Recently, my language arts class read a book called Seedfolks, by Paul Fleischman. It’s a short story about a neighborhood in Cleveland where, at first, barely anybody knows or cares about their own neighbors. But when a girl plants some beans in a corner of a vacant lot that people have been throwing trash into, people notice. Before long, the dirty, foul-smelling lot is a thriving garden, which changes everybody near it. The garden becomes a community. It gives hope to those who think their lives are hopeless, meaning to those who think their lives are meaningless, and family to those who have lost their own.
I love this book because it tells a story rich with complexity in under 60 pages. It weaves together the lives of thirteen very different people. It shows struggle and hardship honestly, yet it tells an ultimately happy story. It resembles reality in that, though it chooses to end where it does, it is clear that the story will keep going past the end of the book. It’s the kind of book that one can read over and over again, each time uncovering a new layer of meaning. Each chapter is written from a different character’s perspective, and as the story unfolds new conflicts arise and are conquered. Overall, I found Seedfolks a beautiful story, and I highly recommend it for a read that is quick yet will give you some food for thought.