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by Paul Fleischman

Seedfolks Introduction

In A Nutshell

We've got a question for you, Shmoopers, and this one's a doozy: why can't we all just get along?

We're not trying to bum you out, but it's true: life is full of disagreements. Sometimes it's a small thing, like a brawl with your sibling over who finished the ice cream (obviously it was your sibling.) And sometimes it's much, much bigger. Whatever the issue, Paul Fleischman is here to give us a solution to our problem: a garden.

Wait, a garden? Like some soil and some flowers?

Yep, you read that right. In his novel Seedfolks, we've got a garden that's bringing people together like whoa.

So here's the deal: Seedfolks takes us to a neighborhood in Cleveland, Ohio where, well, let's just say not everyone gets along. We're talking prejudice, racism, the whole nine yards. So the bad news is that our characters have a lot of issues to overcome. The good news? Things are about to change when a handful of neighbors take over a vacant lot and start up a community garden.

Ever since Fleischman published Seedfolks in 1997, it's been a super popular book—it was even nominated for the 2012 Hans Christian Andersen Award. And don't pretend you're surprised. After all, it's a good read and gives us the key to world peace. Pretty decent combo.


Why Should I Care?

It's great to feel like you belong somewhere, don't you think? But here's the rub: community sure isn't easy to come by. Nope—it can actually be super tough to find your place. Perhaps you've moved to a brand new city and had trouble finding new chums. Or maybe you're starting a new school year and you're worried about fitting in. We've all been there.

You know who else has struggled to find community? The characters in Seedfolks, that's who. Yep, even in a big city like Cleveland, the characters in Seedfolks have a tough time finding a group of people they can call their community. In fact, for years, tons of the neighbors who live by Gibb Street don't even know each other's names.

But when one little girl decides to plant some lima beans, she changes the whole neighborhood for good. Once neighbors start growing plants side by side, then they get to know each other. They share fruits. They swap flowers. And before you know it, these folks have such a sweet community that we're feeling all mushy inside.

Seedfolks has us remembering that it can be tough to find community, but sometimes we'll find it where we least expect it. Like in a teeny tiny lima bean.

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