Title: A Child's Garden: A Story of Hope
Author and illustrator: Michael Forman
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Concepts: natural resources, scarcity, economics of conflict
Review: A young child lives in an area ravaged by war, with a large, ominous barbed-wire fence that separates the ruins where he lives from the nice village and lovely hills on the other side. Anyone could feel utter despair to live under such conditions, but the boy sees hope in a small green sapling that he finds growing in the rubble. He waters and nurtures the plant as it transforms into a splendid grapevine that covers the barbed wire and attracts butterflies, songbirds, and other children. Although the soldiers from the other side destroy the vine, they are no match for the resilience of children, the depth of plant roots, and the power of the wind to spread seeds.
This inspiring book, which follows in the tradition of Michael Foreman's earlier Mia's Story, provides a clear lesson about hope in the face of scarcity and conflict. Both these books are top-notch choices for teaching children about the insidiousness of extreme poverty and the importance of thinking about solutions for a way out.
Review by: Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children