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

4.21  ·  Rating Details  ·  102 Ratings  ·  28 Reviews
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 secur ...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published September 1st 2010 by Kids Can Press
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Community Reviews

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Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
Yet another book that shows how one person can make a difference. Maria Luz lives in a small village in Honduras. Her family struggles to grow enough food, and have little left over to sell to the coyotes, or evil men who take advantage of the villagers by buying from them at low prices and selling to them at high prices. One day a new teacher, Don Pedro, comes to the school, and their lives are changed forever. He teaches the children about terrace farming, composting, planting marigolds to kee ...more
Sep 13, 2010 Tasha rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
The author of One Hen: How One Small Loan Made a Big Difference continues to explore the impact of education and funding on poor communities. Here, she has written a book about a farming family in Honduras who learn techniques that allow them to grow enough food to feed themselves and earn enough money to secure a positive future for the family. Maria Luz and her family have run out of food so her father must head out of town to find enough work to pay for the seed to plant next year because the ...more
Jun 22, 2016 Dolly rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: middle grade readers
I have come to the conclusion that I will have to read most of the picture books that I find at our local libraries on my own. Our girls have grown up so quickly that they have little patience for books they consider to be 'babyish.'

So I am thrilled when I find a book that not only has gorgeous pictures, but also has the more mature content that they crave. This is a wonderful book that has a captivating story, but also provides a lesson about the difficulties people face in other parts of the
Marta Luz and her family are barely getting by on their farm in Honduras. Because the soil has been overworked, the crops barely sustain them, and her father must leave to find work. A new teacher shows Marta and her classmates new ways to plant their crops, enrich the soil, and how to sell their produce directly at the market. Once her father returns home, the family garden is producing enough food to feed them all well plus allow the family to earn extra money. Although the changes described i ...more
Erika Bowden
A girl named Maria Luz lives in a small village in Honduras. Living with her family they struggle to eat because they can’t grow enough food. The soil is overworked causing it to not produced good and healthy crops. Maria’s father then leaves to find work, so the family can have an income coming in. With the little food that her family has left over they sale to the coyotes, or the evil men of the village take advantage of the villagers by buying food from the people from very low prices and the ...more
Brianna Upper
Dec 07, 2015 Brianna Upper rated it really liked it
The book The Good Garden: How One Family Went from Hunger to Having Enough by Katie Smith Milway and illustrated by Sylvie Daigneault was overall great book. The book seems to be a life changing book, that helped simple minds grow and expand. The illustrations in the book are done with basic colors in a colored pencil. The illustrations show the growth in the crops from in the beginning to the end. This book shows that people can make a

A girl named Maria Luz lives in a small village
Karen Dransfield
May 04, 2015 Karen Dransfield rated it it was amazing
Another good CitizenKids series book. It's about a family in south america and their small plot of land they grow food on. It covers how you need to be able to regularly grow enough food every year to cover all your family food requirements before you can look ahead to pulling yourself out of poverty. And to grow enough food without putting yourself into further debt, you need the knowledge of good farming techniques to make this happen. And something as small as learning how to compost waste, s ...more
Holly Leendertsen
Apr 28, 2015 Holly Leendertsen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s-books
The Good Garden is the story of the Duartes family in Honduras. They are farmers, and are having trouble raising a good crop. Maria's father has to move away to find work, and leaves Maria to tend to the garden. Fortunately, a new teacher comes to their village and begins to teach them new farming techniques such as terracing, and composting. Over time, the village uses these practices and soon everyone's crops are bountiful. I thought this story was amazing, and very heartfelt. Growing up on a ...more
Susie White
In The Good Garden: How One Family Went from Hunger to Having Enough, the story of a family living in the hills of Honduras is told, and how a new schoolteacher transforms their community to produce good crop yearly. The schoolteacher Don Pedro is based on the life of Don Elías Sanchez, while the Duartes are based on an actual family whom Sanchez guided. María Luz and her family, the Duartes, face the frightening fact that they may not have enough food for this winter and seeds for their next cr ...more
Edward Sullivan
From the author of One Hen: How One Small Loan Made a Big Difference, this book tells the story how a poor farming family who live in the hills of Honduras and learns how to grow enough food that will sustain them and provide an income. An excellent introduction to the issue of food insecurity.
This is a story of a farmer’s family from Honduras. The family struggles to produce enough food to feed themselves and to make extra money to pay for everyday necessities or buy seeds for the new growing season. The father decides to leave for a city to look for work. At the same time a new teacher arrives at the local school. With the help of the farmer’s daughter, he starts a project, the school garden. The garden patch becomes an example of how changing of the farming habits can increase the ...more
Jul 23, 2013 Suz rated it liked it
Shelves: ya-kid-lit
The story does a good job of showing what life is like for subsistence farmers and the slow process of bringing change to places like those hillside villages in Honduras. The inclusion of websites to explore and facts to supplement the story are very helpful for classroom use. I have used the book One Hen with my students and they found the differences between their lifestyle and what was portrayed in the book very intriguing. I believe they will have the same response to The Good Garden.

