animal science at Colorado State University. Her world-changing career revolutionized the livestock industry. As an advocate for autism, Temple uses her experience as an example of the unique contributions that autistic people can make. This compelling biography complete with Temple's personal photos takes us inside her extraordinary mind and opens the door to a broader understanding of autism.

The Biographical Dictionary of Iowa


Written by an impressive team of more than 150 scholars and writers, the readable narratives include each subject's name, birth and death dates, place of birth, education, and career and contributions. Many of the names will be instantly recognizable to most Iowans. Beyond the distinctive lives and times captured in the individual biographies, readers of the dictionary will gain an appreciation for how the character of the state has been shaped by the character of the individuals who have inhabited it.

The Man Who Fed the World


Dr. Norman Borlaug, one of the world's greatest heroes, is the most highly-decorated individual of our time. He is credited with saving over a billion people from starvation. Dr. Borlaug is one of five people in history to win the Nobel Peace Prize, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the Congressional Gold Medal. In addition, Dr. Borlaug received the Padma Vibhushan, the highest civilian award the government of India can present to a non-citizen. Read more about Dr. Borlaug's life in this award-winning book.

Then and Now Farming


Lively text, entertaining quizzes, and colorful artwork provide a represhing approach to the historical development of various aspects of modern life and technology.

USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service; An Evolving Statistical Service for American Agriculture


This short booklet covers a brief history of American agriculture and how statistics, specifically the National Agricultural Statistics Service, played a role in it.

Women in Science; 50 Fearless Pioneers who Changed the World


A charmingly illustrated and educational book, New York Times bestseller Women in Science highlights the contributions of 50 notable women to the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) from the ancient to the modern world. Full of striking art, this fascinating collection also contains infographics about relevant topics such as lab equipment rates of women currently working in STEM fields, and an illustrated scientific glossary. The trailblazing women profiled include well-known figures like primatologist Jane Goodall, as well as lesser-known pioneers, such as Katherine Johnson, the African-American physicist and mathematician who calculated the trajectory of the 1969 Apollo 11 mission to the moon.

Women and the Land


A charming book, Women and the Land gives short biographies and portraits of numerous Iowa women involved in agriculture in some form. Each woman's story is unique, and is beautifully portrayed in large, colorful portraits.

Animals in Translation


Temple Grandin, a renowned animal scientist, uses this book to talk about animal behavior from the lens of a person with autism.

Agronomy - Grow with It!


Agronomy Grow with It! explores the science of agriculture. Agronomy is the science we use to grow the crops that feed us, feed our livestock, and even fuel our cars. It's a science that tackles the big challenge of our future: How can we grow enough food to end world hunger and, at the same time, adapt to a changing climate and protect our environment? This book introduces you to 20 real agronomists who face that challenge every day.

Glorious Grasses: The Grains (Plants We Eat)


This book covers early history, cultivation, processing, and nutritional importance of grains. One chapter is dedicated to each grain, including wheat, rice, corn, millet and barley, and oats and rye. The two-column text reads easily and is full of informative material.

Guide to Common Trees and Shrubs of Iowa


This book was developed to help identify woody plants commonly encountered in Iowa. The guide features common terms and includes characteristics to help with field identification.

Iowa Wetland Seedling Guide


The pages of this guide include information with both the wetland professional and amateur native plant enthusiast in mind. Each page includes photos of seed and seedlings as well as a line drawing of a mature plant.

Prairie and Seeding Evaluation Guide


Practical and easy-to-understand field guide with seedling specific descriptions and handy tips on differentiating seedlings of similar plants. Guide includes pictures and drawings of seeds, seedlings, and mature plants of more than 50 tallgrasses, prairie grasses, and flowers.

The Book of Chocolate; The Amazing Story of the World's Favorite Candy


Join science author HP Newquist as he explores chocolate’s fascinating history. Along the way you’ll meet colorful characters like the feathered-serpent god Quetzalcoatl, who gave chocolate trees to the Aztecs; Henri Nestlé, who invented milk chocolate while trying to save the lives of babies who couldn’t nurse; and the quarrelsome Mars family, who split into two warring factions, one selling Milky Way, Snickers, and 3 Musketeers bars, the other Mars Bars and M&M’s. From its origin as the sacred, bitter drink of South American rulers to the familiar candy bars sold by today’s multimillion dollar businesses, people everywhere have fallen in love with chocolate, the world’s favorite flavor.

The Story of Seeds


This nonfiction chapter book follows seeds from Mendel's garden to our plate. Discover how something as small as a seed can have a world-wide impact. From Iraq to India to an impenetrable seed vault in a Norwegian mountainside, this book speaks to the current ways we think about our food and how it is grown. Readers will discover just how important seeds are to the functioning of our global economy--and how much power we as a world-wide community have to keep seeds around, because once a seed disappears, it's gone forever. With both text and color photos, this book touches on subjects such as seed genetics, the development of new seed varieties, heirloom seeds, and GMO seeds. It also introduces readers to seed scientists such as Gregor Mendel, Luther Burbank, and Nikolai Vavilov.

