After reading the book Me and Marvin Gardens, students from Bala Cynwyd, Black Rock and Welsh Valley middle schools recently enjoyed the awesome opportunity to hear from the best-selling author who penned the publication, Amy Sarig (A.S.) King, during an engaging assembly in the Royals’ theater.
Me and Marvin Gardens tells the story of a boy named Obe Devlin, whose got some problems: not only has he been abandoned by his best friend, his family’s farmland has also been taken over by developers to be turned into subdivisions. One day, while picking up trash at a nearby creek, he discovers a strange creature who eats plastic and poops toxic waste. The animal – a pig named Marvin Gardens - becomes Obe's best friend and biggest secret.
During the assembly at Black Rock, King led students through an exploration and discussion of some of the important social and environmental science-related themes in the book, including the process of how friendships form, what healthy friendships look like and how to best take care of the people and places we love. Following her presentation, students had ample time to engage with the award-winning author during a Q&A session.
Also, after researching environmental problems connected with the book, students at Black Rock created their own “Marvins” and conceptualized solutions through their imagined animals. This interdisciplinary endeavor was undertaken by art teacher Moira Messick and Library teachers Carol Chung, Samantha Putnam and Rachel Nichols.
King is the author of highly-acclaimed novels including 2021's SW/TCH, 2020 Michael L. Printz Award winner and LA Times Book Prize finalist DIG, 2016's Still Life with Tornado and 2015’s surrealist I Crawl Through It. In 2022, King received the Margaret A. Edwards Award for her significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature. She is a faculty member of the Writing for Children and Young Adults MFA program at Vermont College of Fine Arts and spends many months of the year traveling the country speaking to high school and university students, educators, and humans who care about the mental health of young people. After ;a decade living self-sufficiently and teaching literacy to adults in Ireland, she now resides in Pennsylvania.