The Good Garden: How One Family Went from Hunger to Having Enough by Katie Smith Milway and illustrated by Sylvie Daigneault (obtained as an electronic galley at NetGalley) is an inspiring story of a young girl from the hills of Honduras who helped her family learn how to grow their crops sustainably. Although listed in the children’s nonfiction section, the use of dialogue and made up names pushes it over into the creative nonfiction category.
In the beginning María’s family was struggling to grow enough even to feed themselves. When a new teacher comes to town, he teaches everyone new ways to grow crops, for example using terraces to cut down on erosion. Later he shows María and her family how to take their extra vegetables to the town and sell them directly, cutting out the greedy middle men called coyotes. By the end, they are able to make enough money to cover their basic needs.
Sylvie Daigneault’s illustrations are really what make this book. They are simply magical. You can see full examples in this post by Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast.
The Good Garden: How One Family Went from Hunger to Having Enough (CitizenKid) has a wonderful message about grassroots change and sustainability issues, but it also is an excellent introduction to another language and another culture. It has numerous Spanish words sprinkled throughout the text. With all that is being said recently about lack of diversity in children’s books, here is one prominent exception.
Age Range: 8 and up
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Kids Can Press (September 1, 2010)
Nonfiction Monday is a blogging celebration of nonfiction books for kids. We invite you to join us. For more information and a schedule, stop by Booktalking to see who is hosting each week.
Today’s round up is at Ms. Yingling Reads.