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About the Author

Paul Fleischman's novels, poetry, picture books, and nonfiction are known for innovation and multiple viewpoints. He received the Newbery Medal for Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices and a Newbery Honor for Graven Images, and he was a National Book Award finalist for Breakout. His books bridging the page and stage include Bull Run, Seek, and Mind's Eye. For the body of his work, he's been the United States nominee for the international Hans Christian Andersen Award. He lives in California. www.paulfleischman.net.

Reviews

Gr 4 Up-As a vacant lot is transformed into a community garden, these vignettes give glimpses into the lives of the fledgling gardeners. As satisfying as harvesting produce straight from the vine. (May, 1996)

Fleischman's talent for writing stories from various points of view makes his works particularly appealing in audiobook form. Here, 13 different characters come alive via the distinct performances of a widely varied cast. When Kim, a young Vietnamese girl, plants some lima beans in a run-down vacant lot near her Cleveland, Ohio, apartment building, she has no idea that her actions will be a catalyst for reinvigorating the community. An elderly Romanian woman, a widower from Kentucky, an African-American boy and a Hispanic man are just a sampling of the other nearby residents who gradually emerge to follow Kim's unintentional lead and begin to help grow a new garden-and newly fulfilled lives-in the lot. Though not all the readings are of equal caliber (the portrayals of Ana and Wendell are particularly strong; a couple of the child performers lack polish), the range of voices and styles suggests a true community-certainly the author's intention. Ages 10-up. (Jan.)

"A beautiful, multicolored harvest. The message of diversity, people, and sensibility is universal, and beautifully cultivated by an author who has a green thumb with words."--School Library Journal (starred review)
"The story's quiet beauty unfurls effortlessly and lingers after the final page has been turned."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Each voice sings with the rhythm of culture and personality."--Children's Book Review Magazine
"The characters' vitality and the sharply delineated details of the neighborhood make this not merely an exercise in craftsmanship or morality but an engaging, entertaining novel as well."--ALA Booklist (starred review)
"Innovative. Effective."--Horn Book Magazine

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