Ancona takes readers on a yearlong tour of one Santa Fe, N.M., school garden.
The garden at Acequia Madre Elementary School will no doubt give rise to the little green monster in the hearts of more than a few educators. Complete with an outdoor classroom, greenhouse, composting area, and some local college students to pitch in and help, it is an enviable addition to the campus. Students are involved in all aspects of the garden: They help plan it, plant the seeds, transplant seedlings, mulch and water and compost the beds, raise butterflies to pollinate the garden, make adobe bricks to line garden beds, coat the horno (a traditional oven) in new adobe, harvest the fruits and vegetables, and prepare the garden for winter. In the summertime, the community comes together for gatherings in the garden, many of which involve eating the produce. Color photographs give educators something to drool over, while charming artwork done by the kids dots the pages. While there are some educational tidbits scattered in the text—for example, how plants are pollinated—this is less a gardening book for children than a book for those educators who want to go from the dreaming stage to the planning and doing stages…and who want to involve their students in the process.
It’s sure to bring out the green thumb of many an educator, and it just may provoke some kids to get out in their own yards and make a garden. (bibliography, websites) (Informational picture book. 5-8, adult)