Review of the Week

FarmerWillMartin, Jacqueline Briggs. Farmer Will Allen and the Growing Table.  Eric-Shabazz Larkin, Illus. Non-fiction.  Readers to Eaters, 2013. [32]p. $17.95.  978-0-9836615-3-5.  OUTSTANDING. GRADES 2-6.

Will Allen deserves this compelling biography so aptly rendered by author Jacqueline Briggs Martin (Snowflake Bentley; Houghton, 1993) and illustrator
Eric-Shabazz Larkin’s ink and pen artistry. Allen’s early life had no car or television but plenty of home-grown food and laughter. After a successful career in basketball (in Belgium!), his desire for fresh food for everyone, even city-bound folks like his neighbors in Milwaukee, drove him to establish Growing Power, a city farm that also assists urban farmers worldwide, and garnered him a MacArthur Genius Award in 2008. The use of questions (e.g., “But how could Will farm in the middle of pavement and parking lots?”) and of large colorful fonts to emphasize key phrases (e.g., Fish. Water. Sprouts. Farm Machine) provide a conversational tone that is further brought to life by thoughtful and vibrant illustrations of multicultural communities and the
nutritious foods they are growing. An afterword from Allen about good food and good farming, an author’s note about the power of one person to affect so much change, and a current, concise list of resources finish off this inspiring story. Readers to Eaters Books has another winning title on their hands.

Becca Todd, Berkeley USD

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