My Penworthy Pick is Farmer Will Allen and the Growing Table, by Caldecott Medal winner Jacqueline Briggs Martin. This large format picture book tells the compelling story of former professional basketball player-turned-farmer Will Allen. Growing up, Will helped his family grow healthy food for their dinner table. They had no car or TV, but always entertained friends and family with great food and fellowship. Will eventually settled in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he began his dream of teaching the world how to become urban farmers with some help from his secret recipe of compost and red wiggler worms. The result was Growing Power, Milwaukee's only urban farm. Will achieved his goal and was awarded a MacArthur "Genius Grant" in 2008 and the Theodore Roosevelt Award, the highest honor given by the National Collegiate Athletic Association, in 2012.
The story of Mr. Allen's passion for helping others is an engaging and truly motivational account of a great role model. The bright illustrations and spare, engaging text capture his enthusiasm for bringing good food to every table. This title would make a great prompt for discussions about healthy food, community, and social justice. A note from Mr. Allen himself and a list of resources to help young readers start their own gardens are included.
By Jim Huebner, Penworthy Sales Representative
Penworthy works with schools and libraries across the country to provide Penworthy Prebound Books, library bound books, board books, and puppets.