A Handful of Seeds

Monica Hughes, Author, Luis Garay, Illustrator
Monica Hughes, Author, Luis Garay, Illustrator Orchard Books (NY) $15.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-531-09498-3
Reviewed on: 03/04/1996
Release date: 03/01/1996
Hardcover - 32 pages - 978-980-257-197-0
Hardcover - 32 pages - 978-1-895555-27-1
Paperback - 32 pages - 978-980-257-243-4
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When her grandmother dies, all Concepcion possesses is a bag of beans, corn and chilies, and her grandmother's advice: ""Save enough seed for the next planting... then you will always have something to eat."" With nowhere else to turn, Concepcion joins a band of orphans who live next to the dump and steal food for survival. But Concepcion plants a garden and eventually teaches the barrio children to do the same. Without sensationalizing, this tale presents a gritty picture of Latin American children living in poverty, idealizing only their instant solidarity and not their surroundings. First-time illustrator Garay's intriguing combination of paint and cross-hatching is theatrical, posed and yet honest, akin in its tone and scope to the work of Diego Rivera. In both these masterly illustrations and in Hughes's (Hunter in the Dark) text, the children are dignified and even heroic in their self-reliance. A bittersweet, well-crafted story, it gently opens eyes to the very different lives children lead. Ages 5-8. (Mar.)
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