eBook - 2011
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Thirteen-year-old Liza, grieving the loss of a local homeless man and her family's apple tree, seeks healing through gardening.
Publisher: Victoria, BC : Orca Book Publishers, 2011.
ISBN: 9781554698516
Branch Call Number: Internet Access
Characteristics: 1 online resource.


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Summary
Sep 27, 2012

A sweet short novel about dealing with loss, many different types of loss as it be in this book. Liza a young girl and her two younger brothers are called into their mothers room early one morning to be told that Richard is dead. Richard was the homeless person that sat on the bench in the park that they walked by everyday on their way to school. He was a friendly and nice man, never asking for anything, but who taught many people many things inadvertently. That evening Liza and her friend sit in the apple tree in Liza’s backyard only to have the tree house fall from the tree with the two of them in it. Before Liza knew it things were falling apart all around her. She did not know how to deal with Richard’s death and was suddenly angry at him at his funeral and was confused by how others acted or reacted to his death and funeral. She often wondered why no one was sad or angry and seemed to go about their normal lives to quickly. With the family apple tree she was upset at the news that it had to be taken down due to it being sick. She felt so lost. She ended up talking with the minister that was at Richard’s funeral and found out about need and necessity and hunger. How we should give what we have if we don’t need it, that is why he put out boxes of apples from his tree for everyone to enjoy as he could not eat or use them all on his own. Liza learned from the Imogen, the arborist, that there were guerilla gardeners everywhere turning unused soil and land into flower gardens or food gardens all over Vancouver and the world. Imogen took Liza around with her to show her gardeners and how they kept the world sustainable. Liza empowered by these people and her losses needed to do something, but what she was not sure. Sitting in class one day she saw the school groundskeeper digging up the ground, she later found and asked him what he was doing, he advised that the grass was overtaken by weeds that he could not get under control so he had to dig up the ground and was going to reseed it with grass soon again. Liza had the sudden idea to be a guerilla gardener, but needed to ask GRRR!, Girls for Renewable Resources Really!, and BRRR!, Boys for Renewable Resources Really!, for help. With the help of Imogen and the two groups they set to work on the garden late one night. The next morning her mother got a call from the principle and wanted a meeting with everyone that was involved. Liza and the groups stood by their decision, even though they were refused permission, tv crews and newspapers came to cover the story. The school board called the principle to advise the trees and garden were to stay, but everyone had to help out with it. Liza had finally been able to do more than just for herself, she was helping others and teaching as well. She felt better about the apple tree, and about Richard’s death, she found a way to cope with losing both.

Norwhale97 Feb 10, 2012

Life is full of challenges for thirteen-year-old Liza. She is already having trouble coping with the death of a local homeless man when she learns that her family's apple tree will need to be chopped down. If that wasn't enough, the new principal at school keeps blocking her attempts for a positive outlet by refusing permission for every project that GRRR! (Girls for Renewable Resources, Really!) and BRRR! (Boys for Renewable Resources, Really!) proposes. Liza starts to feel like she needs to create change in her world without seeking permission. When she chooses the school grounds as the site for her latest endeavor, she may have gone too far.


Add a Comment
Sep 27, 2012

I thought this was a sweet novel about loss on different levels and the courage to stand up and do something right not only for yourself but for the environment as well. Everyone deals with death in a different way and having the garden and apple trees available for all helped her deal with the deaths in her life. Sometimes doing the right things means doing something wrong to get the right thing done. We must remember that, to stand up for what we believe in and to do whatever it takes. In this case standing up for the environment and using gardening as a way of healing.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at EPL

To Top