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3.69  ·  Rating Details ·  9,738 Ratings  ·  1,630 Reviews
Common Ground

A vacant lot, rat-infested and filled with garbage, looked like no place for a garden. Especially to a neighborhood of strangers where no one seems to care. Until one day, a young girl clears a small space and digs into the hard-packed soil to plant her precious bean seeds. Suddenly, the soil holds promise: To Curtis, who believes he can win back Lateesha's he
Hardcover, 80 pages
Published April 25th 1997 by HarperTeen (first published January 1st 1997)
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Rob Cannon
Feb 06, 2012 Rob Cannon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Some of you might have found that I tend to be a bit stingy with my star ratings. Seedfolks is definitely worthy of 5 stars. It is a very short book that you can read on your lunch break. You are given glimpses of snippets of the lives of many of the inhabitants of a Cleavland town from the perspective of 13 of those people. It all starts with a young Vietnamese girl who decides to surreptitiously plant a very small crop of lima beans in a bare patch of dirt in a "vacant" lot where people have t ...more
When I saw the garden for the first time, so green among the dark brick buildings, I thought back to my parents' Persian rug. It showed climbing vines, rivers and waterfalls, grapes, flowers, singing birds, everything a desert dweller might dream of. The garden's green was as soothing to the eye as the deep blue of that rug. I'm aware of color - I manage a fabric store. But the garden's greatest benefit, I feel, was not relief to the eyes, but to make the eyes see our neighbors.

To honor her late
Mar 24, 2017 Shelby rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
5 Stars
I had to read this book for my English class and at first I thought I was not going to like it but it turns out while I was reading I really loved this book. I really love the set up of the book because it is about one garden and people come together as a community and plant vegetables. I really love how it was written and broken up into each of the characters thoughts, feelings, background information. I really like that a lot because you can feel and see what has gone in there life and
Azaria Howell
I didn't like this book. We had to read it for school, and I read ahead (sorry!) There was detail, but only in certain areas. The chapters were too short, and they introduced a new character in every chapter, with not much detail about the character. I didn't like the format of the story, and there are hardly any good words in this. The reading level of this is about 5th-6th grade, but I read at a much higher level than this, so it was easy for me to read. I really didn't like this book.
Jul 07, 2016 Becky rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've been broken hearted by the news over and over again, I'm world-weary, I'm conflicted on my own beliefs, and I have no answers for this world- and I've been in a reading rut, which probably has to do a lot with the suffocating depressiveness of the last few weeks in America.

But this book helped me. Yes, I thought a few of the depictions were problematic, but overall it was charming, heart warming, and I cried my way through most of it. Brilliantly narrated on Audible, it was truly a boon to
Stephanie Hawkins
Jan 15, 2008 Stephanie Hawkins rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Stephanie by: Janet Kaufman (college professor)
This book is fantastic! Told from the viewpoint of several different community members from various backgrounds, it is the story of a community pulling together to overcome racism, stereotypes, and social injustice. It all begins with a Vietnamese girl who goes to the abandoned lot to plant a bean seed and an elderly white woman who thinks she's hiding drugs and goes down to investigate. When she discovers that the girl was actually planting seeds, she feels so horrible that she starts helping h ...more
Elliott "Stormblessed" Austin

This book is pretty boring. It has some of the most cookie-cutter characters I have seen in a long time. And there are 13 main characters. They all seem to be determined for something. This book has no tension. None. You don't care about any of the characters because of how a new one is introduced to you in EVERY CHAPTER. The writing is also boringly mediocre.
Steve Cran
Dec 07, 2012 Steve Cran rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One can never tell just how deeply one simple action can change the world or your community. A young girl named Kim who came from Vietnam lives in an innner city area of Cleveland Ohio. She is mourning the deth of her father at an ancestral altar. He was a farmer before he was killed in a war. To cultivate a connection she plant thre beans in an abandoned lot. THe three seeds gow into plants but whatalso starts a snowball effect of a whole lot of positive. Elderly Ana looks down from her apartme ...more
I like the idea of a book about a community garden that brings people together. However, Fleischman's book which lets his audience "see people making something of themselves instead of waiting for a welfare check" (spoken by Florence on pg. 85) is hugely problematic given that Fleischman is a white guy from California that doesn't seem to be on welfare. I found his depictions of people of color to be essentializing and derogatory, while the character that he admitted to crafting after himself, t ...more
Apr 13, 2008 Megan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the latest read-aloud in my room. In choosing it I knew I would have to edit some material as I read. The characters speak honestly about drugs and pregnancy, which is great, but not altogether appropriate for ten year olds. The story is about the creation of a community garden in Cleveland. Each chapter is told by a different character who has been (or is in the process of being)changed by the garden. The story is told simply and without preaching its message. By caring for living thing ...more
Tu Nguyen
“Seedfolks” by Paul Fleischman is a short novel about a vacant lot which connected a community. I wouldn’t recommend that story to other readers. The story focused on new characters in separated chapters. The author didn’t repeat the previous characters. There is also no ending about how the community was connected.

