Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

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

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

Katie Smith Milway
Illustrator:  Sylvie Daigneault 
Picture Book
For ages 7 to 10
Kids Can Press, 2010   ISBN: 978-1554534883

Maria Luz Duarte is working in the family garden with her father and she is worried. The corn crop that her family so desperately needs is not looking healthy, and Maria wonders if the land has “lost its goodness.” Maria and her family live in the hills of Honduras, and they are subsistence farmers. If their crop does not give them enough to eat, they will have to eat their seeds, the seeds that they need to plant in the spring. Maria knows that if they don’t have any seeds, they will have to borrow seeds from the grain buyer who will make Maria’s family “pay back three times the seeds he lends.”

Maria’s father decides to leave home to earn money so that they need not go into debt with the grain buyer. He asks Maria to take care of the family land, and to plant the winter vegetables.

When Maria goes to school, she discovers that she and the other eighty students in their school have a new teacher who is called Don Pedro. This new teacher is full of ideas, and when Maria tells him that her family’s land “has gone bad,” Don Pedro tells her that they will have to “feed the soil and make it good again.”

This unique picture book will show children how poor people in a village in Honduras change the way they manage their family gardens, and how these changes transform their lives. From Don Pedro, Maria and the other villagers learn how to make compost, how to terrace their land to prevent soil erosion, how to plant plants that will earn much needed money, and how to earn as much as possible by selling the things they grow in the market.

This story is based on the real story of Honduran families who were taught how to make their gardens more fruitful and how to take their destiny into their own hands so that they would have “food security” for years to come.

At the back of the book, there is further information about the story, the characters, and how we can all contribute to tend “Our Global garden.” There is also a page full of information about “Real Hunger, Real Help Around the World.”

This book in one in a series of titles in the CitizenKid collection published by Kids Can Press.  Readers might like to visit the interactive website that compliments this title.