Monday, 30 April 2007

FBA-Fabulous Book Alert!

The Ugly Vegetables. Grace Lin; Talewinds: Watertown, MA, 1999.

My students and I simply loved this book as part of our plant unit! The main character, a Chinese-American girl who is really Grace Lin as a child, helps her mother plant the garden but notices that all her neighbors have colorful flowers growing while her mother's garden is filled with only ugly green vegetables. However, when it's harvest time, her mother uses the vegetables to make a soup that has the neighbors following their noses to get a taste, and it turns into a sharing garden the following year with everyone growing both flowers and Chinese vegetables. Ms. Lin gracefully weaves cultural pride into the pages by making something that is "different" become wonderful and something others wish to be a part of.

Check out Grace Lin's website at She has links to lesson ideas for her books (including a script for the Ugly Vegetables) and a section called Behind the Story that tells of why she wrote the book. I love when kids get a glimpse into the connections between authors and their own small moment stories in life.

Sidenote: I'm working on coming up with a catchy name for books I want to recommend to teachers in their classrooms next year when I'm a librarian. Hence, FBA (pronounced feeba maybe?). Not sure about it--open to suggestions...

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