A Child’s Garden: a story of hope by Michael Foreman
This story of a child’s world reduced to rubble and devastation is one that will ring true with children of war, and ring warning bells with children who have not witnessed it. A young boy lives in ruins, separated from the green hills he loves by a fence. In the rubble, he discovers a shoot of green which he nurtures. It becomes a grapevine that covers the barbed wire fence, bringing butterflies and birds, and sheltering shade. The soldiers tear down the vine, leaving it dead. It isn’t until the next spring that the boy sees green sprouts on the other side of the fence and a little girl tending them. Then green sprouts appear on his side of the fence, where both vines grow to cover the fence in between.
Told simply and with great respect, this slim picture book manages to evoke hope, growth, change and community. Using imagery to make his case about war, Foreman has created a book that is accessible and profound. What a great image of green vine covering stark wire, life absorbing death, connection replacing coercion. At the same time, it can be read by small children as a vine, and a vine alone without losing much of its power and statement.
Perfect for discussing peace and community with classes, this book naturally starts dialogue and questions about the world, our own prosperity, and violence. Appropriate for ages 4-7.