Tending Ben’s Garden

By Kim Delmar Cory

Order Code: 9240
Class sets 10 or more paperback books: $10.00 each
Class set order code: 9240S

Ben is an uncommon child, and Kate loves him with fierce sibling devotion. But their father has died, leaving Mama struggling against inevitable financial collapse. So she sends Ben to a children’s home, and Kate’s world shatters. Her only solace is in tending Ben’s garden; it must be perfect for him when he returns. Kate’s journey to try to get Ben back against overwhelming obstacles is a heartrending one, but it ultimately demonstrates the enormous power of love.


Set in Michigan during the Great Depression, this is the story of a sister’s fierce love for her younger brother.

Ben is an uncommon child. He is quiet and gentle, introspective and kind. He speaks when he feels it necessary, often using his own versions of words, although he is able to speak fluently when he wants. His sister Kate, twelve and mature in a way that only children who have lost their father can be, loves him with a tenderness that is at once pure and beautiful. She is both protective and loyal; she understands him, respects him, admires him, adores him. He’s her Ben.

So she helps Papa build Ben a garden—that was before Papa’s accident. Ben wants the garden so he can feed the animals. He builds a scarecrow, not to scare the animals away but so they can play with it.

But the crash that took Papa has left the family in dire financial circumstances. Kate and Ben have three brothers, and there is not enough money. Mama is losing the farm. So she sends Ben to a children’s home. At least there he will be fed and clothed, housed and cared for.

Kate is heartbroken. How can she live without her Ben! Worse, Ben goes to a wealthy family who hopes to adopt him. To start anew, the family moves away. Kate’s world shatters.

The only thing that makes her feel better—the only solace and healing that young Kate finds—is in tending Ben’s garden. It needs to be perfect for him when he returns. Because he will return, Kate vows. One way or another, she’ll get Ben back.

But there are terrible truths to learn, and there are harsh realities to discover. The entire family is set to be separated as Mama struggles against inevitable financial collapse. Kate’s journey, both emotional and physical, is a heartrending one, but it is achingly beautiful, and it ultimately demonstrates the enormous power of love.

Tending Ben’s Garden is an exquisite story for readers of all ages!


11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18
6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
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