Reviews for Forgiveness Garden

Booklist Reviews 2012 November #1
Inspired by the real Garden of Forgiveness that was built in Beirut after the Lebanese Civil War that ended in 1990, this parable tells of two neighboring villages that have long been in conflict with each other. The striking collage artwork in muted tones shows silhouetted figures hurling stones at their neighbors across a river. Then the story's focus narrows to two young people. A boy, Karune, hurls a stone that hits Sama, a girl across the water, hard on the head, and she falls to the ground. The incident sparks both communities to call for revenge, and the hatred grows. But after Sama's people capture Karune and tell her to throw a stone at him, she refuses. Let us build a garden, she says, and people from both sides agree, even Karune. A final scene shows the young people together in the blossoming garden. The purposeful messages are balanced by the personal story that shows how difficult it can be to create peace, and the afterword will help kids connect news headlines with their own schoolyard standoffs. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2013 Fall
Sama is hurt by a boy from the enemy village, but she decides to end the cycle of hate by building a "forgiveness garden" instead of retaliating. Hale's mixed-media collages in a limited palette of natural colors beautifully illustrate this gentle but profound parable. An afterword addresses the Garden of Forgiveness in Lebanon and the movement to spread its peaceful message.

Kirkus Reviews 2012 September #2
Two villages separated by a stream and a history of anger wonder if they will ever stop fighting. Cleverly based on the Sanskrit words for "us" and "them" the two fictional villages of Vayam and Gamte have hated each other for a long time. One day, during a particularly violent argument, a Gamte boy named Karune throws a large stone across the stream and hits a Vayam girl named Sama on the head. The Gamte side cheers, while the Vayam side plots revenge. Karune is held captive, and the villagers give Sama the same large stone to hurl back at him. But Sama can't do it. Instead, she places the stone on the ground and suggests they use it to build a garden wall. She calls it a forgiveness garden. Peace isn't restored instantaneously; there are still many questions: "If we forgive, must we forget all that has happened?" "Must we apologize?" True to life, there are no definitive answers--just simply sit in the garden and find out. Hale's textured collages contain commonplace landscapes and silhouetted crowds, cloaking this parable in anonymity. An afterword by the Rev. Lyndon Harris explains the real Garden of Forgiveness in Beirut, Lebanon. There are many possible paths to peace, but learning forgiveness is essential to all of them, as this book demonstrates. (Picture book. 5-8) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 October #2

Two fictional warring villages, Vayam and Gamte, sit across a stream from each other. When a Gamte boy named Karune throws a rock and injures a Vayam girl, revenge is expected. But the girl, Sama, forgives her attacker and uses rocks to begin building a garden the two communities can share. Thompson's (the Little Quack series) allegorical tale, inspired by a real Garden of Forgiveness in Lebanon and an educational movement of the same name, comes to life in Hale's (The East-West House) stylized collages. The browns, grays, and fiery pinks of the initial pages give way to softer pastels; the final spread shows Sama and Karune in silhouette sitting on the garden wall, surrounded by flowers. The closing sentence, "What do you think they said?" offers a good jumping-off place for discussions about conflict. The distinct people and place names have their origin in ancient Sanskrit; e.g., Sama derives from the word for forgiveness. A concise, potent read that imparts the message that violence need not result in more of the same and that it only takes one person to effect that change. Ages 4-6. (Oct.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2012 November

Gr 2-4--This parable is based on the Garden of Forgiveness in Beirut, planted in the aftermath of the Lebanese civil war. In a valley divided by a stream, the villagers on both sides have hated one another for as long as they can remember. When a new argument arises, a Gamte boy throws a large stone across the stream and strikes a Vayam girl, leading to calls for revenge. The people on both sides are angry, fearful, and sad, and they wonder if the fighting will ever end. It is the girl, Sama, who looks at her scarred and scowling reflection and, glancing across the water at the scared and angry children on the other side, thinks, "They are just like us." She is handed a stone with which to exact her revenge against the boy, Karune, but she flings it to the ground, suggesting that stones should be used to build a "forgiveness garden" instead. Slowly a garden wall is built, but the people have questions: "If we forgive, must we forget all that has happened?" "Will [they] apologize?" When the garden is complete, Sama and Karune sit together and talk. The text ends with, "What do you think they said?" A story such as this risks being overly didactic, but the message here is softened and enhanced by the full-bleed, mutely toned collage illustrations. Richly textured in a palette of muddy browns, sandy beiges, soft blues, and healing violet, the images are simple yet powerful. This is a thought-provoking gateway into discussions about conflict, war, and, most importantly, the ability of willing souls to strive for reconciliation and forgiveness.--Teri Markson, Los Angeles Public Library

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School Library Journal Reviews 2013 February

Gr 3 Up--The villagers on two sides of a stream have hated each other for as long as anyone can remember in Thompson's parable (Feiwel & Friends, 2012), inspired by The Garden of Forgiveness in Beirut, Lebanon. When a boy named Karune, who lives on one side of the stream, throws a stone and hits Sama, a girl on the other side, the people in his village cheer and those in her village get angrier and begin planning revenge. Sama is also angry, but one day she sees her reflection in a pool and realizes how hate, fear, and anger have changed her for the worse. She begins to see the villagers across the river as people just like herself. When Karune is captured, Sama is asked to throw the first stone in revenge, but she refuses and says it's time to stop fighting and build a garden of forgiveness. A few villagers join her, and they use the stones that they used to throw across the river to build a garden wall. Karune is freed, but he's still angry and unsure what to do. Finally he steps forward and accepts Sama's invitation to talk. Barbara Rosenblat's narration is calm and expressive, letting listeners draw their own conclusions. Christy Hale's multimedia collage illustrations are muted in the beginning and the colors brighten as the garden grows. This timeless parable can be used to elicit thought-provoking discussions about conflict, forgiveness, war, and peace.--Teresa Wittmann, Westgate Elementary, Edmonds, WA

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