Ginger The Giraffe

Once upon a time, there was a giraffe named Ginger.
Ginger lived in Kenya, a country in Africa. Like all
giraffes, Ginger had a long neck and long legs. Because
she was so tall, she was able to eat food from the very
tops of the trees in the savannah. The savannah in
Africa is an area with lots of grass and some trees.
Sometimes, a savannah is called grasslands. The other
animals like zebras and antelopes could not reach where
Ginger could reach. But Ginger always found food. She
loved the leaves and the new buds of the trees.

One day, Ginger was busy eating her favorite leaves along
with some other giraffes. It was a bright sunny day and
there was not a cloud in the sky. It had not rained for a long
time, so the grass was very dry. She heard a noise down at
the bottom of her extra long legs: it was her friend, Mickey
the Monkey. Mickey was trying to say something, but Ginger
couldn’t understand what he was saying. He looked very
tired. “What’s wrong?” asked Ginger. Ginger was a very kind
giraffe and wanted to help everyone.
Just then Mickey fell over!

Ginger was also a smart giraffe. She knew what was wrong.
Mickey couldn’t fnd anything to eat and he was very hungry.
Ginger nibbled some fresh, tender leaves and buds from the
top of the tree where she was eating. She dropped some of
the leaves and buds to the ground near where Mickey was.
Then she nudged him a little with the hoof at the bottom of
one of her very long legs. “Wake up, Mickey!” said Ginger.
“I’ve found something for you to eat.”
Slowly Mickey sat up and ate a little.

After a while, when Mickey was feeling better, Ginger asked
him, “What’s happened, Mickey? Why are you so hungry?
Why can’t you fnd anything to eat?” Mickey said, “It hasn’t
rained for so long and now there’s no more food.” “That’s
not good,” said Ginger. “What’s happening with the other
animals?” “No one knows what to do,” answered Mickey. “All
the zebras and the antelopes and the elephants are getting
worried about the dry grass.
Some of them are thinking about leaving the savannah and
trying to reach the jungle.”
“That’s a long trip,” said Ginger.
“Are you going to go with them?”

“I don’t know,” answered Mickey. “What do you think we
should do?” Ginger thought for a while and then suddenly, she
had a good idea. “We should go talk to Leo the Lion.
He is the smartest animal in the savannah!” Mickey was too
tired to walk, so Ginger invited him to ride on her back. “Hold
on tight to my neck,” said Ginger. “There’s a lot to hold on
to,” joked Mickey. Ginger laughed. “You’re right. I’ve got the
longest neck in Africa!” So they started their journey across
to the other side of the savannah to look for Leo.

Ginger and Mickey were in luck! Leo was sitting up on a rock
and he was really easy to see as they walked through the
grass. “Hi, Leo!” they both shouted. Leo had been napping
and was a little grumpy when they woke him up. But he was
polite and said, “Hello Ginger and Mickey. Why did you walk
the whole way across the savannah? Just to wake me up?”
But he was joking; he had a smile on his face. “Mickey says
that there is no food left on the savannah because it’s been
so dry,” said Ginger. “Do you have any ideas?”

Leo thought for a while. He said, “There’s nothing we can do
about the rain. It will come soon, but we can’t be sure when it
will arrive. When the rain comes, all the plants will grow again
and there will be lots of food for everybody.”
He thought a little longer. “The only thing I can think of is
for everyone to move closer to the forest,” he continued.
“There will be more things to eat there, but I know it’s a long
trip and it will not be very easy.
It might take days to get there.”

Ginger and Mickey looked at each other and then looked back
at Leo. “Thank you, Leo,” said Ginger. “It’s probably best if
they all try to get closer to the jungle.” They said goodbye
and then walked back across the savannah.
Now they needed to gather all of the animals together to
start the long journey. Ginger didn’t need to go along because
she had plenty of food in her high trees. But she was a good
friend and wanted to help as much as she could.
They walked towards her favorite trees and guess what she
and Mickey saw?

