The Forgiveness Garden

Lauren Thompson, illus. by Christy Hale. Feiwel and Friends, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-312-62599-3
Two fictional warring villages, Vayam and Gamte, sit across a stream from each other. When a Gamte boy named Karune throws a rock and injures a Vayam girl, revenge is expected. But the girl, Sama, forgives her attacker and uses rocks to begin building a garden the two communities can share. Thompson’s (the Little Quack series) allegorical tale, inspired by a real Garden of Forgiveness in Lebanon and an educational movement of the same name, comes to life in Hale’s (The East-West House) stylized collages. The browns, grays, and fiery pinks of the initial pages give way to softer pastels; the final spread shows Sama and Karune in silhouette sitting on the garden wall, surrounded by flowers. The closing sentence, “What do you think they said?” offers a good jumping-off place for discussions about conflict. The distinct people and place names have their origin in ancient Sanskrit; e.g., Sama derives from the word for forgiveness. A concise, potent read that imparts the message that violence need not result in more of the same and that it only takes one person to effect that change. Ages 4–6. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/08/2012
Release date: 10/30/2012
Genre: Children's
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