The Bamboo Garden – The Story

Bamboo Girls from cover image

Tori stood in the Griffins’ kitchen, holding Mama’s hand.

Even before she saw her, Tori heard the sounds of Polly Griffin: a great thumping of feet on the floorboards overhead, then the clattering of shoes down the wooden staircase into the kitchen. 

Brown braids flying, cheeks flushed red, Polly jumped off the bottom step and into Tori’s life.

From The Bamboo Garden, Susan Austin

It isn’t easy for Tori Takahashi and Polly Griffin to be best friends. There are so many differences—how they look, where they live, and how they feel about things. Yet, the thoughtful ways of one and the enthusiasm of the other make for a winning combination. Every week Tori and her mother ride the trolley through Berkeley to Polly’s house where Mrs. Takahashi cleans and sews for the Griffins. Tori delights in this magical world, especially planning adventures and sharing secrets with Polly in her bamboo garden. The hot, dry summer of 1923 makes the stalks taller and stronger, just like the girls’ friendship. Surprisingly, their biggest adventure is about to begin. All the signs are there: the strange weather, the troubling news delivered by a disagreeable neighbor girl, and a hobo’s remarkable gift.

Now Available on!

Mrs. Dalloway’s Bookstore
2904 College Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94705

Mr. Mopps’ Children’s Books and Toys
1405 MLK Jr. Way, Berkeley, CA 94709, 510-525-9633

Berkeley Historical Society carries the book at their History Center (Veterans Memorial Building – 1931 Center Street, Berkeley, CA). Check their site for Center hours.  http:/

Also available at bookstores nationwide. Use ISBN 978-0-9856270-0-4


Susan Austin, Author and Educator