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Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman
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Seedfolks (original 1997; edition 2003)

by Paul Fleischman

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1,2131146,575 (4.17)22
One day a girl planted dried lima beans into the empty lot next to her home. After being seen by her neighbors, others began planting in the same lot. Once the lot is cleaned out, it becomes the neighborhood's own garden. Each character has a story, and reason, to plant in that garden; and neighbors who did not know one another, became a community. ( )
  RebeccaMichelet | Apr 28, 2012 |
Showing 1-25 of 114 (next | show all)
An easier read, excellent for middle school (and probably even 4th & 5th grade). This novel's structure is made up of short chapters from a different perspective each time (a different member of this community who sees the community garden happening & ultimately either participates in growing or just helping), but their stories entwine so that you can see how a character is doing/progressing even though you never hear their voice again through narration.

If I had a "community building" and "tolerance" bookshelf, this would be on it. ( )
  engpunk77 | Aug 10, 2015 |
This wonderful book tells the story of the creation of how neighbors of a variety of backgrounds, ages, and ethnicities, create a garden in the middle of a rundown urban section of Cleveland, Ohio. There are thirteen voices, vignettes, or perspectives of who and how each of the people in the story helped and participated in the creation transformation of a vacant lot which was a garbage dump into a garden that was used to grow food familiar to each of the cultures from which they came. On the surface, these strangers have little or nothing in common, but slowly they all realize they have hope and they care about their neighborhood and the plants that are growing in their newly created garden. At first there is little interaction and little trust, but as the summer progresses, many of the neighbors get to know and appreciate one another.

The initiator of the garden is Kim, a young Vietnamese girl, soon others young and old, from Korea, Haiti, Indian, African American slavery ancestry, and others join in creating this haunting and hopeful patch of land in the mist of a lower-income area of Cleveland. This is a fabulous book for intermediate students to read to help them develop their critical reading and thinking skills. This is a wonderful took to help children understand multiple perspectives and to be able to compare and contrast between the each of the characters in this this story. This would be a wonderful starting point to explore similarities and differences between cultures and to examine poverty and hope. This is a fabulous book that should be part of any school curriculum that is interested in developing problem solving and critical thinking in young children. ( )
  zsvandyk | May 16, 2015 |
Taking place in Cleveland, this book sheds the light that segregation, and prejudices are still revalant. It's amazing how a simple garden can bring the divided community together. Each chapter in Seedfolks is told through the narative of thirteen different people. The reader gets to hear the sturrgles that each character is going through. An activity that can be done is planting a garden at school. This can bring your classroom together just how the garden brought the neighbors together. ( )
  sottallah | May 6, 2015 |
While there are many books that teach great historical lessons, this is definitely one that students can relate to as current. It shows how with a little patience and perseverance a diverse community can pull together and create a garden, something almost magical in that is breaks the great racial divide.

