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Jayden’s Impossible Garden: timeless story about community and connection

Jayden’s Impossible Garden

illustrated by Ken Daley

Amidst all the buildings, people, and traffic in his neighborhood, Jayden sees nature everywhere: the squirrels scrounging, the cardinals calling, and the dandelions growing. But Mama doesn’t believe there’s nature in the city. So Jayden sets out to help Mama see what he sees. With the help of his friend Mr. Curtis, Jayden plants the seeds of a community garden and brings together his neighbors—and Mama—to show them the magic of nature in the middle of the city.

Timeless and vibrant, this story highlights the beauty of intergenerational relationships and the power of imagination and perseverance in bringing the vision of a community garden to life. Jayden’s love of nature will inspire readers to see their environment and surroundings as bursting with opportunities for growth and connection. At the back of the book, readers will find activities to make items found in the book, such as the milk jug bird feeder.

Jayden’s Impossible Garden is the winner of the 2019 African American Voices in Children’s Literature writing contest, cosponsored by Strive Publishing and Free Spirit Publishing, and the recipient of the 2021 Foreword INDIES Honorable Mention, Picture Books, Early Reader (Children's).
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Hardcover $16.99 85904 Hardcover 85904 $16.99

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ISBN: 978-1-63198-590-4
Reading Level: Grade 2
Interest Level: Ages 4–9
Guided Reading Level: M
Lexile Measure: 580L
Illustrated: color illust.
Trim Size: 10" x 10"
Page Count: 40
Praise for Jayden's Impossible Garden

“An abundance of STEAM connections and wonderful character representation.”—Booklist, Starred Review

“Jayden carves out a natural space for himself with the help of a friend in this compassionate picture book.”—Publishers Weekly

 “Jayden's Impossible Garden inspires a glorious discovery of community and shared treasures hiding in plain sight. A joy to unearth.”—Rita Williams-Garcia, Newbery Honor and three-time Coretta Scott King Author Award winner

“Entertaining, informative, inspiring.”—Children’s Bookwatch

“Mangal’s story is simple and sweet, with instructions on how to make one’s own urban garden. Daley’s cheerful paintings highlight color and natural beauty.”—Star Tribune

“Jayden loves nature! He loves playing outside and reading books all about nature. His mom does not think that there is any nature in the city. With the support of his friend Mr. Curtis, Jayden helps his mom think about and see the different ways nature is all around them.” —Rabia Khokhar, Toronto Star
  • 2021 Foreword INDIES Honorable Mention, Picture Books, Early Reader (Children's)

Download a poster with an activity from the book.

  • ASCA Mindsets & Behaviors for Student Success

    MS.1, MS.2, MS.5, BS.LS.1, BS.LS.2, BS.LS.4, BS.LS.9, BS.LS.10, BS.SMS.1, BS.SMS.2, BS.SMS.3, BS.SMS.5, BS.SS.3, BS.SS.4, BS.SS.5, BS.SS.6, BS.SS.7, BS.SS.8, BS.SS.9

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User Reviews

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June 14, 2021 / Veronica Lee
A beautiful book

Jayden’s Impossible Garden is an adorable book and allows students to connect with the beautiful metaphors in the story!


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