Cycle of Rice, Cycle of Life by Jan Reynolds.
Lee & Low Books Inc: NY, 2009.

This is an awe-inspiring discussion of the growing process of rice in Bali, Indonesia - a sustainable farming and living cycle which has been in place since the ninth century. The author describes a network of human-made waterways, seasonal growing practices, and community understanding and cooperation, which as a whole provide proper irrigation, replenishing nutrients, and pest control. She also explains that in the 1960s their government abandoned this system for a modern, technological approach. The result was devastating and unexpected. An American anthropologist (J. Stephen Lansing), with much effort, proved to the Balinese government that the traditional system worked far better and needed to be restored. They have moved back towards their centuries-old system, but damage still remains.

Reynolds' description is full of life, and there is a sense of awe for the farming process. The Balinese people understand life and balancing nature in a way that seems to be lost to Americans. The long history of such an unbroken cycle of sustainability is spiritual and amazing. I hope that this book will give our children a greater understanding of sources of their food. A greater understanding can reduce both waste and overeating.

The photographs are beautiful and are a perfect accompaniment.

related-rice, Indonesia, Bali, sustainable agriculture, J. Stephen Lansing, conservation, chemical fertilizers and pesticides
RL=3rd & up, use for Social Studies 4th-6th

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