The Protest


emergent readers, early chapter book.



Community Garden

Samantha Thornhill & Shirley Ng-Benitez


For #SweetsAndSocialJustice this week, I still wanted to make a sweet treat even though the book is about a garden. So I thought about how composting and using up all our of food scraps is important, and decided to take a bunch of leftovers and make bread pudding! I used an oldish loaf of cinnamon raisin bread, some leftover salty dark chocolate ganache that I usually use to stuff oatmeal cookies with, and some half and half that I stuck in my freezer before it spoiled. I personally don’t like my bread pudding mushy, so I don’t soak it long before baking. I would be interested to know what you folks do! Also, check out other posts with the earth icon for more books related to Earth Day.

The protest follows main character Lily and her neighborhood friends, who learn that their community garden is under threat to be turned into a parking lot. Lily is impassioned to organize a protest with other students (who get vegetables for the cafeteria from the garden) and other community members who also benefit from the space. Not only is this book a great early chapter book, but it also teaches readers about how important it is to stand up when community resources are under threat. Lily’s mom empowers her to plan the protest and reach out for community support, which demonstrates excellent modeling of organizing and interpersonal dynamics for readers.

This book was kindly sent by Lee and Low, but all opinions and decisions to review are my own.

Recipe: Cinnamon Chocolate Bread Pudding:


1 loaf gluten free cinnamon raisin bread (I used Udi’s, they’re a bit smaller than glutinous loaves)

2c half n half

3 eggs

Pinch cinnamon

1/3c brown sugar

1.75 cups chilled ganache broken into chunks (optional; chocolate chunks also work!)

Pinch salt

2T butter

1.5t vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. I tear my bread and leave it out the night before. Cut or break up ganache into chunks and toss with dry bread, put into an 8×8 pan. Put all dairy, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, and sugar into a pot and warm until butter is melted. Whisk and temper in beaten eggs. Pour over bread, let soak if you like a more custardy bread pudding. I like it when things are more separated and crispy so I put it right in the oven. Bake for about a half hour, until it’s firm.

Samantha Thornhill

SAMANTHA THORNHILL is a poet, educator, and author of children’s books, including her most recent publication, A Card for My Father. Her work has been published in over two dozen literary journals and anthologies. She has taught poetry to acting students at the Juilliard School and creative writing seminars at the Bronx Academy of Letters. She also facilitates workshops for the Dialogue Arts Project, which ventures into professional settings and uses creative writing as a tool to navigate uncomfortable discussions about social identity. Samantha is a native of the twin island nation of Trinidad & Tobago and lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Shirley Ng-Benitez

SHIRLEY NG-BENITEZ is a children’s book illustrator who creates art using watercolor, gouache, pencil, and digital techniques. She also loves to make 3-D creatures from clay and fabric. She lives in the Bay Area of California with her husband, their two daughters, and their pup.

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