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The Gardener portrays the journey of Lydia Grace Finch who is sent off to live with her Uncle Jim because her father has lost his job. Lydia brings with her a suitcase full of seeds to the big, gray city and gradually transforms her uncle’s shop by growing flowers. Brightening the shop, she brings smiles to customers' faces with the flowers she grows. Wanting to do something special for her uncle, Lydia secretly plants a rooftop garden. The story relays the message of the impact one small individual can make. The issue of recycling and reusing is also explored as Lydia plants seeds in various teacups and containers.
The Gardener could be used to explore a variety of environmental and citizenship issues such as appreciating the natural world, community building and recycling. The book reminds us all that one person, no matter how small, can indeed make a difference.
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