My Baba’s Garden by Jordan Scott, illustrated by Sydney Smith

Published by Neal Porter Books

Summary:  The author’s note at the beginning tells of his Baba, a Polish survivor of World War II, who settled in a renovated chicken coop in Canada with her husband.  Jordan Scott didn’t know his grandfather, but visited his grandmother every day, forming a bond that transcended their different languages through food, gardening, and collecting worms to enrich the soil.  The story is a memoir of their times together, continuing until the chicken coop is torn down and Baba comes to live with the family.  Although she can’t get out and work in the garden anymore, the boy continues to spend time with her each morning, planting tomatoes on her windowsill, and showing her the worms he finds as she watches from her window.  32 pages; ages 4-8.

Pros:  The team that brought you I Talk Like a River has created another beautiful family story, understated in its narration, but perfectly conveying the love between a child and his grandmother.  

Cons:  My hopes for Sydney Smith to win a Caldecott were dashed when I read on the back flap of the book jacket that he lives in Canada.

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