Publication Date: May 1997
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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 heart with a harvest of tomatoes; to Virgil's dad, who seems a fortune to be made from growing lettuce; and even to Mariclea, sixteen and pregnant, wishing she were dead.
Thirteen very different voices--old, young, Haitian, Hispanic, tough, haunted, and hopeful tell one amazing story about a garden that transforms a neighborhood.An old man seeking renewal, a young girl connecting to a father she never knew, a pregnant teenager dreading motherhood.Thirteen voices tell one story of the flowering of a vacant city lot into a neighborhood garden. Old, young, Jamaican, Korean, Hispanic, tough, haunted, hopeful'Newbery Medal winner Paul Fleischman weaves characters as diverse as the plants they grow into a rich, multi-layered exploration of how a community is born and nurtured in an urban environment.
00-01 Utah Book Award (Gr. 7-12)
Chosen as a state and citywide read in communities across the country:
Boca Raton, FL
Paul Fleischman grew up in Santa Monica, California in a house with a printing press, a grand piano, a shortwave radio, and his fatherchildrens author Sid Fleischman. Playing recorder in early music consorts led to his books of verbal duetsI Am Phoenix, Joyful Noise (winner of the 1989 Newbery Medal), and Big Talk. His novels built from monologues include Bull Run, a 16-character account of the Civil War's first battle, and Seedfolksthe chronicle of the first year of a Cleveland community garden. His interest in theater inspired his young adult novels Mind's Eye, Seek, and Breakout, all of which revolve around the spoken word. His historical fiction includes Saturnalia and The Borning Room. He's written nonfiction and picture books as well, including Time Train, Weslandia, and Sidewalk Circus.
Alongside the Newbery Medal, he's won a Newbery Honor Book, the Scott ODell Award for Historical Fiction, the PEN West Literary Award, the California Young Reader Medal, and most recently was a finalist for the 2003 National Book Award. He makes his home in the village of Aromas, California.
An inner-city Cleveland community is drawn closer together as it works to transform a dirty vacant lot into a lush communal garden in Seedfolks. Author Paul Fleischman says the title came from an old word meaning "ancestors." More at NPR.org
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