The sto
Aug 02, 2013 Carol rated it really liked it
It is amazing the influence one person can have on a whole village, kind of like a chain reaction. Maria Luz is saddened that her family's crops are not thriving. They need the crops to survive from year to year. If they can't sustain themselves they end up in debt to the local "coyote" and will eventually lose their whole property. When her father leaves to find work elsewhere for extra money Maria Luz goes to school. There is a new teacher and he has some crazy new ideas to help the local farm ...more
Jan 01, 2011 Jessica rated it it was amazing
A simple story about a largely ignored problem for those who don't yet experience it insecurity. Maria Luz and her family are poor farmers in the Honduras who, along with their neighbors, are struggling to feed themselves each year. When her father leaves to find other work, a new teacher comes to town and teaches Maria and her classmates about sustainable farming practices, including composting corn husks and other agricultural waste (rather than burning it) to enrich the soil, ...more
Mar 01, 2012 Elizabeth rated it really liked it
Shelves: children
It's the first full week of Lent and our family is participating in Operation Rice Bowl. This week is about helping farmers in Madagascar grow more food using better farming techniques. I visited my local library to find some books to read to my 6 year old and stumbled across this one.


The illustrations are beautiful. The story is simply told about a family in Honduras who are barely growing enough food to feed themselves. A new teacher comes to the village who shares informati
Kerri Harshaw
This book provides a great text-to-world connection through this simple story, about bigger issue of some farmers being unable to produce enough food for their families, and even less food to sell. The book is set in the hills of Honduras where a small girl and her family live amongst many other poor farmers. This chapter book (each chapter is short and in one page of length) shows how the families began to learn new ways to help their garden grow. Eventually the farmers on this hillside were ab ...more
Nov 25, 2013 Lisa rated it it was amazing
This title is one in a series of socially conscious books for children. The story describes a family in Honduras living as subsistence farmers. When crops wither and fail to produce the family is in jeopardy. The father leaves to look for work and the oldest child, his daughter, learns new farming techniques from the new teacher at the local school.

Follow the growth of a family and community as they overcome the uncertainty of farming and the dangers of the local "middleman", the Coyote. The Coy
Perfect for environmental connections - composting, terracing, natural insect repellants, etc.

Based on the work of Don Elias who dedicated his life to teaching poor local farmers how to increase their food production and build food security in their communities.

More information:

Video about the real Maria who inspired the main character in the story:

Inspiring story of how a single person can create lasting change for the world -
Aug 25, 2012 Isabel rated it liked it
PB 6. I would have given this book 5 stars. I love it. I love the illustrations. I love the story of the effect a good and caring teacher can have on a community. I love how this book introduces kids to a life different to their own. However, this summer, while working a summer camp focused on literacy, I read this book to a group of 7 to 10 year olds. They did not like. They didn't find the story engaging, and they had a hard time paying attention and relating it to their life. Maybe this book ...more
Shaeley Santiago
Apr 08, 2011 Shaeley Santiago rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: environmentalists
Maria's family is one drought away from losing their farm. Her father goes away for several months to find work so the family can survive. He leaves young Maria in charge of the family's small garden. When a new teacher, Don Pedro begins teaching new ways to grow crops, Maria learns about composting, using terraces to prevent soil erosion, and natural methods of insect repellent like planting marigolds around the garden's perimeter. The new methods make a huge difference and set Maria's family o ...more
Jan 10, 2012 Sarah rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, kidlit
I really enjoyed this nonfiction picture book explaining how farmers in Honduras learned to cultivate their land more profitably. A young girl sets the new ideas in motion (terraces, composting, natural pesticides) while her father is away looking for work. Each step in the process is explained by a new teacher in the community and supported by large colored pencil drawings full of sunny colors.

A great accompaniment to units about global issues and poverty.
Jul 17, 2012 Rawannie rated it it was amazing

The Good Garden: How One Family Went from Hunger to Having Enough by Katie Smith Milway & Sylvie Daigneault is GORGEOUS!!! The story, although a bit sad, is written perfectly- older & younger children can follow it easily. The illustrations are lush & colorful & exquisite- my youngest enjoyed naming everything in them. This is a brilliant, heart-felt story that helps explain the food crisis much of the world is experiencing.
Feb 12, 2012 Matthew rated it it was amazing
This story should act as a vehicle for social change. It does a great job of explaining the plight of numerous farming families in Central America. It also contains extensive endnotes on organizations that are working to correct these continuing social wrongs. I loved this book. I'd highly recommend it be added to any collection that doesn't have it already.
Jan 01, 2012 Thom rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
First book of the new year, and highly recommended to those with families with kids. Simple ideas and compelling drawings are put forth in a good way, and the last pages detail the truth behind the story and also contain a small translation guide for those whose spanish is muy pequeño.
May 04, 2011 Jennifer rated it really liked it
This picture book was a little too wordy for me, BUT I loved the message about feeding the world. Lots of great nonfiction info at the end. Would be perfect to use with upper elementary students to springboard a community garden or Earth Day project!
Heather Summers
Apr 07, 2011 Heather Summers rated it it was amazing
Shelves: family, inspirational
Such an inspirational book on how one family makes things happen with things aren't looking so great.
Katy Vance
Jun 13, 2011 Katy Vance rated it it was amazing
Excellent potential as a children's book to support a lesson in social studies, science or the humanities.
Mary Lee
Sustainable agriculture in Honduras. One of the excellent Citizen Kid books from Kids Can Press.
Jenna Beaulieu
Jenna Beaulieu rated it really liked it
Jul 25, 2016
Lauren rated it really liked it
Jul 13, 2016
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