A nameless little girl living in the heart of the city and accompanied by her faithful stuffed panda bear finds beauty where others hurry by. She nurtures a seedling, first in a tin can, and then outside, until she has to “leave for a while.” She leaves in charge the only person she can trust to lovingly care for the garden: her bear, but not before filling him with “snuggles and cuddles.” In her absence, the garden blossoms and grows—thanks to the help of her community, who, noticing her garden, begin slowing down and stepping in to create a space to grow, play, and love. The impact of the story is magnified by the inclusion of a short Author’s Note informing readers that The Bear’s Garden is inspired by actual events, including an abandoned teddy bear that helped inspire a community garden. The descriptive text is full of imagery (“the girl’s imagination spilled onto the sidewalk, rolled across the street, and sprouted”) and a soft-touch of humor (“She thought maybe she could whisper ‘I believe in you’ from far away, but she didn’t have enough string”) that weave together to create a heartfelt story. All throughout—and even in the endpapers—the illustrations add layers of meaning and understanding to the story with well-chosen details, from the bear’s slight facial expressions and the little girl’s singular pajama appearance, to the love-inspired, bear-face graffiti location marker.
The “Thoughtful Citizen” badge is awarded to recognize exceptional books that promote exemplary citizenship.
"This tale of urban renewal shows how one person with an imagination, a little dirt, and a few seeds can transform a concrete village into something beautiful."
Marcie Colleen is a former classroom teacher turned children’s book author. She is the author of THE SUPER HAPPY PARTY BEARS chapter book series with Macmillan/Imprint, as well her debut picture book, Love, Triangle, illustrated by Bob Shea (Balzer+Bray/HarperCollins), and Penguinaut!, illustrated by Emma Yarlett. Marcie is an expert on creating highly acclaimed Teacher’s Guides that align picture books and middle grade novels with the Common Core and state mandated standards. She is the Education Consultant for Picture Book Month and the Curriculum Developer for Time Traveler Tours &amp;amp; Tales. She is a frequent presenter at conferences for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, as well as a faculty member for Kidlit Writing School, San Diego Writer’s Ink, and the University of California San Diego Extension. Her educational work in children’s literature has been recognized by School Library Journal, Publisher’s Weekly, and the Children’s Book Council. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Education of English and Language Arts from Oswego State University and a master’s degree in Educational Theater from New York University. Although she will always be a Brooklynite at heart, Marcie lives in San Diego, California with her husband—artist Jonathan Lopes—and their mischievous sock monkey.
Alison’s portfolio reflects her love of drawing, pattern and color. Her work includes everything from logos to packaging and product design. She is also the illustrator of the bestselling BabyLit board books which introduce children to classic literature.
Nothing yet! Let Marcie Colleen know that you want to hear from them about their book.
Nothing yet! Let Alison Oliver know that you want to hear from them about their book.
So, SO close to perfection!
Just the barebones.
Are you the author or illustrator? Claim your book.