Apr 25, 2011


by Paul Fleischman

This is a lovely little book I read in nearly one sitting, prompted to find it by a review at Stuff as Dreams are Made On. Told in a series of vignettes, the voices of about a dozen different characters describe how a community garden spontaeously arises from a junk-filled vacant lot in an inner-city neighborhood. It starts when a Vietnamese girl plants a handful of lima beans in memory of her father. A few neighbors overlooking the lot are at first suspicious of her activities, but when they see what she's trying to do they feel differently. One lady even comes to water her plants when the girl doesn't show up for a few days. Gradually other people are inspired to grow something as well, scratching out a bare spot in the dirt. A young man who's always seen himself as tough plants tomatoes to woo his girlfriend. A woman plants goldenrod, remembering how her grandmother used it as medicine. A taxi-driver plants lettuce intending to sell it to nearby restaurants. They all have different motives for growing stuff: nostalgia, beauty, food for the table; but end up helping each other out and building a community connected by the garden. I loved how a little girl solved the problem of providing easily-accessible water for the garden. One guy even beats on doors of public officials until he gets the city to come clear the lot of trash and rubble. People start looking out for each other in more ways that just giving advice on growing vegetables, and overcoming their racial differences and language barriers in the act of sharing their produce and flowers. Seedfolks is a wonderful story that I enjoyed very much.

Rating: 3/5          69 pages, 1997


bermudaonion said...

This sounds like a a great, uplifting book!

carolsnotebook said...

Sounds like a lovely book, and my library has it. I'm putting it on-hold right now.

wereadtoknow said...

This sounds like quite the darling little book, and I'm always on the look out for stories about community unity (for this budding foodie, add in a community garden and that just makes it all the better). Off to go track down a copy - thanks for the wonderful review!

John Howell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John Howell said...

Love the book also. I was incredibly moved by this succinct story and I can't wait to share it with my fifth grade class.

I also wanted to let you know that I linked to this blog post within my own story.


Thanks for sharing your thoughts.