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This Week’s Reviews

Love Drones
Noam Dorr | Sarabande Books | 9781946448385 | July 2019
“Com­plex and thick with won­der and curios­i­ty.”—Jewish Book Council

Love Drones makes us reconsider what we take for granted and reveals new networks of communication — geopolitical, emotional, and aesthetic.”—Full Stop

Acting Out!: Avoid Behavior Challenged with Active Learning Games and Activities
Rae Pica | Redleaf Press | 9781605546964 | November 2019

“Research based, insightful, and accessible, Rae Pica’s newest professional development book is essential for teachers who want to understand, practice, and share the principles behind active learning.”—Texas Child Care Quarterly

Action in the Orchards
Fred Schmalz | Nightboat Books | 9781937658984 | April 2019
“The strength of Schmalz works lays in his willingness to conceal or reveal the source material. This frees the poems from the sources while not always detaching them from a tether to meaning. He approaches ekphrasis with nimbleness that serves the work and the reader well.”— Your Impossible Voice

Beautiful Aliens
Steve Abbott, edit. Jamie Townsend | Nightboat Books | 9781643620152 | December 2019
“When Steve Abbott drove his VW bug over the Golden Gate Bridge into San Francisco in the summer of 1974, there was a palpable queer energy, like a hot wire, running through the City by the Bay. . . . Beautiful Aliens is a selection of Abbott’s essays, fiction, poems, and poetry cartoons, illustrating Abbott’s creative range and versatility.”—The Gay & Lesbian Review

The Road to Urbino
Roma Tearne | Gallic Books/Aardvark Bureau | 9781910709481 | January 2020
The Road to Urbino is an original literary experience that begs consumption in moments of quiet relaxation in which it may fully cast its spell—and it will cast that spell.”—Foreword Reviews

Sketch Every Day
Simone Grünewald | 3DTotal Publishing | 9781909414907 | November 2019
“The text is clear, concise, easy to follow, and written in an engaging and accessible manner. I really enjoyed reading about her career, on how she started out, progress, develop her style and going into freelance. This is a great book for those who want to start drawing, or draw more consistently.”—Parka Blogs

Creating Characters for the Entertainment Industry
Keith Anderson | 3DTotal Publishing |
9781909414860 | August 2019
“[The tutorials are] a fascinating chance to look at what goes into designing the same character for different platforms and how these subtle changes help them to achieve unique goals. And as well as being useful artistically, these tutorials elegantly show how to tackle the various feedback hurdles you’re likely to encounter when working as a pro.”—ImagineFX Magazine

Rodrigo Márquez Tizano, trans. Thomas Bunstead | Coffee House Press 9781566895637 | November 2019
“A taut novel, with lyrical prose.”—World Literature Today

From the Shadows
Juan José Millás, trans. Thomas Bunstead and Daniel Hahn | Bellevue Literary Press | 9781942658665 | August 2019
“A seductive narrator, brisk dialogue, and a unique claustrophobic setting contribute to a distinctive blend of Kafka’s surrealism and Pirandello’s absurdism. The slim novel is a quick, riveting read.”—World Literature Today

Seven Samurai Swept Away in a River
Jung Young Moon, trans. Yewon Jung | Deep Vellum Publishing | 9781941920855 | December 2019

“A free-floating thought experiment with loads of laughs.”—Cyn’s Workshop

Honey, I Killed the Cats
Dorota Maslowska, trans. Benjamin Paloff | Deep Vellum Publishing | 9781941920824 | October 2019

“Masłowska is able to explore the psychological impact of living in the nightmarish hypercapitalist system she has created—a terrifying fun-house take on our own—with moving depth and precision.”—World Literature Today

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This Week’s News

The “mighty” Fat, Pretty, and Soon to be Old by Kimberly Dark was recommended by the Advocate on January 2.

