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3.75  ·  Rating details ·  14,018 ratings  ·  2,248 reviews
A Vietnamese girl plants six lima beans in a Cleveland vacant lot. Looking down on the immigrant-filled neighborhood, a Romanian woman watches suspiciously. A school janitor gets involved, then a Guatemalan family. Then muscle-bound Curtis, trying to win back Lateesha. Pregnant Maricela. Amir from India. A sense of community sprouts and spreads. 

Newbery-winning author Paul
Paperback, 102 pages
Published December 14th 2004 by HarperTeen (first published April 11th 1997)
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Sofia Ha, no!! Don't read it. Don't do it. You will regret it!!
Basically, it'll take you five minutes to read, and any book that short is probably not going…more
Ha, no!! Don't read it. Don't do it. You will regret it!!
Basically, it'll take you five minutes to read, and any book that short is probably not going to leave any impression on you. Plus, it's kind of racist at times. There is absolutely no character development or plot whatsoever. It's about a garden. Some people plant stuff in the garden. They are happy. There! I've summarized the entire book!(less)

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Average rating 3.75  · 
Rating details
 ·  14,018 ratings  ·  2,248 reviews

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Miranda Reads
Jul 18, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook

The word "paradise" came out of my mouth, without thinking.
An old Romanian woman keeps a keen eye on the neighborhood.

Her suspicious glance falls upon a young Vietnamese girl squatting in a vacant lot, poking at the ground.

Upon further inspection, she realizes that the young girl was planting lima bean seeds.
You have to have faith, especially in Cleveland.
Soon the entire community starts to notice - and the little garden begins to spread and the community will be forever chan
Rob Cannon
Feb 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
I've heard so many good things about this book, but I was bitterly disappointed.
What's marketed as an "inspiring story" is actually a poorly put together, racist collection of five-page-long stories with absolutely no character development.
First of all, since each character only has a little blurb from their point of view, they don't change at all and end up being the most two-dimensional characters I've ever seen. Their stories don't inspire me because they only have a page to explain their e
Dec 31, 2014 rated it it was ok
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
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 lat
Mariah Roze
Feb 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
I read this book to my students. It lead to great discussions about diversity and coming together as one.

"Kim begins the garden, planting a few lima beans to connect with her father who died when she was a baby in Vietnam. Then Tío Juan, a farmer from Guatemala, gains purpose when he teaches the neighborhood children how to plant. Soon curious neighbors join in and together they grow a beautiful garden. With each bean sprout and cucumber blossom the residents of Gibs Street find hope and meaning
Jun 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This very short novella (69 pages) is pure gold. A community grows connections and understanding while growing a garden. The many characters speaking in first person let you see how hard they find to feel part of their neighborhood, but at the same time they also show their own prejudices, which make difficult for others to feel integrated. They also let you see how they slowly outgrow those prejudices.
Jul 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 07, 2018 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: No one
My daughter read this book for school in 7th grade, but I'm not too keen on it. It's about a very diverse neighborhood coming together in the making of a community garden. Overall, the intent and the message of the book are positive. What troubles me is the delivery. I would not call this book "racist", but the writing incorporates various levels of "racial insensitivity", or a lack of "racial awareness".

Listed below (at the end of this review) are race-related excerpts from the book that I beli
Mar 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
Jan 08, 2018 rated it liked it
“We like our seeds, were now planted in the garden."

This book started as a girl planting 6 seeds in a pot that was been treated like a wasteland. Thirteen different view, with different background, country, age, thought...was tighten together by this garden. Everyone have different cultures, they’re just missing this chance, a chance to bring everyone together. The lot, which was a beautiful garden later, is the chance. This book is similar to another book I’d read, Wonder. Wonder is also a book
Elliott  Austin
Oct 14, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2-stars

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.
Stephanie Hawkins
Jan 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Steve Cran
Dec 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 13, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Feb 07, 2015 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
Amelia Talbot
It was a really good book. It is a little short but it is nice. I like the message it gives. I love how all the characters are different none of them are even close to alike but they all end up becoming better as a community.
Avery (Book Deviant)
Oct 27, 2017 rated it did not like it
heartwarming story but kinda racist? lmao. I won't be writing a full review for this. ...more
Sairey Pickering
Jun 16, 2020 rated it liked it
A delightful YA read! Might develop a unit around this for my 7th graders next year.
Tu Nguyen
May 02, 2014 rated it liked it
“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.
Dec 04, 2015 rated it it was ok

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 rated it really liked it
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 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
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.
Sylvia McKamy
Nov 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Was a good book I like it. I love how they all are connected some how. And all are form different backgrounds, country and live. How the garden brought them all together.
Nov 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
I had to read this book for English class. Now all of the following complaints would have been easily teachable moments that my teacher did not teach. I guess I'll let her get away with it, as she's probably the oldest teacher in the building and uses an overhead projector. I didn't even know what an overhead projector was until I got her!

Seedfolks was published in 1997, and many of the characters are old. None of these instances of racism are acknowledged as racism inside the book.

First, Ana,
Feb 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I read this charming book, written for tweens I'm guessing, in less than an hour today. I found a copy lying on one of the tables at the Literacy Center where I tutor and started leafing through it while one of my students was completing some exercises in a workbook. After the lesson I stayed behind and read the entire book.

A vacant lot in a rundown neighborhood in Cleveland, Ohio, is slowly transformed from a trash dump into a community garden when people start clearing sections of it to plant
Mikayla Beckman
May 07, 2020 rated it it was ok
Okay so I am a total complete nerd and here is why. This book was on the required reading list for a class I am in, but do to corona and the cancellation of school we were no longer required to read it. However, being the scholar I am, I decided to take it upon myself to read it. And I have regrets.

I got this book from my public library, which has become my number one source of entertainment during corona season. The first thing I noticed other than the lack of pages, was that on the spine it ha
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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

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Summer is perfect for plenty of things: mojitos, sleeping with the window fan on, and sprawling out with a hot romance novel (in a heavily...
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“Television, I'm afraid, has isolated us more than race, class, or ethnicity.” 7 likes
“The word "paradise" came out of my mouth, without thinking.” 5 likes
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