All of the animals were already gathered there and waiting
for Ginger and Mickey! “Why are you all here?” asked Ginger.
“Eddie the Eagle told us that you’re taking us to the edge of
the jungle,” said one of the zebras. “How did he know?” asked
Mickey. “He heard you talking with Leo,” said one of the
antelopes. “So you’ve all decided to try to walk together to
the jungle?” asked Ginger. “Yes,” they all answered. “If you’ll
help us to get there,” added one of the elephants.
“Of course, I’ll help,” said Ginger. “I’m your friend.”

So they started on their big journey across the savannah
to the jungle. The sun was so hot and there was no food and
no place to get a drink of water. And then they heard it. It
was thunder! “Thunder!” they all shouted. Thunder was very
scary to the animals of the savannah. Can you guess why?
Fire! Sometimes the lightning hits the dry grass and the
whole savannah catches fre. Then everyone has to run. And
that is exactly what happened. “Fire!” they shouted. They
could smell it. And now they could see it.
The fre was coming towards them!

Ginger had to think fast. Because she was so tall she could
see farther than any of the other animals.
She stretched her long neck up as far
as she could. Now she could see a place where there was no
fre. “Quick!” she said. “Everyone run this way.”
All of the animals followed her
and ran as fast as they could. Soon, they were
out of danger. They stopped and gathered together one
more time. “Is everyone here?” Ginger asked. She wanted
to make sure they were all safe.
All the animals looked around; they were all there.

And then the most wonderful thing happened. “I felt a
drop,” said a zebra. “Me too,” said an antelope. It was rain!
Finally! Everyone was very happy. It started to rain a little
more and then a little more. The rain put out the fre so
they didn’t have to run. And the rain flled their watering
holes and made the plants grow again,
so they didn’t have to make that long trip to the edge of the
jungle. Everyone would soon have enough food and water.
So Ginger, the Giraffe went back to her favorite tree and
continued to munch on the leaves and buds.

Arctic Plants

Some plants grow in land that is rich. Some plants grow where there is a lot of sun. These plants do very well. But there is something beautiful about plants that grow against the odds.

Way up in the arctic, the land is cold and hard. The winter is long and dark. But the arctic plants find a way to get by.

Summer comes for just a few weeks. The ice turns to water. Plants begin to grow.

Arctic moss grows on the land. It adds a bit of heat so that other plants can grow, too.

Arctic plants stay together. When they stay together, the cold winds are not so bad.

In other places, trees try to grow to the sky. But they would not last in the arctic. So the arctic willow is not like the other trees. The arctic willow grows on its side. It grows along the land. This may be odd, but it works.

The sun is out all day and all night. But the sun will go away soon. So the arctic poppy always looks on the bright side. The arctic poppy always faces the sun.

Yes, there is something beautiful about plants that grow against the odds.

BC Reads: Adult Literacy Fundamental English – Reader 1 by Shantel Ivits is used under a CC BY 4.0 Licence.

Download for free from the B.C. Open Textbook Collection.

Grow Your Own Tomatoes

Tomatoes that you grow are better than tomatoes that you buy. You can grow tomatoes inside if you do not have a garden.

You need:

  • Tomato seeds
  • A big pot (50 cm deep)
  • Potting soil (many big food shops sell this)
  • A window

Fill the pot with potting soil. Pack the soil down a little bit. Put a seed on top of the soil. Add a bit more soil on top.

Add water. The soil must always be a bit wet. Seeds like to be warm. Put your pot in a warm place. It does not need sun yet.

The plant will grow above the soil. Put the plant by a window. The plant needs four hours of sun a day. You can tie the stem to a stick to help the plant stay up. Always keep the soil a bit wet.

Pick the tomatoes when they are the same red colour top to bottom. Enjoy!

BC Reads: Adult Literacy Fundamental English – Reader 1 by Shantel Ivits is used under a CC BY 4.0 Licence.

Download for free from the B.C. Open Textbook Collection.

Tomatoes

The tomato is from South America. When the tomato came to Europe, people did not eat it. Doctors said it would make them sick. So people just grew tomatoes because they looked nice.

Now people from all over the world eat tomatoes. Tomatoes are used in sauce, soup, juice, salsa, and ketchup. The tomato is very good for you. Only a tomato leaf or stem will make you sick.

People do odd things with tomatoes. People grow tomatoes in space. There is a big tomato fight every year in Spain. A long time ago, people would toss a bad tomato when they saw a show they did not like.

