The Good Garden: How One Family Went from Hunger to Having Enough

The Good Garden: How One Family Went from Hunger to Having Enough
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Release Date
September 01, 2010
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From the best-selling author of One Hen comes the inspiring story of one struggling farming family in Honduras and their journey to growing enough food to meet their needs. Based on the real story of farm transformation underway in Honduras and many other countries, this book offers children ways they can be part of the movement to grow "good gardens" and foster food security. Eleven-year-old Mar?a Luz and her family live on a small farm. This year their crop is poor, and they may not have enough to eat or to sell for other essentials, such as health care, school uniforms and books. When Mar?a's father must leave home to find work, she is left in charge of their garden. Then a new teacher comes to Mar?a's school and introduces her to sustainable farming practices that yield good crops. As Mar?a begins to use the same methods at home, she too sees improvements, which allow her family to edge their way out of the grip of the greedy "coyotes" -- the middlemen who make profits on the backs of poor farmers. Little by little, the farms -- and the hopes -- of Mar?a and her neighbors are transformed as good gardens begin to grow.

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Helping Hungry Families Farm
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Plot/Characters/Writing Style
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María Luz Duarte and her family own a farm, but when the land loses its goodness and food supplies run low, her father must leave home to find work. María Luz must tend the garden on her own. Then a new teacher moves into the area and shows her how to grow cash crops, how to improve the soil and how to avoid the greedy coyote (middleman). Hope begins to spring up in the village like María Luzs radishes.

The Good Garden demonstrates sustainable farming techniques as the solution to the problem of food insecuritythe inability to grow enough food to support ones familyin small farms around the world. Based on the lifes work of Don Elías Sanchez, a Honduran teacher, the book shows readers how practices like terracing and composting result in more productive farming.

This picture books length is a bit long for very young readers, but elementary-age children will appreciate the narrative. The content, which effectively communicates the problem of global food security, uses simple, but not simplistic, language while telling a compelling story. Colored pencil illustrations warm the pages and provide a friendly, welcoming feel to readers. Many of them feel sun-drenched as the Honduran hills. They pull the reader into the story with colors that communicate the characters feelings.

The book features an explanatory note, brief bio of Don Elías Sanchez, ways children can help, a list of organizations that provide aid and a glossary of Spanish words.
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