THE GOOD GARDEN

HOW ONE FAMILY WENT FROM HUNGER TO HAVING ENOUGH

From the CitizenKid series

When the exhausted soil of their family plot doesn't yield enough and her father leaves to find work, María Luz plants the winter vegetables using new farming techniques she learns from her teacher, Don Pedro. Marigolds repel insect pests. Terracing and using compost and nutrient-fixing crops improve the soil so much that their garden can sustain her family again. This encouraging story by the author of One Hen (illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes, 2008) honors the work of Honduran farmer-trainer Elías Sanchez. Full-bleed illustrations, curving lines done with colored pencil on colored paper, extend across the gutters to show María Luz, her family and neighbors at work, the threatening coyote who wants to sell their produce and take his cut and the busy market where they sell cash crops and buy seed on their own. The sun waves long arms and beams at the improvement in their lives. Though the text is not simple, the appealing design will support less able readers. Endnotes add information about food security around the world and include a glossary of Spanish words. (Picture book. 7-10) 

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-55453-488-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: July 29, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2010

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A nice and timely depiction of an immigrant child experience.

STELLA DÍAZ HAS SOMETHING TO SAY

From the Stella Díaz series , Vol. 1

Speaking up is hard when you’re shy, and it can be even harder if you’ve got two languages in your head.

Third-grader Estrella “Stella” Díaz, is a shy, Mexican-American girl who draws pictures and loves fish, and she lives in Chicago with her mother and older brother, Nick. Jenny, Stella’s best friend, isn’t in her class this year, and Stella feels lonely—especially when she sees that Vietnamese-American Jenny is making new friends. When a new student, Stanley Mason, arrives in her class, Stella introduces herself in Spanish to the white former Texan without realizing it and becomes embarrassed. Surely Stanley won’t want to befriend her after that—but he seems to anyway. Stella often confuses the pronunciation between English and Spanish sounds and takes speech classes. As an immigrant with a green card—a “legal alien,” according to her teacher—Stella feels that she doesn’t fully belong to either American culture or Mexican culture, and this is nicely reflected in her not being fully comfortable in either language, an experience familiar to many immigrant and first-generation children. This early-middle-grade book features italicized Spanish words and phrases with direct translations right after. There is a small subplot about bullying from Stella’s classmate, and readers will cheer as they see how, with the help of her friends and family, Stella overcomes her shyness and gives a presentation on Jacques Cousteau. Dominguez’s friendly black-and-white drawings grace most pages.

A nice and timely depiction of an immigrant child experience. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-62672-858-5

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: Nov. 13, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2017

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Move over Ramona Quimby, Portland has another neighbor you have to meet!

WAYS TO MAKE SUNSHINE

Ryan Hart is navigating the fourth grade and all its challenges with determination.

Her mom named her Ryan because it means “king,” and she wanted Ryan to feel powerful every time she heard her name; Ryan knows it means she is a leader. So when changes occur or disaster strikes, budding chef Ryan does her best to find the positive and “make sunshine.” When her dad is laid off from the post office, the family must make adjustments that include moving into a smaller house, selling their car, and changing how they shop for groceries. But Ryan gets to stay at Vernon Elementary, and her mom still finds a way to get her the ingredients she needs to practice new recipes. Her older brother, Ray, can be bossy, but he finds little ways to support her, especially when she is down—as does the whole family. Each episodic chapter confronts Ryan with a situation; intermittently funny, frustrating, and touching, they should be familiar and accessible to readers, as when Ryan fumbles her Easter speech despite careful practice. Ryan, her family, and friends are Black, and Watson continues to bring visibility to both Portland, Oregon, generally and its Black community specifically, making another wonderful contribution that allows Black readers to see themselves and all readers to find a character they can love.

Move over Ramona Quimby, Portland has another neighbor you have to meet! (Fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: April 28, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5476-0056-4

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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