Friday, July 5, 2013

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

From the best-selling author of One Hen comes the inspiring story of one struggling farming family in Honduras and their journey to growing enough food to meet their needs. Based on the real story of farm transformation underway in Honduras and many other countries, this book offers children ways they can be part of the movement to grow "good gardens" and foster food security. Eleven-year-old Mar?a Luz and her family live on a small farm. This year their crop is poor, and they may not have enough to eat or to sell for other essentials, such as health care, school uniforms and books. When Mar?a's father must leave home to find work, she is left in charge of their garden. Then a new teacher comes to Mar?a's school and introduces her to sustainable farming practices that yield good crops. As Mar?a begins to use the same methods at home, she too sees improvements, which allow her family to edge their way out of the grip of the greedy "coyotes" -- the middlemen who make profits on the backs of poor farmers. Little by little, the farms -- and the hopes -- of Mar?a and her neighbors are transformed as good gardens begin to grow.
I can't believe that this book and other books in the series aren't required reading in schools.

In The Good Garden, Maria and her family have a farm wherein they grow crops for their consumption and for selling to the market. The other families in their community do the same thing. However, sometimes they don't get enough produce because of things like drought and pests. Thanks to a knowledgeable teacher, though, the village starts learning techniques that can help them out in their farm,

The story of Maria's family is similar to the stories I've heard about some of the farming communities in the Philippine provinces. Middlemen are known to undercut these farmers, which leaves them in a lot of debt.

I don't really know much about crop rotations and farming techniques, so it was interesting to read about the things that Maria and her community do to improve their land, farm and yield. It's also good that it mentions that if they had the courage to try or could find a way to transport their goods to the market, they'll get a much better price for their goods.

As with the other book which I read from this series, the illustrations are pretty and quite appropriate to the setting of the story.

Thanks to NetGalley and Kids Can Press for the e-copy.


  1. It teaches kids about farming techniques.
  2. It teaches kids about food security.
  3. It mentions several organizations that are doing their part in helping solve hunger.


  1. Some kids may not be able to relate to Maria and her family's struggles.

Mama and Pepito bring corn tamales stuffed with chilies for their midday meal.

  1. You or your child want to learn more about the lives of farmers in other countries.
  2. You want to teach your child about food security.
  3. Your child is interesting in gardening and farming.




Note: This post contains Amazon and Book Depository affiliate links.

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