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Paul Fleischman. Judy Pedersen, illus.
Publisher HarperTrophy  
Format paperback
ISBN 9780064472074
Pages/Publication Date 102/2004
Daedalus Item Code 49290
This item is not available.
(An American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults) The son of Newbery Medal winner Sid Fleischman, Paul Fleischman is himself a Newbery Medalist, and was the 2012 U.S. nominee for the Hans Christian Andersen Award. In 1997 he gave us this slim, gently profound novel for readers 10 and up—a patchwork quilt of stories by 13 very different narrators, each of whom offers a short tale about their community garden in Cleveland. It begins with Kim, a Vietnamese girl who plants lima beans in a trash-strewn vacant lot in the hope that the spirit of her father, who had been a farmer, will find her there. Seedfolks is filled with the rejuvenating power of growing things.

"Kim, a Vietnamese girl mourning her dead father, is the one who begins the garden. In a vacant lot near her Cleveland home, she scratches six holes in the dirt and plants six seeds, hoping to attract her father's spirit. She definitely catches the eye of Ana, an elderly white woman who has watched the ethnic makeup of the neighborhood change. Ana assumes Kim is burying treasure, but when she realizes her mistake, she makes it her mission to ensure that the girl's plants are watered. The perspective changes with each chapter—Kim narrates first, then Ana, then Wendell, who is sent by Ana to water 'the Chinese girl's' plants and decides to do some planting of his own. Others follow: Gonzalo's grandfather sees the garden as an opportunity to be productive without being humiliated because of his inability to learn English; black body builder Curtis uses his tomatoes to help him rebuild his romance with Lateesha. Neighbor by neighbor, the garden grows, with the once-vacant lot eventually becoming a varied and vibrant community of its own. Each voice is distinct. Each character springs to life, complete with attitudes, prejudices, and opinions, and as the viewpoints shift, Fleischman shows how the different members of a multi-ethnic urban neighborhood overcome the barriers of language and background to enrich one another and forge new connections. The characters' vitality and the sharply delineated details of the neighborhood make this not merely an exercise in craftsmanship or morality but an engaging, entertaining novel as well."—Booklist (starred review)

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