WindfallBook - 2011
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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.
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.
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