Toña loves to listen to her Abuela’s stories about when she was a young girl. When her grandmother remembers planting a vegetable garden “on my own little square patch of land,” Toña wishes she too could have her very own garden. Their apartment building is surrounded by cement, but Abuela reminds her that it only takes a small patch of land to grow tomatoes or squash and even carrots. And soon, they have a plan!
First, they speak to Father Anselmo about a weed-filled lot behind the church. He likes the idea of beautiful green plants instead of weeds, and fresh vegetables sound delicious too! With help from her family, Toña yanks out the weeds and plants rows of vegetables. Each day after school, she and Abuela water the seedlings and pull out weeds that have sneaked in between the plants. In a few weeks, “the garden was green with lacy carrot tops in a row, vines of squash curling on the ground and bushy green tomato plants.”
Toña loves the garden, but feels sad for all the children who walk by and wish they had a garden of their very own, too. Then her grandmother’s quilt gives Toña an idea. Together they find little plots of land all around the neighborhood for the other children, and soon the community is full of small garden patches that remind Toña of Abuela’s patchwork quilt. Brightly hued illustrations depict a cityscape full of multiple generations working towards a common goal in this inspiring bilingual picture book.
About the author & illustrator:
Diane De Anda is the author of three bilingual picture books for children, A Day without Sugar / Un día sin azúcar (Piñata Books, 2012), Kikirikí / Quiquiriquí (Piñata Books, 2004) and Dancing Miranda / Baila, Miranda, baila (Piñata Books, 2001), and three collections of short fiction for young readers: The Monster in the Mattress and Other Stories / El monstruo en el colchón y otros cuentos (Piñata Books, 2011), The Ice Dove and Other Stories (Piñata Books, 1997) and The Immortal Rooster and Other Stories (Piñata Books, 1999). A professor at UCLA for almost 30 years, she is the author of numerous articles and non-fiction books. She lives and works in Southern California.
Oksana Kemarskaya, a native of Ukraine, has illustrated numerous books for children, including Planet Earth Projects (Dover Publications, 2011), The Legend of the Vampire (Picture Window Books, 2010) and The Secret Lives of Plants! (Capstone Press, 2012). She lives and works in Canada.