In the book Seedfolks, how would you describe the neighborhood that Kim lived in?
Paul Fleischman’s inspiring young adult novella Seedfolks takes place in a dilapidated urban neighborhood of Cleveland on Gibb Street. The story is structured as a series of vignettes, with each chapter written from the point of view of a different character. Kim’s story begins the book, describing a vacant lot beside her apartment building that is populated by rats and littered with “tires and trashbags” and “a rusty refrigerator.”
In the next chapter, Ana describes how the “working-class” neighborhood changed over the years with various ethnic groups moving in and out until “steel mills and factories closed and everybody left, like rats. Buildings abandoned… Always the sirens, people killing each other.” She goes on to describe the recent influx of immigrants, “twelve people sometimes in one apartment” in this low income housing. Next, Wendell echoes the violence prevalent in the neighborhood, saying his son was “shot dead like a dog in the street.”
As each character adds his or her voice to the narrative, they paint a picture of a neighborhood plagued by violence and poverty, a place where neighbors keep to themselves and have no trust in one another. The beauty of this story is in the power of a child with the seed of an idea: a garden. This idea grows into a community garden that brings neighbors together, empowering them to transform their neighborhood for the better.