Tree Finder; A Manual for the Identification of Trees by Their Leaves


From the Finders series: Learn to identify trees by their leaves and needles with this key to native and commonly introduces trees of the United States and Canada east of the Rockies.

Understanding Photosynthesis with Max Axiom, Super Scientist


Meet Max Axiom, super scientist. Using powers he acquired in a freak accident, Max teaches science in ways never before seen in a classroom. Follow allong with Max as he explains the process of photosynthesis in an engaging, cool, and colorful graphic novel.

Pig 05049


In a complex and globalized world, it has become increasingly difficult to trace the liens that link raw materials with producers, products, and consumers. Designer Christien Meindertsma has published an intelligent project that attempts to chart this phenomenon. An extensive collection of photographic images has been assembled that document the mind-boggling array of various products that different parts of an anonymous pig called 05049 could support. A visual essay without moral undertones, this complete image of what the pig means to mankind provides a timely serving of food for thought.

Agricultural Drones


Farm fields can span hundreds of acres. With so much area to cover, checking plants can be difficult. But with an agricultural drone, this job becomes much simpler. Discover how drones help farmers maximize efficiencies and bring abundant harvests.

Agricultural Inventions: At the Top of the Field


Historically, farming was an exhausting, physical task. Bright-minded individuals revolutionized agriculture with inventions that eased tasks and sped up production. The invention of milestone machines, such as Eli Whitney's cotton gin, are explored chronologically.

American Farm Tools; From Hand Power to Steam Power


This extensive book helps to illustrate the technological advances that have helped American agriculture grow and expand.

Biofuels; Energy for the Future and Global Warming


Learn more about new developments in energy production with this book, which was created with middle school curricula in mind.

Careers in Renewable Energy


Numerous job opportunities await in the fast-growing field of renewable energy. Job sectors include solar and wind energy, biofuels, hydrogen energy and fuel cells, geothermal energy, hydro energy, green building, climate study, energy management and efficiency, and much more. Various jobs within each sector (engineering and technical positions, project management, R&D and sales/marketing) are discussed, and the appendix is loaded with resource materials for further education and training, professional associations, reference websites and more.

Decoding Genes with Max Axiom, Super Scientist


Meet Max Axiom, super scientist. Using powers he acquired in a freak accident, Max teaches science in ways never before seen in a classroom. Follow along with Max as he explains genes and inheritance in an engaging, cool, and colorful graphic novel.

Eye on Energy; Renewable Fuels


This book examines the background, pros and cons, and future of renewable fuels. Readers will learn about corn ethanol, cellulosic ethanol, biodiesel, landfill gas, and methane digesters.

Food Engineering; From Concept to Consumer


Calling All Innovators series introduces students to careers in science and technology. The complex text allows readers (Grades 5-8) to determine the main idea and explain how it is supported by key details. Have you ever wondered how your favorite fast food order can taste exactly the same at every one of the restaurant's locations? Or how your favorite potato chips can stay crispy for days after you open the bag? Readers will learn how the fascinating field of food science began, how it has developed over time, and what it takes to become a food scientist today.

Industrializing the Corn Belt


From the late 1940s to the early 1970s, farmers in the Corn Belt transformed their region into a new, industrial powerhouse of large-scale production, mechanization, specialization, and efficiency. Many farm experts and implement manufacturers had urged farmers in this direction for decades, but it was the persistent labor shortage and cost-price squeeze following WWII that prompted farmers to pave the way to industrializing agriculture. Anderson examines the changes in Iowa, a representative state of the Corn Belt, in order to explore why farmers adopted particular technologies and how, over time, they integrated new tools and techniques.

Power Up! Bio-Fuels


We currently rely on nonrenewable sources, such as oil, for most of our fuel. Scientists are working on new fuels from crops and other materials to help ease future dependence on nonrenewable resources.

Quiz Whiz


Packed with incredible, full-color photos, Quiz Whiz features brain-tickling multiple choice and true-false questions, as well as innovative map, photographic, and game show quizzes.

The Introduction to Farm Machinery


This in-depth text offers an introduction of farm machinery in its relation to the productivity of labor in agriculture in the United States during the 19th century.

Tractors of the World


Tractors come in all different shapes and sizes, and Tractors of the World covers the field from the early steam-driven monsters to the traditional "two large, two small" wheel configuration; and finally to the ultimate modern, four-wheel-drive, multigeared, mega-beasts with GPS devices and onboard computers. This is a colorful pictorial history of the tractor that depicts the days of primitive steam-powered traction engines, through to the sleek, sophisticated powerhouses that perform as the main workhorse of today's agriculture industry.

World About Us; Wind Energy


Explains how the wind can be used to generate power, describes who uses it, and discusses the benefits and drawbacks to using it as a renewable source of energy.