Lily's Victory Garden
written by Helen L. Wilbur; illustrated by Robert Gantt Steele
(Sleeping Bear Press) 2010
Source: Mebane Public Library
Lily and her brother Jack spend Saturdays collecting tin cans and scrap for the war effort. The last house they collect from is the Bishop's house. Jack tells Lily that the Bishops were the first family to lose a son in the war. This explains why the Bishop's once glorious garden has been left alone. Mrs. Bishop no longer goes outside to tend to it. One evening, while reading the newspaper with her father, Lily discovers that the mayor has decided to turn Town Park into a Victory Garden to help with the war effort. Unfortunately, Lily is not old enough to tend to one of the Victory Garden plots. Undeterred, Lily decides to approach the Bishops about using part of their yard. What follows is an unexpected friendship and a lesson of healing.
Lily is a kid that is determined and willing to work to help others. These are great traits to share with students. I also like the setting of World War II to show students how citizens can sacrifice for a greater cause. The back matter of this book is a nice complement to a sweet story. Lily's Victory Garden would also be a good text to model how stories are constructed. There is a nice arc to this book and that makes it a handy text for teaching parts of a story to older students.
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