Big Other published their most anticipated books of 2020 list on January 3. It included Your New Feeling Is the Artifact of a Bygone Era by Chad Bennett (Sarabande Books), Bit Tyrants by Rob Larson (Haymarket Books), A Nail the Evening Hangs On by Monica Sok (Copper Canyon Press), Pain Studies by Lisa Olstein (Bellevue Literary Press), Social Poetics by Mark Nowak (Coffee House Press), Repetition Nineteen by Monica de la Torre (Nightboat Books), The Malevolent Volume by Justin Phillip Reed (Coffee House Press), Rue by Kathryn Nuernberger (BOA Edition), DMZ Colony by Don Mee Choi (Wave), The Sky Contains the Plans by Matthew Rohrer (Wave Books), Obit by Victoria Chang (Copper Canyon Press), Apsara Engine by Bishakh Som (The Feminist Press at CUNY), Year of the Dog by Deborah Paredez (BOA Editions), Shrapnel Maps by Philip Metres (Copper Canyon Press).

School Library Journal recommended Comics: Easy as ABC by Ivan Brunetti (TOON Books/TOON Graphics) in a December 27 roundup of nonfiction picture books. It also recommended The White Snake by Ben Nadler (TOON Books/TOON Graphics) in two roundups of fairytales, folktales, and religious tales on December 14 and unconventional children books on December 25.

An excerpt from Ways to Go Beyond and Why They Work by Rupert Sheldrake (Monkfish Book Publishing) and an article by Tirzah Firestone (Wounds into Wisdom, Monkfish Book Publishing) appeared in the December/February Edition of Common Ground Magazine. Firestone was also interviewed on the Dr. Pat Show on January 6.

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This Week’s Reviews

The Cursed Hermit
Kris Bertin, Alexander Forbes | Conundrum Press | 9781772620306 | December 2019
“Bertin and Forbes play their influences deftly, incorporating them into a work that feels wholly original.”—Portland Mercury
“Every page pays off and the story is still gripping.”—Toronto Star

What I Knew
Eleni Sikelianos | Nightboat Books | 9781937658991 | May 2019

What I Knew is a long poem of the glocal. Entangling the personal with worlding language, this book explores the dreamy, private, and mysterious shelters of poetry from public bombardments, search engine algorithms, violent news headlines, and mass media.”—Jacket2

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This Week’s News

If you still need a gift for someone this season, Rupture Magazine shared a holiday gift guide in its December issue that included The Breakbeat Poets Volume 3 edited by Fatimah Asghar and Safia Elhillo, Build Yourself a Boat by Camonghne Felix (Haymarket Books), Feast Day of the Cannibals by Norman Lock (Bellevue Literary Press), Make/Shift by Joe Sacksteder (Sarabande Books), Monsters I Have Been by Kenji C. Liu (Alice James Books), and This Wicked Tongue by Elise Levine (Biblioasis).

Trisha Low, author of Socialist Realism, and Myriam Gurba, author of Mean (both Coffee House Press), recommended books for Vogue Magazine on December 23.

On December 18, Asymptote Journal talked to Denise Newman about her work translating When Death Takes Something from You, Take it Back by Naja Marie Aidt (Coffee House Press).

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This Week’s News

Gar Anthony Haywood, author of Good Man Gone Bad (Prospect Park Books), wrote an essay for CrimeReads on December 11. Alison Moore, author of He Wants (Biblioasis), also contributed an essay on December 16.

An excerpt from Rough Road to the North by Jim Christy, reiussed by Feral House this year, was published in Literary Hub on December 13. 

A poem by Hai-Deng Phan, “Initial Encounter with Locals,” from her collection Reenactments (Sarabande Books) was feautred on Tracy K. Smith’s The Slowdown Show on December 12.

A new poem by Dorothea Lasky, author of Animal (Wave Books) was published in the New Yorker on December 12.

Charles Phoenix, author of Holiday Jubilee (Prospect Park Books), was on Cincinnati Public Radio WVXU on December 13.

Caroline Bergvall, author of Alisoun Sings (Nightboat Books) was interviewed in BOMB Magazine on December 13.

Bluets by Maggie Nelson (Wave Books) was recommended in a W Magazine shopping guide on December 6 celebrating the Pantone Color of the Year, Classic Blue.

The LAist included two Prospect Park Books cookbooks, L.A. Mexicano by Bill Esparza with photographs by Staci Valentine, and The Urban Forager by Elisa Callow with photographs by Ann Elliott Cutting in a list of essential L.A. cookbooks on December 11.

