by Paul Fleischman and Judy Pedersen

A young Vietnamese girl plants six lima bean seedlings in an overgrown, garbage-strewn,... read more

A young Vietnamese girl plants six lima bean seedlings in an overgrown, garbage-strewn, inner-city lot in Cleveland. An elderly longtime resident of the neighborhood watches the child from a third-story apartment window, unsure of what the girl is doing all alone in that abandoned lot, but suspicious. Life in the neighborhood has taught the woman to be distrustful of people, even of children. But when the woman discovers the girl has planted beans, she is startled and moved by the tender act, and when she realizes it is far too early in the spring for such young plantings to survive, she calls upon a friend to help her secretly tend them so the child's small garden will grow. From these small acts, a neighborhood begins to change. Where once there was an old, abandoned lot, a garden emerges. Where once there were disconnected lives, a fragile sense of community begins to grow. Seedfolks takes place in economically disadvantaged urban neighborhood comprised of individuals from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds, a neighborhood in which some of the residents are relative newcomers to the United States while others have lived on those very city blocks for most or all of their lives. Author Paul Fleischman gives them voice, writing each chapter from the point of view of a different individual in the neighborhood who gets involved in the garden. There are conflicts as well as connections that result from the garden's growth in Seedfolks, but ultimately there is hope, and a flowering of the human spirit. (Ages 9-13) Winner, CCBC Newbery Award Discussion

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 1997

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