When he looks up, there is sadness in his eyes.
‘I fear it may be so.’”
(Click to enlarge and see full spread with text.)
I’m very smitten with this morning’s featured illustrations, and not just because of My Thing I Have for Sun Images (as mentioned previously at 7-Imp with Carin Berger’s gorgeous image). The way illustrator Sylvie Daigneault depicts the sun in these images is particularly beautiful to me, but so is everything else about her work in this book, The Good Garden: How One Family Went from Hunger to Having Enough (Kids Can Press, September 2010), written by Katie Smith Milway.
This is the story of a young girl named María Luz Duarte, living in the hills of Honduras, whose family fears they will lose their farm. When María’s father asks his daughter to plant their winter vegetables so that he can find employment elsewhere (thereby avoiding borrowing seeds from the coyote, or grain buyer, who will force the family to pay back three times the seeds he lends), she proudly agrees to the task. While her father is away, she learns from her new teacher at school, Don Pedro Morales, who has “big ideas” about how to restore the soil. María and her classmates learn about composting, how to keep insects away with marigolds, terracing, and more. She also learns how to feed the soil herself so that she and her family and neighbors no longer need to depend upon the deceitful coyotes, the middlemen who keep the villagers from getting ahead on their own (whom Daigneault depicts as literal coyotes).
I’m taken with Daigneault’s sweeping and highly stylized illustrations. Click on each spread below to see the full spread as it appears in the book, complete with the text.
and offers to show them how…”
a feeling of hope spreading from garden to garden.”
Text copyright © 2010 Katie Smith Milway. Illustrations copyright © 2010 Sylvie Daigneault. Reprinted by permission of Kids Can Press.
As a reminder, 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks is a weekly meeting ground for taking some time to reflect on Seven(ish) Exceptionally Fabulous, Beautiful, Interesting, Hilarious, or Otherwise Positive Noteworthy Things from the past week, whether book-related or not, that happened to you.
1). I was kindly invited to a lovely dinner one night this week with the folks who own and run Lemniscaat—Jean Christophe Boele van Hensbroek and his wife, author Jesse Gussen, who were visiting the States from the Netherlands—and a few other middle-Tennessee children’s-lit enthusiasts. Jean Christophe and his wife were delightful people, not to mention their obscenely cute four-year-old daughter, who spoke only Dutch but could sing “Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed” in English. You may remember this post; there was much talk of that book (which I love so ardently) at the dinner, whom we have Jean Christophe (President of Lemniscaat, pictured here) to thank for its very publication. He had some neat stories about working with the Tolmans on that book.
2). Eisha sent me a new mixed CD full of pretty kickin’ songs. I needed new music right about now. Here’s one of the songs on the mix — just to liven things up around here. This is circa 1980:
3). Congratulations to the Nashville Public Library. This is particularly great news, since this week we Nashvillians got the very sad news that our only independent bookstore, a beloved fixture in Nashville, will be closing. (Not a kick. NOT A KICK.)
4). I can’t remember if I’ve announced this already, but Betsy, Peter, and I will be getting an intern (possibly more than one? Not sure yet) for the book we’re writing this year. Students from Vanderbilt will get independent-study credit for assisting us with research on the book, and I can’t tell you how happy this news makes me. It’s all thanks to Dr. Ann Neely from Vanderbilt’s Peabody College.
5). Eisha emailed me this real-life Kipling moment in Zambia. (DUDE. Ouch. That poor pachyderm.) ‘Cause, you see, I once memorized Kipling’s “Elephant’s Child” word-for-word for a graduate storytelling course, and I can still say it, if you give me some time to refresh it all. It’s still in the dusty corners of my brain. And, once upon a time at the blog (or should I say, “in the High and Far-Off Times, O Best Beloved”), I might have mentioned that a billion times. Can’t remember which post, and so Eisha likes to tease me. But, hey, it is a neat party-trick. (That and I can sing the alphabet as it appears on the keyboard. WITHOUT EVEN LOOKING. And that’s because I’m a tremendous left-brained nerd. I have a vague memory of promising Little Willow once that I would videotape myself doing that. Perhaps I should. Think I can get The Black Keys to back me on guitar and drums?)
6). The Center for Children’s and Young Adult Literature at UT in Knoxville has announced their first-ever Conference on Children’s Literature to be held on April 1-2, 2011. I’m so there already.
7). Today, I get to see at her baby shower a friend to whom I’m going to give today’s featured book. And that’s because this friend of mine also believes in food justice, in access to healthy fruits and veggies for everyone. This past summer, she worked in partnership with East Nashville Cooperative Ministry (ENCM) to bring an education program she designed, called Plant the Seed, to two of their community gardens. She designed and implemented the curriculum that engaged 80+ kids over four weeks during the summer—teaching them about healthier food options, growing their own foods, and learning about food justice. It was a huge success, and ENCM has designated part of their end-of-the-year fundraising campaign to her garden-based education program, a dream-come-true for her. In addition to grants that she is helping to write, she has agreed to raise $1000 before the New Year. So, I’m going to give what I can to that today — and give her this book just for fun, a book I think is perfect for her. She’s one of my kicks — for being my friend and for the good, steadfast work she does.
Bonus Kick: The wound from a book falling from high on a bookshelf onto my forehead is only minor. Who ever said book-blogging wasn’t a dangerous sport?
What are YOUR kicks this week?