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Grow : a novel in verse
Juanita Havill
Children's Fiction HAVILL

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Reminiscent of Paul Fleischman's Seedfolks, this novel in verse shows how an inner-city community garden brings neighbors together. A series of poems written from the perspective of a 12-year-old girl, Kate, traces the evolution of a littered vacant lot into the pride of the neighborhood. The transformation requires hard work, mostly from Berneetha, a retired teacher and dedicated gardener ("She's big./ She's round./ There's a lot of her" and she shows up to reclaim the plot "looking like the Fourth of July/ and it barely being May"). Others, touched by Barneetha's efforts, help, too, among them Harlan (at first Kate sees him as a "graffiti gangsta"), whose abusive father almost runs him down in his low-rider truck (and hits Berneetha's cat instead); Dr. Arockiasamy from the neighborhood clinic (" `Call me Chitra,' she says,/ surprising me, but why?/ Did I think her first name was `doctor'?"), and a firefighter who comes up with a solution when the land is designated to become a parking garage. While the trajectory of Havill's (Jamaica's Find) plot is familiar, the target audience will hear the freshness in Kate's voice as she delivers a message of hope and resilience. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 8-12. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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more titles about

main characters Berneetha
Wants to make a garden for the neighborhood; community starts to support them after being skeptical; tries to stop a parking lot from being built on their garden.

Kate Sibley
Wants to help Berneetha with her project; community starts to support them after being skeptical; tries to stop a parking lot from being built on their garden.

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