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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780064472074
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 12/14/2004
Pages: 112
Sales rank: 16,034
Product dimensions: 6.74(w) x 7.92(h) x 0.32(d)
Lexile: 710L (what's this?)
Age Range: 13 - 17 Years

About the Author

Paul Fleischman's novels, poetry, picture books, and nonfiction are known for innovation and multiple viewpoints. He received the Newbery Medal for Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices and a Newbery Honor for Graven Images, and he was a National Book Award finalist for Breakout. His books bridging the page and stage include Bull Run, Seek, and Mind's Eye. For the body of his work, he's been the United States nominee for the international Hans Christian Andersen Award. He lives in California.

Read an Excerpt


I stood before our family altar. It was dawn. No one else in the apartment was awake. I stared at my father's photographhis thin face stem, lips latched tight. his eyes peering permanently to the right. I was nine years old and still hoped that perhaps his eyes might move. Might notice me.

The candies and the incense sticks, lit the day before to mark his death anniversary, had burned out. The rice and meat offered him were gone. After the evening feast, past midnight, I'd been wakened by my mother's crying. My oldestsister had joined in. My own tears had then come as well, but for a different reason.

I turned from the altar, tiptoed to the kitchen, and quietly drew a spoon from a drawer. I filled my lunch thermos with water and reached into our jar of dried lima beans. Then I walked outside to the street.

The sidewalk was completely empty. It was Sunday, early in April . An icy wind teetered trash cans and turned my cheeks to marble. In Vietnam we had no weather like that. Here in Cleveland people call it spring. I walked half a block, then crossed the street and reached the vacant lot.

I stood tall and scouted. No one was sleeping on the old couch in the middle. I'd never entered the lot before, or wanted to. I did so now, picking my way between tires and trash bags. I nearly stepped on two rats gnawing and froze. Then I told myself that I must show my bravery. I continued farther and chose a spot far from the sidewalk and hidden from view by a rusty refrigerator. I had to keep my project safe.

I took out my spoon and began to dig. The snow had melted, but the ground was hard. After much work, I finished one hole, thena second, then a third. I thought about how my mother and sisters remembered my father, how they knew his face from every angle and held in their fingers the feel of his hands. I had no such memories to cry over.I'd been born eight months after he'd died. Worse, he had no memories of me. When his spirit hovered over our altar, did it even know who I was?

I dug six holes. All his life in Vietnam my father had been a farmer. Here our apartment house had no yard. But in that vacant lot he would see me. He would watch my beans break ground and spread, and would notice with pleasure their pods growing plump. He would see my patience and my hard work. I would show him that I could raise plants, as he had. I would show him that I was his daughter.

My class had sprouted lima beans in paper cups the year before. I now placed a bean in each of the holes. I covered them up, pressing the soil down firmly with my fingertips. I opened my thermos and watered them all. And I vowed to myself that those beans would thrive.

