November 26, 2010

The Good Garden: How One Family Went from Hunger to Having Enough by Katie Smith Milway

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , at 7:40 pm by suebe2

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

by Katie Smith Milway

illustrated by Sylvie Daigneault

AR 5 .1

Maria Luz and her family farm the Honduran hills.  They grow what they need to eat, and if they don’t grow enough they eat what they need to plant.  Maria loves her life in the village but things are hard and this year the rain has been too little.  Will they have enough to tide them over? Will they be able to save enough seed do plant come spring?  Sadly, Maria waves as her Papa leaves to find work.

While Papa is gone, it is Maria’s job to tend the garden even as she goes to school.  But it is in school that she meets the amazing Don Pedro.  In addition to working on their reading and their math, Don Pedro and his students work the school garden where he teaches them about composting and terracing and planting small cash crops such as radishes and herbs.  When Maria harvests her radishes, it is Don Pedro who offers to help her sell them at the local market instead of counting on the coyotes to do it for her.

Any young reader who wants to do more, to be more, to make a difference will relish this story about a young girl who saves her family from poverty.  The Good Garden shows how even small changes can make a big difference and these changes can add up to feed a family and help a community to flourish.

Sylvie Daigneualt’s pencil and colored paper illustrations reminded me of old posters — maybe it was the strength and vitality of the people in them.  They are also reminiscent of folk art with their right colors and the coyotes (agricultural merchants who sell seed and take crops to market) who are actually depicted as coyotes.

For anyone looking for a book that encourages global awareness, giving, and thoughtful farming, this book is for you.  Share it with a young reader today but be ready if they insist on making some changes tomorrow.




  1. Thank you, Sue for your recommendation. Your readers are welcome to watch the video of the “real” Maria at and read about other real life farmers from many other countries who have moved from hunger to having enough. They may even want to register for the Good Garden national food drive through Dec. 15th show what a difference young people across the country can make for local food pantries.

    Happy Thanksgiving, Katie Smith Milway, author

    • suebe2 said,

      Thank you for the information! I’ll be heading over to check out the video asap! We’ve long supported Heifer and I’m glad to learn about a similar organization for plant based agriculture.

  2. […] may recognize the author’s name from her book the Good Garden.  In Mimi’s Village, Milway has created another title that brings the realities of much of […]

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