Harlem Grown- a Review by Allison

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Harlem Grown

By Tony Hillery

Children’s Gardening/Non- Fiction

Simon and Schuster

August 18, 2020

40 pages

I first saw this story on the Humans of NY page on Instagram a few weeks ago.  It pulled at my heart so strongly that I immediately ordered the book on Amazon.

“Harlem Grown” is about PS 175 elementary school in New York that built a garden. Tony Hillery began volunteering at the elementary school in Harlem after he lost his limo business due to the financial crisis.  While there, he saw a need for change when he realized the children in that area had little to no healthy food to eat. In an area of 55 fast food restaurants and no supermarkets, many of the children were living in homeless shelters, their diets consisting mostly of highly processed foods. With the help of the children, Tony began cleaning up the old, abandoned community garden across the street from the school and planting seedlings. Each day, the children would tend to “their” garden, learning about different vegetables, fruits, plants and insects. In time, the old, abandoned patch of land grew into a beautiful garden. Harlem Grown (@harlemgrown) has grown to 12 urban gardens and they have gifted over 6,000 pounds of organically grown food to the community, free of charge!

This book is a beautiful tribute to the hard work and dedication Tony and the children at PS 175 put into creating this garden. The illustrations by Jessie Hartland are magical; just absolutely beautiful.  A must read for all littles!  The author includes tips on starting your own garden as well and the proceeds from book sales go directly back to Harlem Grown.

Grow on, Tony!

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