First of all, the story has many different characters with different cultures and they all have a separate story with their own reasons to start planting something in the vacant lot.

Have you ever read a book you didn't like? Well I’m going to tell you why I didn't like Seedfolks. This book is realistic/multicultural fiction. There are people from all across the world in it. I think that something unique about Seedfolks is that each chapter switches from different character's points of view. The author, Paul Fleischman is from Santa Monica and now lives in Aroma. He has a history of gardening and there are some good gardening facts in the book. Seedfolks is about a communit
Blake Medford
Oct 17, 2012 Blake Medford rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think that Seedfolks would be a good book to use in a middle grades classroom. It would be an ideal book to use in my own opinion in a class that has multiple mixed races and different languages. The book shows how despite not knowing anything about a particular person you can get to know them. The book starts with no one speaking to each other and all the watchers assuming that the little girl who started the garden was hiding drugs, money or a gun. As the book goes on though the groups of pe ...more
Feb 07, 2015 Jordan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In a rundown neighborhood in Cleveland, Ohio, a young Vietnamese girl becomes a catalyst for authentic, grassroots change. In an attempt to captivate the spirit of the father she never knew, Kim plants lima beans in a vacant lot, amidst the rat nests and broken car parts.

And then the neighbors notice. They do the same, and discover the power of growing, building, and changing something for the better.

Okay, it's a little saccharine. But my students liked it, and I think there needs to be a litt
Jun 04, 2008 Donalyn rated it it was amazing
When a young girl plants seeds in an abandoned lot in her neighborhood, she plants seeds that bring together her immigrant community. Each chapter tells the story of one neighbor and their experiences in the garden.

This is a great read aloud or engaging novella for a reluctant reader.
Nov 02, 2014 Hieu rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Actually not that bad, it was interesting because it talked about food, and I like food, which made it interesting... but I liked the structure of the book with each chapter about one person also.
Nancy Kotkin
Wonderful example of a story cycle novel for young adults, though adults can enjoy it as well. In an economically-challenged Cleveland neighborhood, a racially and ethnically diverse group of neighbors turn a trash-filled vacant lot into a community garden. Each short chapter introduces a new POV character, ranging in age from pre-teen to elderly. These people portraits fill in the plot, but it's really a character-driven story. Just like the neighborhood garden, the novel weaves a mosaic of str ...more
Dec 04, 2015 18taliaa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Have you ever imagined that thirteen people, from thirteen different cultures, with thirteen different personalities could come together to make a garden? Probably not, but somehow the Seedfolks can do it. Seedfolks, is a realistic fiction book by Paul Fleischman. Realistic fiction books are stories that are not true but they very real and believable. One thing that is unique about this particular book is that each chapter is written from a different character's perspective. At times this was c ...more
Dec 04, 2015 18naomia rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Imagine, An old, smelly, rat infested lot, in Cleveland Ohio sounds like no place for a garden but, then think of it transformed into a community garden. But that is what happens in Seedfolks by Paul Fleischmann. Paul fleischman also wrote Whirlwig and Bull Run. The genre of Seedfolks is realistic fiction and multicultural fiction. Realistic fiction means the book could happen in real life but it didn't happen. Multicultural fiction means that in the book there are many different cultures and l ...more

