Sigh... a day behind... but I plan to post this in the morning to catch up for yesterday and still get my ten things on Tuesday done before the end of the day... wish me luck! :-)
This week I'm writing about Seedfolks....
It is really crazy how this slim little book keeps making an appearance in our lives. It was just meant to be that Alex and I should read it.
I have a friend from our time in Texas that loves juvenile fiction as much as I do. This summer she sent me a note that she had just read the book Seedfolks and thought of us and the community garden we used to be a part of here in Chicago. I thought it sounded interesting, but didn't give it much thought. Then, later this summer, I was at the library while Alex was volunteering and sticking sideways out of the row of books was Seedfolks. I wasn't even sure that this was the book that my friend had mentioned, but it seemed close to what her description was, so I checked it out. I couldn't put it down. It's a really quick and compelling read. I had wanted Alex to read it, but, as usual, he was in the middle of another book and it had to go back to the library before he got to it. Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago... Alex's school decides that the sixth graders will be reading the book for discussion in their "home bases"! We just can't escape this book! :-)
The book is small, but powerful. It's the story of a community garden in a city (Cleveland) told from the perspective of the people who come to the garden. It doesn't start out as a garden, it starts out as an empty lot, filled with trash. But with the actions of one young girl, it slowly, but surely, becomes a garden. I like that with each new person, you learn more about the neighborhood and the people that make it up. Just like here in Chicago... you have the long time residents who have seen the changes in the population and those that are the changes in the population. You learn a little insight into the plight of recent immigrants. It all seems very real. It's not all perfect in the neighborhood with the garden, there are struggles and altercations along the way, but in the end, it seems as if everyone has been changed from their interaction with the garden. Each chapter is short and it's hard to not read just one more! I sat down to reread just the first chapter and ended up reading about six before I put it down. I'll probably read the rest of it later today. It may be a book that we need to own. I usually don't reread books, but there are a few exceptions, this may be one of them.
The other book I read this week was another juvenile fiction book, The Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place by E.L. Konigsburg. As I mentioned before, I really enjoy her books. This one gave me a bit of trouble at the beginning. Only because it starts out with the main character at a sleepaway camp with a bunch of "mean girls" who torture her. I'm always bothered by these portrayals of camp, because that was so not my experience with camp and neither of my children have had that experience in their years at camp. I get bugged by the generalization that at a sleepaway camp, you're either the torturer or the tortured. Clara, Alex and I have/had all experienced not so nice people at camp, but that's life! You learn to steer clear, make good friends and enjoy your time there. Anyway... back to the book. I hadn't really put this together, but this book relates to Seedfolks in that the main plot has to do with the changes to a neighborhood over time. The main character's uncles have been residents of the neighborhood from it's beginning and has seen extreme highs and lows. But the residents behind the most recent "renewal" effort, object to a project that the uncles started in their backyard some 40 years before. The book is about the fight to save this project. After I got through the camp stuff, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The main character is this book is a central character in Silent to the Bone which I read a couple of weeks ago. I don't think it matters which you read first since they happen at drastically different times in her life. Although, the order I read them in worked well, even if, chronologically, it was backwards.
I'm so excited... tomorrow is library day! I'm out of books to read, so I need to restock!