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The Good Garden: How One Family Went from Hunger to Having Enough    by Katie Smith Milway & Sylvie Daigneault order for
Good Garden
by Katie Smith Milway
Order:  USA  Can
Kids Can, 2010 (2010)
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Daninhirsch

This book is one in a series of Citizen Kid books that 'inform children about the world and inspire them to be better global citizens.'

The story follows a fictional family living in Honduras and is told through the eyes of the young daughter, Maria Luiz. Like others in the village, the Luiz family is poor. And unlike people in wealthier communities, her family doesn't simply buy what they need at a local grocery store. Rather, they rely upon their land to grow the food they need. Many factors beyond their control affect their crops, such as the weather and destructive insects.

Papa has to go away for several months in order to earn more money to feed the family. So in the meantime, he puts Maria in charge of the land, including the planting of winter vegetables.

In his absence, Maria's teacher, Don Pedro, shows her how to 'feed the soil' by making and tending to compost. She also learns from Don Pedro how to do other things to help the crops grow, such as shoveling soil into terraces to 'keep the soil from washing downhill with the rains', and planting marigolds to keep insects away.

Using what she's learned from both her teacher and her father, Maria ends up planting a bountiful garden, coinciding with Papa's triumphant return. In addition to helping to feed her family, Maria also helps her family earn money from her winter crop.

The book tells a good and interesting story, and teaches urban children about ways of life that are a reality for children in other parts of the globe. For the educational value, this book would be ideal for school libraries. The beautiful soft-pencil illustrations are vibrant, with many hues of gold and green, possibly to symbolize prosperity and hope.

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