A vacant lot, rat infested and filled with garbage, looked like no place for a garden. Seedfolks is a realistic fiction multicultural book. This book has 13 points of view and characters from Korea to Romania. It’s great to see the same situation from 13 different peoples eyes. Paul Fleischman used the real world in his novel and he did it well, that’s no small task!
Can the power of 13 different people make an eyesore a beauty that helps to feed people? Can the dedication of 13 totally differ
Larry Bassett
Jun 08, 2016 Larry Bassett rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
This is a short but wonderful audible book with so many readers of different heritages and origins who come together in a vacant lot in Cleveland Ohio to create a community and a community garden. My father lives in Michigan where I grew up and he will be 96 in October if he lives until then. About a month ago he fell in his bathroom in his assisted living facility and hurt his head. Just recently he had to move out of independent living into a nursing facility. He is having a hard time. One of ...more
Jun 27, 2007 Heather rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: EVERYONE!
This book is such a great read and promotes happiness everywhere! :)
I just re-read this after having read it in college, summer 2003. I was taking a class called (GET READY): Education Theory and Policy, Introduction to Philosophy of Education, taught by Madhu Prakash, this amazingly beautiful Indian woman who always glowed and no one really knew how old she was though she looked so young...she always drank this mysterious beverage which she made from all organic products including wheat berry..
A great book to read just before the blizzard is to cover us up. I needed some inspirational garden reading when everything is quiet and frozen outside.

This book starts with one little girl planting 4 bean seeds in memory of her father. The neighbors notice the garbage filled lot in which she is planting the seeds. It's an inner city lot.

Each small chapter tells the story of a person and how they come to start their own little plot planting. A community garden is born, re-establishing community
Kylie Hart
3.5/5 stars

I was actually given this book, when I graduated 8th grade, by my history teacher, Mrs. Siner. It was kind of unexpected but I thought that it was a nice gesture. I love being given books and this one was no exception.

I remember just one day during the summer I picked it up and just read it. I was surprised that I liked it because it was different from everything I usually read. I became almost mesmerized by how all of the different POVs were intertwined and connected.

It is nice to t
Linda Robinson
Apr 11, 2012 Linda Robinson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
We don't get to spend much time with the characters in this little charming book, but I feel happy imagining the gardeners through the seasons, the years, getting to know each other more, welcoming new planters, saying good-bye to garden friends who pass on. I hope Maricela teaches her baby about the soil and the birth of serendipitous acquaintance. I imagine Lateesha realizes that a tomato plant can hold her heart. And Kim reminded me that I love lima beans, and I'll plant some this season in o ...more
Oct 12, 2016 Oliver rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman is a somewhat exciting book that has a lot of characters and events happening in the story. The author also puts in some detail to make this book interesting and fun to read. This book also tells about a young girl who wants to grow a garden, but has no space, so she figures out a way to grow some beans. This book was a just right book to me and I would recommend this book to people who like emotional books.
Oct 06, 2016 Alex rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What I think about this book was that it had a lot of good details. Also I liked the way the author wrote the story. My favorite part of the story was when the introduced the character Sae Young. I liked this part because I got to read this part in a Asian accent. I rated this book five stars because it had really good details and it had a really good plot to it.The plot was the author introducing new characters from around the world coming together as a community.
Aug 01, 2014 Hannah12102 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I really despised this book. I was required to read it for school, and would refrain from reading as much as possible. I thought the problem and solution in this story was weak, and i felt like nothing really exciting happened. The chapters were really short, and i found my self flipping back in the book to refresh my memories of each character.
Amie Burton
Dec 31, 2015 Amie Burton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to check "a book you can read in one day" of my challenge list and this seemed doable- not only that it but perfect to begin a new year! The greatest lesson that I will take never know what planting one little seed with produce.
Sep 23, 2013 Rhea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: thoughtful middle school kids
Recommended to Rhea by: school
Read in 6th grade. Taught me a lot of things, such as how communities are formed. Very interesting, very lovely.
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I love this book. 1 2 Sep 01, 2016 05:55AM  
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Paul Fleischman grew up in Santa Monica, California. The son of well-known children's novelist Sid Fleischman, Paul was in the unique position of having his famous father's books read out loud to him by the author as they were being written. This experience continued throughout his childhood.
Paul followed in his father's footsteps as an author of books for young readers, and in 1982 he released
More about Paul Fleischman...

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“Television, I'm afraid, has isolated us more than race, class, or ethnicity.” 5 likes
“You can't see Canada across Lake Erie, but you know it's there. It's the same with spring. You have to have faith, especially in Cleveland. Snow in April always breaks your heart.” 4 likes
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