fp April 2008
Grow: a novel in verse
illustrated by Stanislawa Kodman
Everything about Berneetha is big—her mouth, her size, and especially her dreams. And when Berneetha decides to create a community garden on a vacant lot, twelve-year-old Kate Sibley's just got to help make that dream a reality. At first the neighbors think Kate and Berneetha are crazy, but slowly they begin to come around. "Graffiti gangster" Harlan turns out to be pretty good with a rented tiller. Dr. Chitra Arockiasamy is willing to be in charge of tomatoes. Hank Glover would like to grow corn. And unsmiling Jacob Wasserman somehow manages to get some manure. Slowly, a community begins to grow, just as the garden does.
But just as the garden and Kate are both beginning to bloom, a sign goes up; a parking garage will be built on the lot. Can Kate and Berneetha and their friends keep the garden and the dream alive?
Award-winning author Juanita Havill's story of a community garden in an urban neighborhood and the mismatched people who carefully tend it is told through the eyes of an impressionable girl in a series of richly detailed prose poems. The result is an affecting, lasting portrait of community life and the power of shared commitment and hope.
If you have read this verse novel and would like to share your opinion of it with other readers please send your review or comments to YARR-A