Seedfolks The Nature Book List

A vacant, littered city lot in Cleveland is the setting for this transformative story of 13 diverse city-dwellers coming together around a community garden. The first gardener is nine-year-old Kim, an immigrant from Vietnam, who sneaks onto the lot to plant lima beans on a cold spring day in honor of her deceased father. As neighbors from all backgrounds and walks of life discover what is going on, they unite to plant a beautiful green oasis.


Educator notes:

  • Seedfolks has won many awards, including ALA Best Books for Young Adults (1998)
  • This short book represents immigrants from diverse backgrounds unifying for a single cause, and has been used with English Language Learners and community reading initiatives all over the United States
  • Many lesson plans and teaching guides are available for free or purchase online
  • You may also be interested in the Nature Booklist's pairing and active learning strategy for Weslandia, also by Paul Fleischman
Author: Paul Fleischman Illustrator: Judy Pedersen Publication year: 2004 (originally published in 1997) Publisher: HarperTrophy ISBN: 978-0064472074 Number of pages: 70 NAAEE: Strand 4: Personal and Civic Responsibility Find At Your Library


Gardening Lab for Kids: 52 Fun Experiments to Learn, Grow, Harvest, Make, Play, and Enjoy Your Garden  books

This book features activities for every week of the year centered around plants and gardening. Basic information is covered, including the parts of a plant, growing zones, how to plant, and materials. Sample projects include egg carton seed starting, salsa garden, bug scavenger hunt and wind chimes. Each activity features a list of materials and straightforward instructions to follow.


Educator notes:

  • There is something for everyone in this book with diverse activities
  • This author of this book is the Vice President of Education at the Cleveland Botanical Garden; Cleveland is where Seedfolks takes place!
Author: Renata Brown Illustrator: n/a Publication year: 2014 Publisher: Quarry Books ISBN: 978-1592539048 Number of pages: 136 NAAEE: Strand 1: Questioning, Analysis, and Interpretation Skills Find At Your Library
Topic: gardening, plants Age: Intermediate (4-8) Active Learning Strategy: Hands-On Experiment

Type: Small group/whole class activity


Title: Gardening Fun


Learning Objectives: The student will:

  • Follow instructions from an informational text to work collaboratively on an activity
  • Reflect personally on the experience


This activity involves students choosing an activity from the informational text, collaborating in small groups to complete it, and reflecting on the experience.



  • Copies of Seedfolks/Gardening Lab for Kids. Note, if only limited copies of Gardening Lab for Kids are available, the whole group may share a few of these for reference purposes.
  • Materials dictated by chosen activity from Gardening Lab for Kids
  • Paper and pens for each student
  • Whiteboard
  • Document camera/projector if available (okay if not)


  • Students will read Seedfolks

Direct Instruction

  1. In Seedfolks, a community of people from various backgrounds came together to plant and grow a garden. We will try some gardening of our own in this activity.
  2. Review with the group some of the highlights of the garden in Seedfolks. What did they grow, and how did they do it? Write feedback on the whiteboard.
  3. Students will review Gardening Lab for Kids together in small groups, or led by the librarian/educator on the document camera/projector (if available). As a class, choose on an activity to do together--vote if necessary.

Guided Practice

  1. In small groups, students will list the materials needed, and the basic steps to follow for the project. Once each group has had the chance to do this, the librarian/educator will seek their feedback and create a master list/instructions on the whiteboard.
  2. The librarian/educator will procure the necessary supplies before the next class session. 

Independent Practice

  1. Students will work either in small groups or as a class to follow the directions from Gardening Lab for Kids to create the gardening project.
  2. Once it's complete, students will write a paragraph reflecting on the experience.


  1. When everyone has completed their reflections, the librarian/educator will reconvene the class and facilitate a follow-up discussion. Some question prompts include:
    • How do you feel the activity went?
    • What did you learn from doing the activity?
    • Can you think of any connections of this activity to Seedfolks?
    • Why do you think that the author of Seedfolks used a garden to bring everyone together?
    • Would you like to try more gardening?

Notes about this strategy:

When it comes to gardening projects, there are many directions to take. If possible, the librarian/educator may prefer to have small groups select and create their own projects, instead of working on them as a large group. The reflection aspect of this activity helps students connect to the project individually.