Jillian Weise, author of Cyborg Detective (BOA Editions), was interviewed in the December-January issue of Brooklyn Rail.

Milwaukee Noir edited by Tim Hennessy (Akashic Books) was recommended in a list of Boswell Book Company’s best gift tiles for the holidays from WUWM 89.7 Milwaukee, WI.

The January issue of Spirit Seeker Magazine will run an excerpt from The Book of Householder Koans by Eve Myonen Marko and Wendy Egyoku Nakao (Monkfish Book Publishing).

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This Week’s Reviews

Bush Runner: The Adventures of Pierre-Esprit Radisson
Mark Bourrie | Biblioasis | 9781771962377 | June 2019

“An incredible, head-spinning tale. . . . An engaging biography of this ‘eager hustler with no known scruples.”—Star Tribune

Rodrigo Márquez Tizano, trans. Thomas Bunstead | Coffee House Press | 9781566895637 | November 2019
“The rewards that come from reading Jakarta are manifold. . . . This is Tizano’s first novel, ably translated by Thomas Bunstead, but he has the boldness of someone who’s been at it for decades. It’s the beginning of a promising literary career. ”—Star Tribune

Reading Quirks
Andrés de la Casa Huertas and Javier García del Moral, illus. Laura Pacheco | Deep Vellum Publishing | 9781941920893 | December 2019
“A lighthearted collection of cartoons about the kinds of strange little habits common among those who love to read.”—Dallas Morning News

The Fourth String: A Memoir of Sensei and Me
Janet Pocorobba | Stone Bridge Press | 9781611720464 | March 2019
“Sometimes Janet and Sensei argue, sometimes Sensei favors other students over Janet, but each encounter offers a little more insight into music, Japanese culture, and into Janet herself.”—Education About Asia

The Aosawa Murders
Riku Onda, trans. Alison Watts | Bitter Lemon Press | 9781912242245 | February 2020 
“Author Onda’s masterpiece  is so filled with observations on the human condition that smitten readers might be tempted to tear out and frame certain pages —or at least copy them down.”—Mystery Scene Magazine

Mare Nostrum
Khaled Mattawa | Sarabande Books | 9781946448361 | August 2019
“There would be easy ways to categorize this book and the poems in it. We could try political poetry or the poetry of witness. Those are fine, of course, but it is more than enough to simply think of these poems as memorable reminders of the horrors that we allow to stay on the periphery of our experience. Mattawa does not let us forget.”—Rupture Magazine

Space Struck
Paige Lewis | Sarabande Books | 9781946448446 | October 2019
“Embracing both humor and prayer, Lewis breaks barriers between nature and humanity—bringing nature into our homes, onto our front porches—while examining how every-day life is changing and what we stand to lose in a time defined by climate change.”—The Arkansas International

The Remainder
Alia Trabucco Zerán, trans. Sophie Hughes | Coffee House Press | 9781566895507 | August 2019

“Trabucco Zerán urges readers to value subtext just as much as the official narrative. . . . A smart, vivid, and richly layered story.”—Adroit Journal

The Girl Who Lost Her Shadow
Emily Ilett | Floris Books/Kelpies | 9781782506072 | February 2020
“There’s a pleasing lyricism to this Scottish import, its quietly lovely prose and magical realist elements supporting Gail’s emotional journey as she rediscovers and honors the bond between sisters.”–The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

Socialist Realism
Trisha Low | Coffee House Press | 9781566895514 | August 2019
“Like a transgressive Binx Bolling . . . she takes away equally cathartic feelings from the experimental films of Chantal Ackerman as she does from a documentary about One Direction.”—Rupture Magazine

Spiritual Rebel
Sarah Bowen | Monkfish Book Publishing | 9781948626040 | June 2019
“A spiritual guidebook for the modern-day seeker. Bowen takes the reader on a journey of finding and redefining their beliefs.”­—Reedsy

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This Week’s News

Ben Okri talked about his upcoming novel, The Freedom Artist (Akashic Books), in Publisher’s Weekly on December 6.

BookBub’s December 5 roundup of new crime novels included Gar Anthony Haywood’s Good Man Gone Bad (Prospect Park Books).

