cover image The Forgiveness Garden

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.)