by Paul Fleischman
Sure, this book has thirteen main characters and they're all important (go check out the "Ensemble Cast" analysis), but we're thinking Kim may just be a wee bit ahead of the pack in terms of protagonists. Why? Because she's the first person to plant seeds in the vacant lot. Yep, Kim is the gal who gets the whole community garden started.
But here's the funny thing: Kim doesn't even know how important she is to the story. She's a nine-year-old gal whose family comes from Vietnam, and most of her story is about missing her dad, who died before she was born. But her past starts a fire in her, and she wants to work hard on growing her six lima beans so she can connect with her father:
He would watch my beans break ground and spread, and would notice with pleasure their pods growing plump. He would see my patience and my hard work. I would show him that I could raise plants, as he had. I would show him that I was his daughter. (1.7)
We can tell right from the beginning that this is going to be one meaningful garden.
Not only is Kim a persistent gal, but she's also a dreamer. What do you think of her hard work in planting these lima beans? And what do you think about her wish to build a relationship with her dad? Not quite your typical nine-year-old, huh?