Seedfolks. Copyright © by Paul Fleischman. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Seedfolks 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 91 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
When my English teacher assigned this book for summer reading, I thought okay, this is going to be a boring book. When I saw the cover, my next thought was this is going to be very boring. When I saw the amount of pages, I thought it was not much of a challenge for a soon-to-be-eighth-grader. One of my suspicions was true, and it was not much of a challenge. However, I was wrong about it looking and being boring. It was actually quite entertaining, and some of the individual stories really reached out to me (Maricela's and Curtis' stories really touched me). That just goes to show that you can't judge a book by its cover.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Seedfolks is a two thumbs up book for everyone who likes to read and I recommend this book to everyone. It does not matter if you are a kid or an adult you will like this novel. This novel also has a good example of how one person can make a big difference in a whole community. My favorite character in this book was Gonzalo. He came here to the U.S.A and learn English by watching TV just like I did. This is an awesome novel to read and I think everyone should read it, because is a great inspirational novel and you would learn that doing something for your community can make a big difference.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I liked this story. It told us so much about all the characters and how they all had problems. What I didn¿t like was when the story finally got good they started another vignette without even saying what happened to the other character. I liked this story especially for how the neighborhood came together to do something great for their city. I think this story will inspire people to do something good and help clean up their community because the smallest lot can make them look like a dump, even if they are the cleanest people you¿ll ever meet.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Seedfolks Seedfolks was a great story it was very short and very understandable. I recommend Seedfolks to everyone that likes to make a difference in their community and life¿s. In the story I like how the chapters changed from character to character. There was a character name Kim and she was my favorite character she wanted to make a difference in her community. I relate to this because I really want to make a difference in our community by ending violence. You should all take a chance and read the book Seedfolks it is outstanding!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think Seedfolks was a good book because it shows how a small rundown city can turn into a beautiful place. It shows how fifteen people¿s lives get changed by planting and gardening. Also because this book was clear if the author needed to say something he just came out and said it. The other reason was it made you feel like you were one of the characters like you really got into it and that helped me understand it. In this city people learned to stand up for what they believe in, take charge and help each other.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When i was given this book for summer reading, i thought it was going to be very boring, but it turned out to be very touching and inspiring. NEVER judge a book by it's cover!
Guest More than 1 year ago
SEEDFOLKS I think that this was a very good book because each character explains how important the book was. It also describes lots of things about the garden and about the people in the city related to the garden. It also explains different people planting different things and how they started talking to each other. It also explains about every body back ground. Also it talks about who started the garden, and how it ended. I also think that this book give lot of advice to all the people because it¿s mostly how important the garden is and how people come to earth. My advice to all people that incase your interested you might want to read it but incase you are not you could read different books from Paul Fleischman.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book Seedfolks is a good book for all ages it is a four star book. This book is about a trash filled lot and started to change when a girl plants her seeds in it. In time grows in a community garden one by one everyone that knew about it started pitch in to make it bigger and effect on there lives. This book well make you want to grow a garden of your own. You will grow to love this book I recommend this book for all who love to garden.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought Seedfolks, the book, was appealing and thrilling! I liked some the characters with included Maricela, Wendall, Curtis, and Nora. It was kind of amusing how they expressed themselves! It also had worth! I loved reading this book and couldn¿t stop until I completed it!!! I would give this book four (4) stars!!!! I urge Seedfolks for kids twelve and up to maybe fifteen. My favorite character is Maricela. She is a sixteen-year-old, pregnant teen, who gets involved with a program that helps pregnant teens get the GED and take them to their doctor¿s appointments!! Seedfolks wasn¿t that long and it wasn¿t short either!! I think the theme was to get to know people and to work with diverse kinds of people with diverse environment!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think Seedfolks is a good story because it talks about 13 different people and how they all join planting a garden and how the neighborhood were they live changed. No one before use to care about making a garden except a young girl started planting seeds so that she can grow some vegetables. So all the people in that neighborhood started planting too and helping around with that garden. I recommend this book for people who like helping around in the neighborhood and that like planting a garden.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think Seedfolks is an awesome book for both young readers and adults. It is entertaining and very creative. It¿s about how the neighborhood got together when a young girl started a garden. At first no one communicated with each others. After weeks, months, and years people were already used to helping each others out. At first they weren¿t much commutative but soon they all began talking like if they knew each others since birth. The garden brought them together. For me Seedfolks was a good book. It explained everything so clearly, and it was very entertaining once you adjusted to it. I recommend this book, for anyone who wants to see how little things could turn into big ones!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I liked seedfolks because it made you think of how there is a lot of how there is a lot of racism or hate between cultures. This book is about many people with different backgrounds and has all different kinds of problems. Then they all start to Plant in this vacant lot. Although there was a something I didn¿t like it was that in each chapter it will cut of on the person¿s life they were talking about. And it will leave u hanging wondering what happened next after the problem was solved. I recommend this book to people that don¿t like to read long chapters.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is ok just needs more sparks
frodolives11 on LibraryThing 4 hours ago
This is one of my favorites from grade school, but it transfers to adults also. It shows how little acts of caring and kindness by a few people can transform a neighborhood, and that you don't have to be the stereotypical "White Knight" to save your city.. Obviously, since the heroine is only about 8 years old. And it's about gardens and fresh food, which i love and is totally AWESOME!. The Broken Window Theory running backwards i guess you could say...
