A Handful of Seeds


32 pages
ISBN 1-895555-27-2
DDC jC813'.54





Illustrations by Luis Garay
Reviewed by Patricia Morley

Patricia Morley is professor emeritus of English and Canadian studies at
Concordia University and the author of Margaret Laurence: The Long
Journey Home and As Though Life Mattered: Leo Kennedy’s Story.


A Handful of Seeds is an inspiring tale in which a harsh struggle for
survival meets with modest success, and generosity overcomes suspicion.

Set in the rural suburbs and shanty towns of an unnamed South American
country, with text and paintings perfectly partnered, the story concerns
a young girl whose vegetable garden offers hope and a practical solution
to hunger and poverty. Concepcion is doubly orphaned and displaced by
the death of her grandmother, who has taught her to make a garden with
corn, beans, and chillies, and always to save seed for the next
planting. In the barrio of the nearby city, Concepcion’s first garden
is trampled in a fight between local children and police. Her second, a
group effort, survives, and she shares her seeds and her determination
with other children.

Monica Hughes is a prize-winning author of books for children and young
adults. Luis Garay, from Nicaragua, has exhibited his colorful paintings
in Canada and Central America, but A Handful of Seeds is his first
picture book.

Both writer and illustrator achieve simplicity without being
simplistic. They convey something of the harsh realities of poverty for
millions of street children worldwide together with a message of hope
and sharing. A Handful of Seeds is published in collaboration with
UNICEF Canada. Highly recommended.


Hughes, Monica., “A Handful of Seeds,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 24, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/20538.