An Orange In January

Grade Level: P and up | Illustrated by Julie Maren
An Orange in January

“Carrying it home,
the child felt its roundness
and imagined himself a juggler,
a pitcher,
a fortune-teller who could see tomorrow.”

Who would guess this sparingly told journey of an orange from orchard to playground was based on a 30-second encounter with a homeless man holding a cardboard sign: Hungry. Homeless. Please help.

This social studies book tells the tale of an orange’s life journey—from spring blossom to bright, round fruit, from tree to truck to grocery store. And perhaps then, into the hands of a child, who takes it from its shelf in the produce section, saves it for school the next day, and then shares it with friends at recess. Oh, the sweetness of an orange in January!

“This poetic tale about the path an orange takes to the store begins in a grove near the sea. When the fruit is ripe, “a hand, brown with seasons of sun, plucked it from its branch, while dew still glittered on the leaves.”… Even the youngest listeners will gain awareness that food doesn’t magically spring into being on the shelves of markets.” – School Library Journal
“With its rich economics lessons, this delightful story for young readers describes the path of an orange from its growth in an orchard to its final destination in the hands of a child….  These lessons about natural resources, interdependence, and markets are highlighted … ideal for teachers, parents, and volunteers who are seeking enjoyable children’s books for younger readers with substantive content in economics and social studies.” – Rutgers University of Arts and Sciences
 “Readers’ mouths will water in anticipation. A good springboard for discussing food’s origins for the youngest listeners.” – Kirkus Reviews
  • Selected by Scholastic Books for new curriculum