The Lotus Seed

( 5 )


A young Vietnamese girl saves a lotus seed and carries it with her everywhere to remember a brave emperor and the homeland that she has to flee.

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A young Vietnamese girl saves a lotus seed and carries it with her everywhere to remember a brave emperor and the homeland that she has to flee.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The "spare simplicity" of this tale about a Vietnamese refugee is "richly amplified by arresting, light-filled paintings," said PW in a starred review. Ages 6-10. Mar.
School Library Journal
Gr 2-5-- A nameless Vietnamese narrator tells of her grandmother who, as a girl, accidentally sees the last emperor cry on the day of his abdication. She surreptitiously enters the palace gardens and takes a lotus seed as a remembrance of that day and her ruler. She keeps the seed with her through vicissitudes of war, flight, and emigration until one summer a grandson the narrator's brother steals it and plants it in a mud pool near the family's American home. Grandmother is inconsolable when the exact spot cannot be found. The following spring, a lotus grows from the mud puddle and in time the elderly woman gives a seed to each of her grandchildren, reserving one for herself. The narrator vows to plant hers one day, give the seeds to her own children, keep the tradition, and share her grandmother's memories. This tale of hope and continuance is told with disarming simplicity. Interesting oil paintings, largely in earth tones, are slightly mannered, yet culturally accurate, and often moving in their amplification of the text. A warm addition to school and public library collections. --John Philbrook, San Francisco Public Library
Ilene Cooper
In spare language accompanied by evocative art, a young narrator tells the story of fleeing her homeland with her Vietnamese family to resettle in America. She begins, "My grandmother saw the Emperor cry the day he lost his golden dragon throne." Wanting something to remember him by, the woman picks a seed from a lotus plant in the imperial garden, which she looks at whenever she feels sad or during important moments in her life, like her wedding day. When the bombs start falling, she brings the seed with her as she and her family fight their way onto a crowded boat that will eventually bring them to a land where everything is different, from the buildings to the language. Years go by, children are born and so are grandchildren. The narrator's brother finds the seed and carelessly throws it in the earth, distressing his grandmother beyond measure. But one day in the spring, a creamy pink lotus appears, and when the blossom fades into a pod, the grandmother distributes the seeds to each of her grandchildren. And she keeps one for herself in remembrance of the day she saw the emperor cry. Perhaps the power of this moving story is in its message that even such a small thing as a seed can hold memory. The artwork also has the feel of memory, with pictures that are soft in focus and color, just the way remembrances can be. But there is strength in the composition of the artwork, too, and in the book design itself, with the pictures and double-page spreads neatly framed by buff-color borders. Home may be far, but it can be seen in a flower.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780780772618
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 2/28/1997
  • Sales rank: 593,641
  • Age range: 7 - 9 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.60 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

SHERRY GARLAND is the author of many award-winning novels and picture books, including Indio, The Last Rainmaker. She lives in central Texas.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 5 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2011

    Very GOOD BOOK!!!

    My god! This book was soooo good. Actually phenomenol.(If that's how you spell it) I cried at some sad parts. But it's about the Vietnam war. I'm Vietnamese so I know about my coutry's tragedy. On the back it has a poem of a the Lotus Flower. In Vietnam or in Vietnamese school, they would make you remember that poem by heart. I had to do it too. But all I tryin to say is, GO AND READ IT!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2000

    Beautiful book!

    'Lotus Seed' is a simple and straightforward picture book recommended especially for young children. Many aspects of the Vietnamese culture in both Vietnam and the U.S. were portrayed accurately and the illustrations were beautiful.

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    Posted May 28, 2010

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    Posted May 15, 2010

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    Posted February 4, 2010

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