I’m usually the one who takes Rain to the library but one week I sent Aaron. He came back with this treasure of a book. On Meadowview Street is the story of a girl who moves to a house in the suburbs and decides with her parents to sell the lawn mower, let the grass grow long and turn their yard into a nature preserve. They plant some trees and build some ponds. One of the latter pages in the book also has lovely drawings of the type of natural plants and creatures she might find in her yard after the makeover. And her idea starts to spread down the street.
I love it that Caroline gets her parents on board. Too often, the reality in this story is that the parents would put an end to her nature preserve. This is a story about respecting the earth and about going outside the norm, not being afraid to be different. It’s a story about how one person following her heart can start a trend.
I am not a fan of lawns, especially those square lawns in subdivisions and in front of patio homes where all the houses look the same, and the only embellishment to the yard are a few low maintenance shrubs and some tiny poorly pruned city trees. I love this book for inspiring children to think about the changes that could be made to return their lawns to a natural state. I love this book for daring to say that an un-mown lawn in its natural state is more beautiful than a manicured city lot. I love it for suggesting that living in the city doesn’t have to mean you can’t commune with nature. Imagine if the book went a step further and suggested only planting local native species?
I’m even dreaming about a second book where the front yard is turned into an edible garden, where Caroline grows lettuce, tomatoes, beans, peas, herbs. Imagine if everyone really did this?
There is an organization that is trying to encourage people to do just that. You can check out the book Food Not Lawns and also find them on the internet. There may even be a chapter near you. These are local grass-roots organizers who encourage people in their communities to convert their yards into gardens and grow their own food. They organize seed exchanges and put on workshops for people who want to learn how to garden but don’t know how to start.
Until then, you can read this book with your children and inspire them to think differently about what they can do about their own environment and about the food they eat.
Caroline lives on Meadowview Street. But where’s the meadow? Where’s the view? There’s nothing growing in her front yard except grass. Then she spots a flower and a butterfly and a bird and Caroline realizes that with her help, maybe Meadowview Street can have a meadow after all.
On Meadowview Street