Monday, August 19, 2013

Previewing Seedfolks

IWBAT read the first chapter of Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman, in order to identify the character's internal traits, external traits, contribution, and reason for involvement.

1. Do Now & Homework Check

2. Preview Socrative: Go to Socrative. Enter the room number kba. Click Join Room.

3. Define Community:

4. Anticipation Questions: On Socrative, you will show how strongly you agree or disagree with a statement.

5. Preview the Book: Complete this form.

6. Learn About the Author:
Paul Fleischman is a Californian who likes to read while he enjoys his morning cup of coffee and a bagel. Frustrated when he couldn't find a copy of the local newspaper, he picked up a free new age newspaper and was “instantly rewarded.” There he found an article about a psychotherapist who used gardening as therapy. She mentioned that doctors in ancient Egypt prescribed walking through a garden as a cure for the insane. “That’s the line that set the hook deep,” he stated in an interview.
From there, he began to develop memories, ideas, and newspaper stories. Interviewing others who have experienced therapeutic gardening, he began to develop the various characters for his new book, Seedfolks. It is set in the present where the story is told from the points of view of 13 different multicultural characters. The setting is a patchwork of plots in the community garden. Several characters are developed from his association with people and their experiences, while others are completely fictional. “For me, the ancient Egyptians were right. A stroll through a community garden leaves me happy and hopeful,cheered by the sight of what we can accomplish together.” 

7. Questions for the Author:
Where did the idea for Seedfolks come from?
In a place where many of my books have started: the newspaper. I spotted an article about a local psychologist who used gardening as a therapy for her clients. I’d been looking for a setting that would bring a varied cast together. Suddenly, I realized I’d found one—not the garden in the article, but a community garden.

Are parts of the book autobiographical?
My parents were true plant people, gradually replacing the front lawn with fruit trees and even a cornfield. My mother had also volunteered in a garden at a veterans’ hospital, teaching shell- shocked soldiers how to raise plants. There’s a little of her in Nora, the nurse, and a little of me in Sam. Like him, I like to bring people together. I’m also in Kim, since my mother had recently died and I was wishing she could read the books I was writing—especially this one.

How did you choose the title?
Seedfolks is an old word for ancestors. I’d come across it somewhere in my reading and had planned to use it for a very different book—interviews with first- generation immigrants who’d planted their families in the United States. It’s a subject close to me, having two sons adopted from Mexico.

What research did you have to do?
I’ve never lived in Cleveland and have never had a plot in a community garden. So I visited gardens, took notes, asked questions. I read books on Cleveland, recent immigrants, and gardening. I remembered the melting pot neighborhoods I’d lived in Berkeley, Omaha, and Albuquerque. Writers learn how to find out what they need to know.

Why did you tell the story from many characters’ points of view?
I seem to have been born with a multitrack mind and wanted to write music rather than books when I was young. Before Seedfolks I’d written two collections of poems for two speakers. Then came Bull Run, an account of the Civil War battle from sixteen characters’ points of view, my attempt at something symphonic. That work was the first use of the form in novels for children as far as I know. It’s now commonplace because of its many advantages: Writers get to write in different voices, can show events from different perspectives, and get to present an unpredictable, kaleidoscopic surface to their readers.

8. Read Chapter 1: Kim

9. A Local Connection: The Quesada Garden Initiative, Bayview-Hunter's Point, San Francisco

Homework: Help for the Homeless and Capital-less

No comments:

Post a Comment