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Last updated Friday, April 13, 2007

Author: Paul Fleischman
Illustrator: Judy Pedersen
Date of Publication: 1997
ISBN: 0060274719
Grade Level: 4th    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Apr. 2007

Synopsis: From Amazon.com: Sometimes, even in the middle of ugliness and neglect, a little bit of beauty will bloom. Award-winning writer Paul Fleischman dazzles us with this truth in Seedfolks--a slim novel that bursts with hope. Wasting not a single word, Fleischman unfolds a story of a blighted neighborhood transformed when a young girl plants a few lima beans in an abandoned lot. Slowly, one by one, neighbors are touched and stirred to action as they see tendrils poke through the dirt. Hispanics, Haitians, Koreans, young, and old begin to turn the littered lot into a garden for the whole community. A gift for hearts of all ages, this gentle, timeless story will delight anyone in need of a sprig of inspiration.

Note to readers:
•  Read to page 28; then skip to page 58 and start reading from there.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Go around the circle and discuss where students and there parents are from. Share where volunteers are from. Try to find on a may where everyone comes from.
•  What do we call people who come to a country from somewhere else? [immigrants]
•  Do any of you or your families have gardens? What do you grow?
•  What do you think the title of this book means?
•  Do you know of any community gardens? What is a community garden?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Find Cleveland on a map. How do you think the weather in Cleveland is different from the weather in Los Angeles? How do weather and climate affect plants?
•  How does the garden get started?
•  Why are others drawn to the garden? How does the garden bring people together? What are their different reasons for wanting to garden?
•  Where are all of these people from?

Craft ideas:
•  On a grid (provided) create a wordsearch puzzle. Start with some of the words from the story, and then fill in random letters to hide the words. Keep a record of the “answers”: the words you started with. Trade wordsearch puzzles with another student.
•  Bring ahead option: Plant seeds. Bring ahead dirt, seeds, paper cups or an egg carton (cut into individual cups). Plant seeds for the children to take home with them.
•  Use pinto or lentil beans to make a design on paper. Glue the beans onto the paper with white glue.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!