Ways to Go Beyond and Why They Work by Rupert Sheldrake (Monkfish Book Publishing) was recommended by the Edge on December 1.

Richard Powers, author of The Overstory, recommended C.D. Wright’s Casting Deep Shade (Copper Canyon Press) at on November 29.

Lucy Ellmann, author of Ducks, Newburyport (Biblioasis), was interviewed by the Adroit Journal on December 4. Denise Newman, translator of When Death Takes Something from You Give it Back (Coffee House Press) by Naja Marie Aidt, was also interviewed on December 9.

An excerpt from And the Bride Closed the Door (Ronit Matalon, trans. Jessica Cohen, New Vessel Press) was shared in Tablet Magazine on December 9.

Zoom Street’s Holiday roundup on December 8 included C’est la Vie by Pascal Garnier (Gallic Books), Baby by Annaleese Jochems (Scribe), and Cutting Edge: New Stories of Mystery and Crime edited by Joyce Carol Oates (Akashic Books).

Curdella Forbes, author of A Tall History of Sugar (Akashic Books), put together a playlist for Largehearted Boy on December 3.

Wounds into Wisdom by Tirzah Firestone was the cover feature for the December issue of Oracle 20/20 Magazine.

Animation Magazine announced on September 25 that Graham Roumieu’s In Me Own Words: The Autobiography of Bigfoot (Manic D Press) is being exclusively animated for MONDO. The trailer is available on YouTube.

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This Week’s Reviews

Reinhardt’s Garden
Mark Haber | Coffee House Press | 9781566895620 | October 2019
“Hilarious and thrilling. . . this novel may look like something new, but it reads like that timeless treat, a rollicking good yarn”—Star Tribune

A Little More Red Sun
Gillian Conoley | Nightboat Books | 9781643620114 | October 2019

“Gillian Conoley’s A Little More Red Sun on the Human uses silence, rupture, and elision to reveal grammar as one possible way of organizing thought among many.”—Los Angeles Review of Books Blog
“[Conoley’s] work encourages analysis of the meaning of our lives as humans, our place in constructed society and forced imposition on nature. The weight of our sins and choices lay heavily upon us as a collective; these poems are lights illuminating our individual responsibilities.”—Vagabond City Lit

The Death of Baseball
Orlando Ortega-Medina | Cloud Lodge Books | 9781999587352 | November 2019 
“A tight, Gothic tale of rejection, personal struggle, and acceptance.”—Foreword Reviews

Animal Sutras: Animal Spirit Stories
Stephen Levine | Monkfish Book Publishing | 9781948626064 | September 2019
“These memoirs, essays, and poems comprise an openhearted, vulnerable, sometimes apologetic, and often humorous exploration of the mystical importance of animals in the cultivation of meaning and purpose in our lives, and how they can teach us compassion and empathy.”—Creations Magazine

Creating Characters for the Entertainment Industry: Develop Spectacular Designs from Basic Concepts
Kenneth Anderson | 3dtotal Publishing | 9781909414860 | October 2019
“This is an insightful book with real world application. Great for those who want to get serious with character design.”—Park Blogs

The Aosawa MurdersRiku Onda, trans. Alison Watts | Bitter Lemon Press | 9781912242245 | February 2020 
“This is a splendid work of fiction with a fascinating plot by a very careful and talented writer.”—Durango Telegraph
“Riveting. . . . The Aosawa Murders is an intricate and devastating search for the facts behind a complicated crime.”—Foreword Reviews

Whose Story Is This? : Old Conflicts, New Chapters
Rebecca Solnit | Haymarket Books | 9781642590180 | September 2019
“A thought-provoking and accessible exploration of the roles social and cultural narratives play in our thinking about gender, race, history and more.”—Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Step into the Circle : Writers in Modern Appalachia
Edit. Amy Greene and Trent Thomson | Blair | 9781949467123 | December 2019

“With Step into the Circle, editors Amy Greene and Trent Thomson present their own nuanced vision, bringing together Appalachian writers and photographers to profile some of the region’s most beloved literary forces. . . . Generosity of spirit permeates this book, owing to the deep respect these profilers show for their subjects.”—Chapter 16

