"God Almighty first planted a garden," Sir Francis Bacon once noted. In Paul Fleischman's novel Seedfolks, a junk-strewn, rat-infested city lot is transformed into an urban oasis, a process that transforms the gardeners' lives, as well. From the day when the secret plantings of a nine-year-old Vietnamese girl named Kim are discovered to be nothing more illicit than lima beans, the ugly lot is headed for changes. Neighboring apartment dwellers of all ages and many cultural backgrounds begin planting there, too, and soon a new society—a vital and diverse human family—has developed. Every main character has improved his or her own life as well as others', all the while setting in motion improvements among relatives, friends, chance acquaintances, and even passersby.
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