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Book review: ‘Harlem Grown’
January 6, 2023

By William Rowen Healthy Roar reporters 

Harlem Grown

By Tony Hillery

Illustrated by Jessie Hartland

This book is about Mr. Tony Hillery, a volunteer at P.S. 175, a school in Harlem, New York City.

Mr. Tony clears out the lot across the street from the school, which Neveah, a student at P.S. 175, calls The Haunted Garden.

With Neveah’s help, Mr. Tony puts new soil down and helps the children to plant 400 seedlings. The kids water and weed the garden, but the plants don’t all grow. They try with raised garden beds and then what grows are tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, blue- berries, strawberries, collard greens, kale, basil, aru- gula. The kids take the fruits and vegetables home to their families to eat. In this book, students learned that you can turn an empty lot into a garden.

Eleven out of 19 reporters in Room 213 said they enjoyed the book. Here’s what a few reporters said:

  • “What I liked about this book is that the author told us that sometimes they made mistakes so they had to restart planting.”
  • “What I liked about it was that they included details like how many seedlings were planted and what types of foods they were growing.”
  • “What I didn’t like about the book was the art style. I would have liked it better if they used bolder colors and didn’t use circles for heads.”
  • “What I don’t like about the book is that it’s too short. I would like to have more of the story.”

We recommend this book for children in grades K- 2 because the sentences are simple, and it feels like it would be better for younger children.

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