Melissa's Reviews > Seedfolks

Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman
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Feb 28, 10

bookshelves: young-adult, annotated-bibliography

Snapshot:
Each chapter of this book is in the voice of a different character who comes to the garden that sprouts up organically (all bad puns intended) in a vacant lot in a poor Cleveland neighborhood. As we hear the voices of a young Vietnamese girl, a young black man recently dumped by his girlfriend, a retired Jewish man, and so on, we see the garden take shape and form a place of community and a beacon of hope in the neighborhood. I loved it. Maybe this is because of my current obsession with urban gardening, but I think it's also a result of my enduring interest in urban communities and the coming together of people of different backgrounds within these communities. It was the first YA book I had read in a wicked long time (read in preparation for a BTR demo, but then scrapped for various reasons). Anyway, fine writing.

Hook:
There are lots of community gardens around us! Did you ever think about how they got there?

Challenges:
Not everybody likes gardening as much as Melissa. Oh, but seriously, the story could be hard to follow for those not accustomed to shifting voices. The reader has to put together the pieces.

Student in Mind:
Students in ESL 2. Even more advanced ESL 1. I am planning on using this during Spring 2010, and will update thereafter.

Conference notes:
At the beginning, it would be important to explain the structure to inexperienced readers or ELLs. Subsequent questions could focus on what the different characters are looking for and/or finding in the garden.

Level: Ages 10 and up, it says on the back cover. The reading is not too challenging, as this suggestion indicates, and the chapters also can stand alone as stories for those without much reading stamina.
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