cover image Seedfolks


Paul Fleischman. Harper Teen, $14.99 (80pp) ISBN 978-0-06-027471-9

Arraying different voices like threads on a loom, Fleischman (Bull Run) weaves a seamless tale of the advent of a garden in urban Cleveland and how it unites a community. Here Fleischman slips with equal ease into the voices of a nine-year-old Vietnamese girl grieving for the father she never knew; a retired peace activist; a shopkeeper from Delhi; a dedicated British nurse; a 39-year-old Korean widow and crime victim hesitantly rejoining the world; a pregnant Mexican teenager; and seven other equally diverse characters. Fleischman carefully adds texture upon texture, crafting his story with wry humor and lustrous imagery: dead leaves reappear as the winter snows melt away ""like a bookmark showing where you'd left off""; beans inadvertently uprooted are laid back in the ground ""as gently as sleeping babies."" The story's quiet beauty unfurls effortlessly--and lingers after the final page has been turned. Ages 10-up. (May)