Title: The Good Garden: How One Family Went from Hunger to Having Enough
Author: Katie Smith Milway
Illustrator: Sylvie Daigneault
Publisher: Kids Can Press
Concepts: natural resources, scarcity, poverty, sustainable development, agricultural production.
Review: The Duarte family lived in a rural Honduran village and relied primarily on subsistence farming for their livelihood. Bad weather one year resulted in a particularly small harvest, forcing Papa to leave for the highlands to find paid employment. Left in charge of the garden, his daughter María started to apply some different techniques she learned from the new teacher at the village school. He taught his students how to nourish the earth with natural compost, build terraces to prevent the soil from washing downhill with the rain, and plant marigolds to serve as natural insect repellents.
Much to María and her family's relief, these techniques resulted in a more robust yield. Encouraged by her teacher, María also planted some radishes and sold them herself at the market. She and her parents learned that they could bypass the predatory pricing of the coyote middleman by selling produce and purchasing supplies themselves at the market. Other people in their village and surrounding locations learned these same lessons and ultimately became more food secure.
This informative book is based on the true story of a teacher named Don Elías Sanchez who helped thousands of Honduran families adopt more productive farming practices and sell cash crops at local markets. With its lively colored-pencil illustrations and useful author's note, The Good Garden can open the eyes of young learners to new ideas for supporting the well-being of families around the globe who face food insecurity.
Review by: Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children