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


4.27  ·  Rating details ·  159 ratings  ·  38 reviews
Eleven-year-old María 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 María's father must leave home to find work, she is left in charge of their garden. Then a new teacher comes to María's school and introduces her to sustainable
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published September 1st 2010 by Kids Can Press
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Average rating 4.27  · 
Rating details
 ·  159 ratings  ·  38 reviews

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Start your review of The Good Garden: How One Family Went from Hunger to Having Enough
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 ...more
Aug 17, 2010 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 ...more
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 ...more
Shaeley Santiago
Apr 08, 2011 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 ...more
annie  k
Jun 14, 2012 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.
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.
Megan Wittenberg
A touching story about a family living in the hills of Honduras struggling to make ends meet due to failing crops. Maria Luz is a young girl who is her fathers main helper when it comes to tending to her family crops. When her father has to leave to find work away from home, he leaves tending to the crops to her. When a new teacher comes into town, he ends up sharing some tips and tricks that Maria Luz is able to take back to her crops at home eventually leading to being able to have sustainable ...more
May 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Maria Luz Duarte brings home gardening skills learned at school to help her family raise healthy crops. Using her agricultural education, the Duarte family gradually works their way out of poverty that once threatened to take away their home in Honduras. Based on a true story.
Includes further information on Honduran teacher Don Elias Sanchez who helped educate families in farming practices and become more self-sustaining through improved crop production. Has glossary of Spanish keywords used in
Luisa Knight
Although told in story form, it's really a lesson in proper farming and how one family learns better methods to improve their living conditions. A good lesson in teaching children how other families live and work together.

Ages: 6 - 11

#geography #southamerica #honduras #farming

**Like my reviews? I also have hundreds of detailed reports that I offer too. These reports give a complete break-down of everything in the book, so you'll know just how clean it is or isn't. I also have Clean Guides
Julia Crainshaw
Mar 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
From the cover: "The Good Garden is a simple story about a big issue: food insecurity. About 75 percent of poor farmers around the world are not food secure - they do not grow enough to feed their families and buy other necessities of life. The Good Garden is an introduction to this global issue. It also provides children with tools and information to help them make a difference, locally and globally."
May 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
In this book about agricultural developments, the teacher is a native Honduran who leads by example to restore fertility to a community through composting, terracing and natural ways to deter insects. Maria Luz is the child narrator who takes efforts to improve her family's plot and receives affirmation from her father and community. Based on a true story.
Lynn  Davidson
Apr 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a fabulous story, based on a real family in Honduras and on the life of a real Honduran teacher, Don Elias Sanchez, who taught poor farming families healthy farming strategies. His work made positive change in how they grew their crops so they could go from not having enough, to thriving. Gorgeous illustrations.
Wendy Lovatt
Jul 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A great book of life in another country, where a bit of education and support can go a long way to changing folks lives for the better. I especially enjoyed the illustrations, and learning a few Spanish words along the way.
Shai Barber
Apr 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book is a great way to show children how other countries have it hard in life. I really enjoyed this book and like how they used a fox as the bad guy.
Trisha Carter
Sep 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautiful story with absolutely gorgeous illustrations. Made me want to get outside and plant a winter garden.
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 ...more
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
This is a story of a farmers 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 farmers 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
Brianna Upper
Dec 03, 2015 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
Jul 21, 2013 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.

Erika Bowden
A girl named Maria Luz lives in a small village in Honduras. Living with her family they struggle to eat because they cant grow enough food. The soil is overworked causing it to not produced good and healthy crops. Marias 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 then ...more
Aug 02, 2013 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 ...more
Karen Dransfield
May 04, 2015 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, ...more
Jan 01, 2011 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
Holly Leendertsen
Apr 24, 2015 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
Mar 01, 2012 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
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 ...more
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 -
Nov 20, 2013 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
Isabel Bozada-Jones
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
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