I would use this book in the classroom as a group discussion tool. I would accompany it an assignment to come up with something that the students can do to impact the community that they live in, and if possible help the students fulfill that dream.
  RachelBowers | Apr 30, 2015 |
This book is about different people who are all going through s rough time in their life. They each live near a vacant lot and this lot brings them together. When they all come together, they realize that everyone goes through a hard time. It may seem hard to get over it at the moment, but time heals everything. This goes with the garden that they build together. The vacant lot started out ugly and destroyed and when they all came together they grew a great garden.
This is a great book for a classroom because it teaches children about hardship. Everyone goes through a hard time and only time can heal the pain. ( )
  krausch | Apr 28, 2015 |
Seedfolks is as story told through 13 different people and their perspectives and takes place in Cleveland Heights, a very poor part of town with people of many different cultures. The story begins with Kim, a young oriental girl, who decides to plant lima bean seeds for her father in a nearby lot. Others see her planting these seeds and decide to plant their own. The garden becomes so big that people from all around the neighborhood decided to join in. This garden really brings the community together and helps everyone get to know one another. The settings are different in every chapter, but the constant setting is the garden. This is a story about something as simple as a garden can lift up an entire neighborhood. People who would never speak to each other are now having parties together because of this garden. This story shows the reader that you should never judge someone by their culture and that you can get along with everyone if you try. As an activity, the class could make their own community garden and plant their own seeds. ( )
  EmilyDrennan | Apr 26, 2015 |
I like this book a lot just because the stories are sort of an accurate interpretation on how most of our society function these days. In Seedfolks, many people share this apartment complex, yet no one really interact with each other. Everyone is doing their own thing and sort of to themselves most of the time. Until one day, a little girl name Kim started to plant a seed in the apartment lot. Slowly one by one came out of their shells and participates in the garden that brought them together.I think it is especially true about the communities in New Orleans. Many parts of the city have this kind of separation between them. They do come together when the city has a celebration or festivals such as Mardi Gras, French Quarter Festival, Jazz Festival, Essence Festival, etc... ( )
  tramtran | Apr 21, 2015 |
A community is the product of the people who live within the vicinity of one another. This novella provides an example of how people can come together and share ideas and love of the outdoors. This book will inspire people to visit their neighbors. The added bonus is to listen to the audiobook which uses different actors to portray each chapter. Delightful. ( )
  cablesclasses | Apr 19, 2015 |
This book by Paul Fleischman reveals that light can rise out of the most dim circumstances. He uses the stories of 13 different characters, all of from different racial and ethnic backgrounds to get this moral across. Seedfolks hits home because it embodies a problem still alive today. People often separate and define themselves by race and ethnicity when together something beautiful could exist, much like the garden that bloomed from filth in Seedfolks. ( )
  kitbraddick | Apr 5, 2015 |
Thirteen very different voices and perspectives—old, young, Haitian, Hispanic, tough, haunted, and hopeful—tell one amazing story about a garden that transforms a neighborhood.
This review has been flagged by multiple users as abuse of the terms of service and is no longer displayed (show).
  cm37107 | Mar 5, 2015 |
Seedfolks is an interesting novel. This book tells the story of a garden that brings people from all cultures together. While the message of this novel is great, it was not particularly my favorite. I was never totally enticed by this book, resulting in my lack of enthusiasm.

Teaching Ideas: cultures, acceptance ( )
  aehunter | Mar 2, 2015 |
The book reflects the lives of people from different ethnic groups. The book begins with Kim a Vietnamese girl, whose father has died. Kim’s father was a farmer, and she plants a seed in a very dirty place so that the dead father can think of her as a daughter. Kim visits the seed every day, and there is Mrs. Ana, a lady from Romania watching Kim from her window. Mrs. Ana thinks that Kim is planting drugs, but Ana discovers later on that it is not true. Mrs. Ana went to the spot that Kim had dug, and she started to dig, and she found bean roots. Mrs. Ana felt terrible, but she placed the beans back. Gonzalo is from Guatemala, and he takes care of his grandfather that cannot speak Spanish. One day Gonzalo’s grandfather leaves the house without him noticing, and once Gonzalo spots him, he notices that his grandfather is planting produce. Leona is an African American lady, and she goes to city hall to get the trash removed from the garden. Throughout the book many people help the garden grow, and it brings many people together. The book reflects different cultures, the beauty of nature and is well organized; it provides a detailed explanation of the garden. ( )
  memaldonado | Feb 28, 2015 |
Good short chapter book with great themes. Great structure. Moral of the story was inspiring. ( )
  hart0521 | Feb 28, 2015 |
This shares a community's story of an apartment complex of individuals with diverse backgrounds who come together to grow a community garden. Each individual has their own set of problems and cultural dialects, but the community garden allows the problems and cultures to subside and allow the neighbors to find common ground and become just like one another.

I personally love the development of each character in this novel as well as the organization of the book. I also loved the dialect of each character, as the reader is able to truly gain an appreciation for the culture of each character.

