Gold Mom’s Choice Award
Next Generation Indie Book Award Finalist
Preferred Choice Award Creative Child Magazine
London Book Festival Award Honorable Mention
New England Book Festival Honorable Mention
Zoom Into Books Author
Surviving adolescence is hard anywhere and five 10-year-old best friends try to survive a summer of bullies, parents with substance abuse issues, broken homes … crime … social workers… thieves … slumlords … and poverty. These five try to navigate all these pitfalls in a most unexpected way. Working in the sheltered garden of whom they always thought was just a mean, strange old lady. A woman of very few words, Miss Dirt Turtle lays a path of “foundation” – starting with the earth around them.
What People Say
Miss Dirt Turtle’s Garden Club made me giggle and also cry real tears. The authentically diverse cast of characters captured my heart as they morphed from wise-cracking kids to a caring and inspired group of go-getters, making this treasured tome the total package. —Book review by jv poore for Goodreads
The latch-key children in Miss Dirt Turtle’s Garden Club could easily fall into despair in their urban-blight neighborhood surrounded by bullies and addicted kin. But watchful elders steer them toward beauty and hope, and teach them (and us) about the transforming power of kindness.—Marie Manilla, Author The Patron Saint of Ugly
The power of compassion, community and shared experience runs deep through Daniel Boyd’s book – along with a surprising amount of genuine emotion and inspiration.—Robert Tinnell, Writer/Director Feast of the Seven Fishes
jv poore –
The last day of elementary school was certainly celebratory for five best buds who had gone through every single grade together. The summer stretched out before them, packed with possibilities. Admittedly, growing a garden with the elderly Black lady the neighborhood kids dubbed “Dirt Turtle” hadn’t made the quintet’s to-do list.
When the motley crew of mean kids spotted the students standing outside of Dirt Turtle’s yard, the friends scattered. Except for Chatter. Fixated on the woman working the soil, he slipped through the gate in the chain-link-fence.
Silently, he watched. Mum, she worked on. Chatter soon joined in, mimicking her movements.
His pals returned, stunned at the sight. They immediately began teasing him. Unflappable, Chatter continued until each of his friends, excepting Marty, had joined him in the yard. For the four friends, there was something soothing and satisfying in the work and they asked if they could come back.
The jubilant mood dampened, though, when report cards were received. One of them would not be making the move to Middle School without passing English over the summer. The first hurdle Marty would need to clear this summer was definitely dismal. Particularly since he didn’t read well. Having a police officer and a social services worker show up to take his mom to rehab was downright discouraging.
Turns out, tending the plot, alongside Miss Dirt Turtle, brought out the best in everyone. Like the seeds they planted and nurtured, the children grew and blossomed, individually as well as a united, take-on-the-town, team.
I wish I could add Miss Dirt Turtle’s Garden Club to every Middle School Library. The authentically diverse cast of characters captured my heart as they morphed from wise-cracking kids to a caring and inspired group of go-getters. The illustrations accompanying the narrative are absolutely awesome and aptly convey the kids’ emotions, in a slightly exaggerated, comical kind of way, making this treasured tome the total package.