Sunday, October 25, 2015

Review: Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman

Synopsis: A vacant lot, rat-infested and filled with garbage, looked like no place for a garden Especially to a neighborhood of strangers where no one seems to care. Until one day, a young girl clears a small space and digs into the hard-picked soil to plant her precious bean seeds. Suddenly, the soil holds promise: To Curtis, who believes he can win back Lateesha's heart with a harvest of tomatoes; to Virgil's dad, who sees a fortune to be made from growing lettuce; and even to Maricela, sixteen and pregnant, wishing she were dead. Thirteen very different voices - old, young, Haitian, Hispanic, tough, haunted, and hopeful tell one amazing story about a garden that transforms a neighborhood. (from the back of the book)

Review: Told through different voice, this story grows with the garden - told from the first young girl who digs in the hard dirt to plant bean seeds to the last voice, an old black woman, speaking about spring and hope, even as the garden dies. It's a power story, giving hope and warmth to the reader, just like the garden gave to the neighborhood. Published in 1997, it has a timeless quality to it. It could be from 1950 or today. This would be an excellent book for elementary age kids (indeed, the young girl is about that age) or teenagers and college kids, to spark discussion and thought about people and community and what brings people together - and what separates. This story explores race, gender, and culture - the things that divide and the things that bind. The prose is simple, but not dumbed-down, complex enough for adults but easy enough for kids. Absolutely worth reading!

Bookmarks: 8 of 10

Awards: None

ISBN: 0-06-447207-8
Date Finished: 10-17-2015
Pages: 69

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