Reading this book has introduced me to a wonderful author, who I look forward to reading more literature by Paul Fleischman. ( )
  mcnicol_08 | Feb 28, 2015 |
This was a nice little book. They were short vignettes that all interconnect with various narrators from a run-down neighborhood in Cleveland that come together to create a community garden. There is a lot of material to work with as far as digging deeper into the writer's craft and literary terms. This would be a great book to do a unit on writer's voice. It could also be a good book for talking about grassroots movements and how tiny actions can start something big (maybe a tie-in with Rosa Parks and the bus boycotts?) and talking about symbolism (planting a tiny seed). ( )
  TaraKennedy | Feb 26, 2015 |
Seedfolks is a story about a community coming together over s shared garden. Each chapter is a short story told from the point of view of a different person in the community. At first, the way the book was structured confused me, but once I caught on that different people were narrating their own stories each chapter I started to enjoy the book. I enjoyed the structure because it was like reading a new story each chapter. Plus, this allowed the diversity of the community to be shown. I like how the books teaches that despite various backgrounds, people can still relate to each other and work together. ( )
  mferaci | Feb 26, 2015 |
Seedfolks is an excellent story about the lives of several people who are connected by a vacant lot. The people who live in the neighborhood come from different backgrounds and each have a different story. Each chapter covers a character and how they're connected to the vacant lot. Gardening is the common interests among the group of people and they eventually come together towards the end of the book, looking past each other's background. The book emphasizes a sense of unity among neighbors where there was once segregation and illustrating the affects of diversity. ( )
  jwesley | Feb 20, 2015 |
This short, quick read is very powerful and inspiring. Paul Fleischman tells an amazing story of a common garden and the value of building a community with those we might see as 'strangers'. I came away feeling hopeful and inspired to continue to find more ways to plant my own 'seeds' in my community. This would be a great story to use with young adults studying diversity. ( )
  chrisriggleman | Feb 19, 2015 |
Seedfolks is an interesting book that teaches the reader about diversity. The people that live in this community know little to nothing about their neighbor, yet they are all similar. The people of the community have different backgrounds and they all face different obstacles. Instead of bonding, all of the neighbors ignore each other. The one thing that brings the community together is the garden that they grow. Although the people begin to work next to each other and now have gardening in common, they are still distant. By the end of the book, the characters interact more with each others, but not how I expected them to. The chapter book has a different narrator for each chapter, which made the book hard for me to get into. I found myself interested in a particular charatcer, only to move onto someone else suddenly. I would have found the book more enjoyable if it was only told in one or two perspectives. I would read this book with a group of students. It teaches about diveristy and communication. Those are important lessons to teach to children. ( )
  kbartholomew1 | Feb 17, 2015 |
This book didn't particularly interest me; however, it was required reading. It did have some good moral value throughout, teaching that everything you did could have an affect on someone else. ( )
  jlaurendine | Feb 15, 2015 |
Seedfolks is a great book for students to realize the diversity that is in the United States, and possibly even their own backyards. Seedfolks starts out in what can be described as low income apartments for immigrants. Around the apartments is an empty lot that is used as a dumpster and sort of an eye sore. The tenants in these apartments are all from different cultures and walk of life and don't mingle much. That is until one young girl decides to plant some beans in the lot and soon everyone is. This creates conversation, socialization, and growth of relationships among the tenants. All from one little thing a young girl did.
The story is told from different peoples point of views. I loved this because it gives the reader an eye into different peoples lives and stories. This opens up for a great classroom discussion on diversity and culture. The different vegetables and fruits people plant that remind them of home and where they are from. Students need to be exposed to cultures that they are not a part of and learn to embrace those that are different from them. This book just gives a glimpse to this idea of what community can look like without segregation. ( )
  crieder95 | Feb 9, 2015 |
I was skeptical at first about this book based on the cover. After finishing the book I realized how wrong about this book I actually was! It is a very heartwarming book and a community being brought together through turning an empty lot into a garden. Everyone in the book gardens for different reasons but it doesn't matter because people start talking and becoming friends with other races. It was a great read and I would highly recommend it. ( )
  BriannaMaeee | Feb 8, 2015 |
Seedfolks is a story about community and intersectionality, centered around a budding community garden. Readers gain the perspective of thirteen different voices, all of different cultural backgrounds. This diversity is important because it provides insight into these people's lives, helps students of different cultures and backgrounds relate to characters in the story, and brings hope in togetherness- from their personal lives and through helping each other help a community garden thrive. ( )
  jmitra1 | Oct 25, 2014 |
(4.9)
  mrsforrest | Oct 15, 2014 |
This inner-weaving of neighborhood voices begins with the voice of Kim, a Vietnamese immigrant. With her simple desire to plant seeds in honor of her farmer father, she begins a chain of events that will ultimately change the lives of the people living in her neighborhood. It is a poetic, powerful story of how a community comes together to create a garden. At first the people are working independently but they soon come to know each other and care for one another. A wonderful story! I like that the last voice in the book is from a woman whose great-grandparents were freed slaves from Louisiana. ( )
  SuPendleton | Jun 25, 2014 |
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