In Canada, many tomatoes are grown on big farms. The farms bring in poor people from far away to help grow tomatoes. Without these workers, the farms could not run. But the workers do not get much money. Canada does not let the workers stay here. Many people say this is not fair.

Most farms pick tomatoes before they are ripe. They last longer this way. But these tomatoes do not taste as good. So lots of people grow their own tomatoes.

BC Reads: Adult Literacy Fundamental English – Reader 1 by Shantel Ivits is used under a CC BY 4.0 Licence.

Download for free from the B.C. Open Textbook Collection.

GM Food

It is hard to be a farmer. Cold weather can kill your crops. Bugs can eat your crops. Weeds can hurt your crops. Your crops may need more rain than they get. Fruits and vegetables can go bad before they are sold. Some people say farmers can fix all this with GM food.

What is GM food? All living things have DNA. DNA tells living things how to grow. These days, people can change the DNA that tells food how to grow. When people change the DNA of food, it is called GM food.

Some GM food can grow in cold weather. GM food can stop bugs from eating it. GM fruits and vegetables can stay good longer. One day, GM food may be able to grow in dry land in Africa. It will feed people who do not have much food.

But there is a lot we do not know about GM food. Will GM companies help poor people grow food? Or do GM companies just want to get rich? Does GM food kill bugs we need, like butterflies? Does GM food make birds sick? Does GM food make people sick? We do not know. There have not been many tests on GM food.

Do you think farmers should grow GM food?

BC Reads: Adult Literacy Fundamental English – Reader 1 by Shantel Ivits is used under a CC BY 4.0 Licence.

Download for free from the B.C. Open Textbook Collection.

The Sack Garden

This is Meg. Meg lives in South Africa. She has three kids.

It is hard to feed her kids. White people own most of the farmland in South Africa. Meg does not have land for a garden. Food costs a lot of money.

But Meg has a very good way to grow food. She finds a big sack. She puts rocks in the middle of the sack. She fills the rest of the sack with dirt. She makes little holes in the side of the sack. She puts a tomato plant in one hole. She puts a bean plant in one hole. She puts a green pepper plant in one hole. She puts eggplant in the top of the sack. She waters the sack garden from the top.

Her garden does not need much water. Her garden does not need much room. Her garden does not cost much money to make. Her garden does not have many weeds.

Now Meg can feed her kids.

BC Reads: Adult Literacy Fundamental English – Reader 1 by Shantel Ivits is used under a CC BY 4.0 Licence.

Download for free from the B.C. Open Textbook Collection.

A New Flower

My grandma has never been on a plane. But she gets on a plane when she is 82 years old. She gets on a plane to see me.

One day, we go for a walk. She likes the flowers on my street.

Back home, she has many garden beds. She is in three flower clubs. She puts her plants in flower shows. She knows a lot about flowers.

But today she sees a flower she has not seen before. “What is this?” Grandma asks.

My friend Dave knows. He tells her what the flower is. She looks at Dave for a long time.

Back home, men hunt.

Back home, men fish.

Back home, men farm.

But back home, men do not know about flowers.

She takes this in. She smiles. Then we go on.

She hopes to see more flowers she has never seen before.

BC Reads: Adult Literacy Fundamental English – Reader 1 by Shantel Ivits is used under a CC BY 4.0 Licence.

Download for free from the B.C. Open Textbook Collection.

Sweetgrass

Max used to live on the street. Now he lives in a house for other kids from the street.

One of the workers at the house is named Dan. Dan is Cree like Max.

One day, Dan takes Max to pick sweetgrass. They walk out onto the wetland. The sweetgrass is very tall. It bends when they step on it. But it does not break. Dan says, “The sweetgrass tells us to be kind when we are hurt.”

Dan asks the sweetgrass if he can pick it. Then Dan and Max pick what they need. They leave the roots in the land. This way, the sweetgrass will grow again next year.

After that, they make the sweetgrass into a braid. Dan tells Max that sweetgrass takes away bad feelings. It makes room for happy feelings. So Max keeps the sweetgrass close.

BC Reads: Adult Literacy Fundamental English – Reader 1 by Shantel Ivits is used under a CC BY 4.0 Licence.

Download for free from the B.C. Open Textbook Collection.