A Place to Grow is flavored both by its author and its illustrator.
Using the metaphor of a seeds flying in the wind before "find[ing] their gardens to grow in," Pak tells the story of parents
who fled their homeland. They fled a place where "there are too many guns and not enough love," seeking instead – like
the seeds – land that is "warm and safe, like a cozy home." Pak continues the metaphor through several pages and growing
conditions: seeds need sun to grow while people need hope and dreams; seeds need rain to flourish, while people need work.
Truong's double-page illustrations,
created with "China ink and gouache paint," show father and daughter through each season, continuing
their conversation about seeds and immigration. Because Truong's own immigration took him from Viet
Nam to England and then France, his illustrations carry the flavor of all three countries. Father and daughter's
garden setting appears to be small-town England,
while a later illustration shows father and daughter walking with popular trees rising mid-ground behind them – the
trees highly reminiscent of Monet's poplar trees.
The seed metaphor might be
difficult for a young child to understand, but this book is beautifully illustrated and carefully told. Share it on a windy
spring day, when seeds of various kinds fly through the air in search of a welcoming landing!
Soyung. 2002. A place to grow. Illus. Marcelino Truong. New York: Scholastic. ISBN 0-439-13015-8.