Me, Toma and the Concrete Garden

Wow! Today's book is the tenth and final book from the Blue Spruce category in the Forest of Reading program and is read by the author himself! Me, Toma and the Concrete Garden is written by Andrew Larsen and illustrated by Anne Villeneuve, published by Kids Can Press. I am really enjoying these author readings, it is a real treat to hear an author read their book!

Me, Toma and the Concrete Garden is a story of summer, friendship and how a garden changes a community, three things that are close to my heart! I hope you enjoy this story as much as I did!

As always, once you have listened to the story there are some discussion questions below to get you thinking about the story and a few activities that you can do at home. If you are interested in participating in the Forest of Reading; voting is still open, you can find recordings of all the Blue Spruce books here, when you are ready to vote fill out the tracking form here.

Thank your for participating! I would love to know what you think of this program as well as your suggestions for improving this program. We miss being able to ask you after the program. If you have a few minutes to fill out a brief survey, your feedback would be greatly appreciated! To fill out the survey click here.

Enjoy the story and activities! Have a great week!

Discussion Questions

1. Did Vincent (the main character) think dirt balls were a nice present from a secret admirer at the beginning of the story? Do you think he feels the same at the end of the story?

2. What was in the dirt balls that made them so special?

3. How do the seed balls change the people who live near the vacant lot in the story?

4. What kinds of things do Toma and Vincent like to do during the summer? What are you looking forward to doing this summer?

Extended Learning Ideas:

1. Go for a flower walk! April showers bring May flowers, have a look to see what flowers are blooming in the forest, gardens or vacant property near you. Some of the flowers you find will be wildflowers; if you want to identify wildflowers, this website has a great list of which wildflowers are likely blooming right now in Northern Ontario, and lots of pictures to help you identify any wildflowers you find. If you want to identify garden plants there are a number of apps you can download to your smart phone that allow you to take a picture and then app will try to match the image.

2. Make dirt balls! Just like in the story, you can make dirt balls. You will need some soil, modeling clay and seeds. Follow the directions the author gives in the video above. Then spread some flowers!

3. Plant some seeds! It's a great time to start some seeds indoors so that you can plant them outside when the weather is warmer. If you use a clear plastic container you might be able to see the roots grow down into the dirt as well as how the shoots sprout from the seed. Some of my favourite seeds to start indoors are sunflowers, beans and any kind of sprout (like alfalfa) - then you can eat them! Keep your planted seeds in a warm sunny location for best results.

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