kmacneill on LibraryThing 4 hours ago
Seedfolks touched my heart. I loved the various stories from the various point of views and how a garden affected those people. I loved the multicultural community building theme of the book. It demonstrates racial tolerance and the beauty of nature's effects. The only problem I had with this book is that it kept me wanting to know more! I wanted to hear how the various characters stories progressed. I would love to have students write their own endings to an individuals stories. This is a great way to model point of views and to teach students how to write from different perspectives on a singular issue.
ewyatt on LibraryThing 4 hours ago
This book is so short, but packs a powerful punch. Each brief chapter tells the story of one of the people who becomes involved in a community garden in inner-city Cleveland. The book shows the power of community and the connections people can make when they step outside of their usual boundaries.
CChristophersen on LibraryThing 4 hours ago
Each chapter tell part of a story about people in an inner city neighborhood. It begins with the simple action of a young girl and how this act changes a community and the individuals in it. In this case, a young girl missing her father plants some beans in his honor. This sparks those in the neighborhood to join in. They create a community garden plot and in the process grow their own relationships and add value to their home lives. It is heartwarming and inspirational.
awiltenburg on LibraryThing 4 hours ago
This was an interesting little read and predictable for an adult. For a young reader it would be eye opening. I enjoyed how the book started with person A adn the next thing you know A is intertwined accidentally with person B, C, D, etc.... This book was a journey through the neighborhood's people and cultures and problems but tied them together with a common string. I liked that the chapters were short, the book moved quickly, and identified people in specific and varied ways. I would use this book to teach or discuss community, friendship, teamwork, real life issues like loneliness, aging, teen pregnancy, heritage, elders, etc.... for upper grades. In an SDA situation 7-10 grades for public 5th-10th grades due to the teen pregnancy, marijuana, and violent robbery mentioned in the book. It was good though.
MsLangdon on LibraryThing 3 days ago
MS RealismFleischman, P. (1997). Seedfolks. New York: Joanna Cotler Books.Cleveland is a big city, and not much on Gibb street is very nice. Buildings are falling down or abandoned and violence is a regular occurrence on the street. And one vacant lot is the neighborhood¿s local dump, until one day, when a young Vietnamese girl decides to plant some lima beans. People begin to realize that the stinky lot is transforming into a neighborhood garden. Fleischman brilliantly brings together a community of people who once believed they had nothing in common. The story is told through the eyes of thirteen different characters. Each story builds the unity of the neighbors as the garden continues to grow. Seedfolks is a powerful example of people from different cultures coming together and uniting as one community.
indygo88 on LibraryThing 3 days ago
A nice, quick read about the meshing of various cultures & personalities in a seemingly divided Cleveland neighborhood. I wasn't blown away, but it was a feel-good book.
rebecca401 on LibraryThing 3 days ago
Thirteen chapters written from thirteen perspectives, this book chronicles the inception of a community garden in inner-city Cleveland. The miracle of new life and fresh vegetables forges friendships and breaks down walls of hostility and makes neighbors out of people who used to only live within close proximity to one another.
kirkonly on LibraryThing 3 months ago
Seedfolks is a great book about a divided area of urban Cleveland. It is told from 13 different points of views. All these people are physically different in every way. They each tell about how they came to be in Cleveland and what they see when they are at the garden. This book is such a great book! It looks at how different people look at something and see the very same thing. It shows you how people of different ages, race, and gender can come together in a torn society. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!As a student reading this book I loved it! I especially loved how they story was told from different perspectives. I felt drawn into this book from the start. I wanted to read more and more and more. The way that this book was presented was amazing. I hope that I find another book that is just like this one.As a teacher reading this book I can¿t wait to use it in my classroom. This book will show my students about acceptance and love, not hate and violence. I could spend lessons upon lessons using this book as a guide. LOVED IT!!!
Hennigar on LibraryThing 3 months ago
While reading this book I was not as intrigued, actually I was somewhat disappointed at times. What happened with Lateesha and her tomatoes? During class, we had discussions about things that interested us about the text and this is when I began to enjoy the book. The discussions that arose were those that held meaning to each student. We had connected with the text and the characters within and through our discussions about the characters we talked about social issues. This book would be a great book to get students to think about aspects of different cultures and social economic statuses. I would use the same method we used in class; as students read they make notes of aspects in the book that are 'worth mentioning' and those that are 'worth discussing'. When students come together to share their ideas, they did further into the text as they discuss the notes they brought and discuss reasons for putting different aspects into each of the two columns.
francescadefreitas on LibraryThing 3 months ago
This is a series of quick vignettes, all surrounding the creation of a community garden in a run down neighbourhood. Each new character encounters the garden in a different way, and for a few pages, we see a glimpse into their life. The stories were all familiar stories, of people dislocated from from the bodies around them, by age, language, or culture. The garden, while it brings people together, does not cure any of the problems that divided people. The garden ends up with plots in cliques, people being nasty to fellow gardeners, and a few fences.As a killer of plants, I had to stomp on my resentment that once again the idyllic pastoral dream, one I cannot participate in, is seen as the solution to the city's ills. The cliché that reconnecting with dirt reconnects us with our common humanity.
bplma on LibraryThing 3 months ago
In this slim novel, Fleischman presents a series of vignettes revolving around a vacant lot/community urban garden in a run down neighborhood in Cleveland¿---different people, ages, ethnic groups, motivation, points of view. The connection between the people they represent seems tenuous at first, but like the garden that, once nourished, takes root and blooms, the bond grows and we are really sucked into the story, finding the connections as we continue along. As I said, the book is very slim; less than seventy pages, but Fleischman is a true poet and manages to speak volumes in a few well chosen words. And like every community garden it is filled with hope and promise and possibilities. Great for stimulating class discussions of community and racism and human nature, it would also work well in a unit on community empowerment with, for example, Karusa¿s The Streets are Free , Disalvo-Ryan¿s Granpa¿s Corner Store or McGovern¿s Lady in the Box. ¿for younger YAs¿Grade 4+. 02/07.