Monday, November 10, 2008

Grow - A Novel in Verse by Juanita Havill

Saturday morning
Berneetha's voice booming
through the screen door
on the front porch:
"I'm all fired up and ready to go.
Who'll come with me?"

The abstract is hidden because it may contain spoilers. If you would like to read the full summary, simply use your cursor to highlight the next few lines and it will magically appear.
Abstract: Two misfit children and other members of a Minneapolis, Minnesota, neighborhood are brought together by a woman creating a community garden.

Publisher: Peachtree; 159 pages; illustrated by Stanislawa Kodman


Mary said...

This is a book I can’t wait to discuss in January at our Mock Newbery! The characters are beautifully developed and carefully drawn. With each of their unique qualities, Berneetha and Kate and Harlan and the rest of the neighborhood, tie together & grow together just as the community garden they work on blends together as it grows.

I read that weeds
can be anything
even beautiful flowers,
or beans growing in cornfields.
A weed is anything growing
where you don’t want it to grow.

I also really enjoyed the way the book is framed ending with “The Last Poem is Really the First” and “Lightbulb.”

This is a book I will revisit and will recommend as a quick read with a great deal of depth.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are my own, and do not represent the opinion of the Cybils panel as a whole.

Unknown said...

I liked this one, but it didn't really stand out. Some novels in verse really capture my fancy, but this one, for whatever reason, was just "nice". Not bad, but not super-captivating either.

That said, my daughter's 3rd grade teacher (I donated my copy to her classroom) liked it. So, maybe it's just me. :)

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed this book. I loved the whole symbolism on Berneetha and Kate trying to grow a garden and how the community slowly starts to help.

Very good!

Kim Baccellia

Teresa said...

The quiet turmoil throughout this story is moving, especially the mother/daughter relationship, the Harlan/narrator relationship, the father/son nonrelationship, the garden/community relationship. Berneetha who is one amazing woman.

It will be great to discuss it with the others during the Mock Newbery. I liked it, but I can't say that I found it distinguished. I am open to being convinced though.

Jen said...

I too thoroughly enjoyed this book and could feel a real depth of emotion in this story. The poems give a full sense of character and allow us to be drawn into the feeling of community even though we won't be bringing down a flat of tomatoes (to this particular garden, anyway...)

I'm always glad to see characters who recognize society's ideals for personal aesthetic beauty, and deal with it in a realistic manner. Kate is one of a number of strong characters. I think many kids would appreciate this book.