Monday, August 23, 2010

Non-Fiction Monday: Gardening!

This week I just kept coming upon book after book regarding farming, local buying, farmer's markets, and the like and am excited to share two of my favorites with you today. Though the growing season is almost over for summer fruits and vegetables (for most of the U.S.), the autumn season hasn't even begun yet, so there's still a lot of time to share these books with your children and/or students to get them excited about growing things.

Up We Grow: A Year in the Life of a Small, Local Farm is written by Deborah Hodge and photographed by Brian Harris. The reader gets an inside look at how life on a small farm just might be life, from Spring to Winter. The planting in the Spring, the tending, picking, and selling during the Summer, harvesting, preserving, and prep for cold weather in Fall, and repair, upkeep, animal tending, and rest in the Winter.

We are shown just how busy life on a farm can be, with constant movement and tasks, as well as given little facts about farming that we just might not have known before. The photographs depict real children working on the family farm, helping from start to finish of the growing season and assisting in the care of the farm animals.

I think this would make a really nice introductory book to local farming, especially after all the farmer's market trips you and your loved ones probably (hopefully) took this summer. I started growing my own veggies this year, but still headed to the farmer's market for jams, fruit, and crafty things.

Overall rating: 4 out of 5

Up We Grow: A Year in the Life of a Small, Local Farm
Deborah Hodge
32 pages
Kids Can Press
August 2010
Review copy received from publisher

The Good Garden: How One Family Went from Hunger to Having Enough is written by Katie Smith Milway and illustrated by Sylvie Daigneault. It is a fictionalized account of the Duartes family, who live in Honduras and were faced with extreme poverty, relying on their crops to earn them money and keep their bellies full. And when they suffer through bad crops, they come up with a way to ensure better farming practices, resulting in better and more profitable crops.

Part family memoir, part sustainable gardening guide, you'll learn a lot from this one. I think it's important to put a face on poverty, so children can see that it's happen to real people and not just someone out there in the world. We're also given a list of different organizations that teachers/librarians could use for group fundraisers, helping families just like the Duartes'. Ooh and you'll learn a bit of Spanish too!

I wasn't a total fan of the writing style (somewhat choppy, in awkward, very short chapters), but overall, the concept of the book was great...and a nice accompaniment to Up We Grow.

Overall rating: 3 out of 5

The Good Garden: How One Family Went from Hunger to Having Enough
Katie Smith Milway
32 pages
Non-Fiction Picture Book
Kids Can Press
September 2010
Review copy received from publisher

To learn more or to purchase, click on the book cover above to link to Amazon. I am an Associate and will receive a small percentage of the purchase price. Thanks!

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