Beautiful Aliens
Steve Abbott, edit. Jamie Townsend | Nightboat Books | 9781643620152 | December 2019
“Whatever his genre—prose, poetry, or comics—Abbott wrote from the margins, a position inseparable from his own queerness, and one that gave political and moral credence to his work. As one of the key figures of New Narrative, he was at the center of a West Coast literary uprising that saw little distinction between writing and socializing; both connect the messy lone consciousness to the rest of the world.”—4Columns

When I Arrived at the Castle
Emily Carroll | Koyama Press | 9781927668689 | April 2019
“I loved the mix of familiar horror tropes, dramatic art and feminist themes in this graphic novella, and look forward to Carroll’s next work.”—Geist

Song for the Unraveling of the World
Brian Evenson | Coffee House Press | 9781566895484 | June 2019
“[Evenson’s prose is] coldly beautiful, like a meticulously sketched fractal pattern.”—Rain Taxi

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This Week’s Awards

Daniel Saldaña París, author of Among Strange Victims (trans. Christina MacSweeney, Coffee House Press) won the 2019 Eccles Center and Hay Festival Writer’s Award on November 25.

Sophie Hughes (translator of The Remainder by Alia Trabucco Zerán, Coffee House Pres), Iain Gailbraith (translator of The River by Esther Kinsky, Transit Books), translator Sarah Booker and editor Lauren Rosemary Hook (The Iliac Crest by Cristina Rivera Garza, The Feminist Press at CUNY), translator Charlotte Whittle and editor Bella Bosworth (People in the Room by Norah Langé, And Other Stories), Charlotte Coombe (Fish Soup by Margarita García Robayo, Charco Press), Nancy Forest-Flier (The Story of Shit by Midas Dekkers, Text Publishing) were shortlisted for several awards from the Society of Authors’s 2019 Translation Prize on December 1.

Resistance by Julián Fuks (trans. Daniel Hahn, Charco Press) won the 2019 Jabuti Award.

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This Week’s Reviews

Doomstead Days
Brian Teare | Nightboat Books | 9781643620022 | April 2019
“Teare’s poetry matters for the depth of what it can bring to sensual life. Readers will be grateful to encounter our neurotic, medication-swollen, late-capitalist mess of an era alongside a sensibility so evocative and intense.”—Full Stop

The Remainder
Alia Trabucco Zerán, trans. Sophie Hughes | Coffee House Press | 9781566895507 | August 2019
“A haunted novel, awash with sinister and elegiac moods. It stands as a testament to the way the past can unsettle us.”—Star Tribune

Rodrigo Márquez Tizano, trans. Thomas Bunstead | Coffee House Press | 9781566895637 | November 2019
“Superb. . . this novel signals the arrival of a unique, important voice on the American literary landscape.”—Southwest Review

GG | Koyama Press | 9781927668726 | January 2020
GG is a master of the graphic short story.”—PopMatters

Further Up the Path
Daniel Oz, trans. Jessica Coehn | BOA Editions | 9781942683933 | November 2019

“The reader can tease out multiple meanings or simply enjoy the uncommon flow of Oz’s imagery. There are no moral lessons here, as in many classic fables; these can be dark stories, not for children. Oz looks at them not as riddles that have answers but as open questions.” – The Jewish Week

And the Bride Closed the Door
Ronit Matalon, trans. Jessica Cohen | New Vessel Press | 9781939931757 | October 2019
“A riotous satire of wedding-day jitters. Look deeper and it can also stand as a parable of a country divided, and most of all as an absurdist situation comedy of contemporary Israeli family life. . . . Elusive yet powerful, by turns laugh-out-loud funny and tragically sad.”—The Jewish Week

The Bishop’s Bedroom
Piero Chiara, trans. Jill Foulston | New Vessel Press | 9781939931740 | November 2019

