Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 4 to 7
- Grade: p to 2
- Reading age: 4 to 7
A girl and her neighbor grow a community from their garden.
Grace thinks Larry's garden is one of the wonders of the world. In his tiny backyard next door to hers, Larry grows the most extraordinary vegetables. Grace loves helping him --- watering and weeding, planting and pruning, hoeing and harvesting. And whenever there's a problem --- like bugs burrowing into the carrots or slugs chewing the lettuce --- Grace and Larry solve it together. Grace soon learns that Larry has big plans for the vegetables in his special garden. And when that garden faces its biggest problem yet, Grace follows Larry's example to find the perfect solution.
Inspired by a real person, author Laura Alary has written a heartwarming story about how amazing things can grow when you tend your garden with kindness. In this case, Larry, a teacher, is helping to grow community. He has his students grow tomato plants that they then give away to their neighbors with personal notes. It offers a powerful lesson on the influence of generosity, while encouraging young children to become community activists in their own neighborhoods. This uplifting story fosters an appreciation for neighborhood and community at a time when that sentiment seems to be eroding. The book also contains an environmental message about harvesting your own vegetables and, with Kass Reich's colorful illustrations, works beautifully for a life science exploration of growth and changes in plants. There are character education connections to caring, cooperation, empathy, kindness, perseverance and teamwork.
About the authors
Laura Alary believes in writing stories that make us bigger on the inside. Born in Halifax, she earned her B.A. with Honours in classics at Dalhousie University before moving to her current home of Toronto, where she completed a Ph.D. at University of St. Michael’s College. Laura has worked as a lecturer, a library assistant, and a music specialist in Montessori classrooms, all the while writing books and raising her three children. Laura’s most recent title is What Grew in Larry’s Garden, which won the IODE Jean Throop Book Award in 2021.
KASS REICH is an artist and educator. She graduated with a degree in Art Education from Concordia University, then worked in Beijing as an early childhood educator for nearly three years. Working with little ones inspired her to start making picture books for young learners. She lives in Toronto, Ontario.
- Short-listed, Jean Throop Book Award, IODE
- Winner, Jean Throop Book Award, IODE
... a truly charming read that proves amazing things can grow in both our garden's and our lives when tended with human kindness and patience.—CM Magazine
Based on a true story, Alary perfectly captures Larry's passion and Reich's illustrations help this lovely picture book bloom.
Globe and Mail
... an appealing story of building community ...—Cooperative Children's Book Center
A warmhearted lesson in community and creative thinking, delivered simply.
[A] gentle narrative celebrating diligence, problem solving, and community ...