A Garden Called Home

Tundra. Feb. 2024. 48p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781774880470.
K-Gr 2–When the temperature drops and snow begins to fall, Mama’s smile is nowhere to be found as she snuggles up in her favorite quilted jackets to wait out the interminable winter months. This year, Mama gets to take her child to China to visit relatives and explore a place where cold is rare and plants abound. After their trip, the duo returns to their snowy home and Mama’s smile disappears once more. But joy can be found anywhere, and together, Mama and her child find ways to unite their favorite things about both locales. This heartfelt story beautifully depicts the sorrow that can be felt during the cold winter months, especially when one has come from a completely different environment. Watercolor illustrations merge with childlike crayon drawings in a way that compares how the characters view the world even as they coexist. The unnamed child is not gendered, and as there is no father figure; the relationship between the mother and child is one of mutual support. Synergy between the descriptions of plant interconnection and the depiction of the featured family makes the book particularly memorable. A glossary at the end helps to orient readers to some of the potentially unfamiliar terminology used within the book, and both plant terms and Mandarin language can be found within the text.
VERDICT This beautiful story of love, resilience, and family will appeal to readers of all ages.

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