“Gem of late 20th century Italian literature. . . . Taking an indirect approach to the thriller genre, Chiara has created a softly seductive narrative filled with nearly as many subtle mysteries as a gothic novel . . . Chiara keeps a weather eye open to larger existential questions as well as to his country’s failings, the underlying seriousness of these concerns benefits from a gentle touch. . . . The narrative also sparkles with a bemused, ironic and piquant humor.”—Seraillon
“It’s all very up-for-anything, postwar dolce vita . . . you’ll fall under the book’s pleasurable, slightly sinister spell and find satisfaction.”—Air Mail

Shaka Rising: A Legend of the Warrior Prince
Luke W. Molver | Story Press Africa | 9781946498984 | January 2018
King Shaka: Zulu Legend
Luke W. Molver | Story Press Africa | 9781946498908 | October 2019

“Imaginative, engaging, and innovative.”—Africa Access

The Love Story of the Century
Märta Tikkanen, trans. Stina Katchadourian | Deep Vellum Publishing | 9781941920930 | February 2020

“Tikkanen has chosen each word carefully to construct a sharp reality where the reader is forced to consider – to very nearly take on for themselves – these conflicting emotions which saturate a life lived with addiction.”–The Nerd Daily

The City of Light
Theodore Bikel and Aimee Ginsburg Bikel, illus. Noah Phillips | MomentBooks | 9781942134619 | December 2019

“The book is perfectly complemented by Noah Phillips’ illustrations that illuminate the story.”—Bookpleasures

Seven Samurai Swept Away in a River
Jung Young Moon, trans. Yewon Jung | Deep Vellum Publishing | 9781941920855 | December 2019

“Like little else you’ve read . . . for those who delight in language and unexpected connections between disparate concepts, there are delights aplenty to be found in this slim volume.”—The Watchlist

A Life of My Own
Donna Wilhelm | Deep Vellum Publishing | 9781941920916 | November 2019
“Donna Wilhelm’s richly detailed new memoir examines both her ‘lifelong quest for enlightenment, connection, and a sense of belonging’ and her personal journey that became full of zigzags, reinventions, and unexpected twists before she finally discovered her life’s mission.”—Lone Star Literary Review

Simon & Louise
Max de Radiguès, trans. Aleshia Jensen | Conundrum International Press | 9781772620351 | August 2019
“In de Radiguès’ cleverly constructed parallel narratives we view two worlds that are intimately connected but in this bubble of time converge only tangentially. . . . There’s an existential verisimilitude to Simon & Louise that’s so profound that it leaves us with a sense that somehow their lives and stories will continue to exist and progress somewhere off the page.”—Broken Frontier

Cyborg Detective
Jillian Weise | BOA Editions | 9781942683858 | September 2019
“Cyborg Detective looks into the past as it pushes into the future. Moving deftly between engaging with canonical authors and broken engagements, between Torah and Tinder, Weise focuses on the many ways we see the parts and not the whole and the consequences thereof.”—American Literary Review
“Jillian Weise identifies as a cyborg. Perhaps that explains her outsized wit, exceptional word skills, and confidence.”—Foreword Reviews

Scratching the Head of Chairman Mao
Jonathan Tel | Turtle Point Press | 9781885983725 | January 2020
“Deliciously tangled. . . the book experiments with form in fascinating ways.”—Foreword Reviews

Iced Out
CK Smouha, illus. Isabella Bunnell | Cicada Books | 9781908714626 | November 2019
“Warm colors brighten frigid waters in this humorous tale about standing out, fitting in, and staying cool.”—Foreword Reviews

The Boy with the Butterfly Mind
Victoria Williamson | Kelpies | 9781782506003 | November 2019
“The Boy with the Butterfly Mind is an excellent story for any young reader who has ever felt that they are the cause of their family’s problems.”—Foreword Reviews

My Big Bear, My Little Bear, and Me
Margarita del Mazo, illus. Rocio Bonilla | Kelpies | 9788417123505 | October 2019
“Audiences will follow [the little girl] footprints in the snow alongside Big Bear’s much larger ones, appreciate her sunny outlook, and hopefully recognize the osos grandes and the osos pequeños in their own lives.”—Foreword Reviews 

School Garden Curriculum
Kaci Rae Christopher | New Society Publishers | 9780865719057 | April 2019
“This book offer[s] a comprehensive approach to engaging all elementary/middle grade levels in meaningful garden tasks.”—School Garden Doctor

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