(This review was written for the original version, published under the name “S. Smith.”)
Seed Savers: Treasure (Book 1) is a work of fiction, written for age 9 through young adult readers. The subject matter in the book is somewhat based on discussions of current world events suggestive of GMOs, interest in global food supplies, and the science that currently drives these topics. As Master Gardeners, we are non-political of course. But this book is so much more than just an acknowledgement of those issues.
It is engagingly written to provoke thought among today’s youth, while also providing a backdrop of a very entertaining literary experience.
This book was the 2013 Runner-up in the Young Adult Category of the Green Book Festival, which honors “books that contribute to greater understanding, respect for, and positive action on, the changing worldwide environment.”
The book is set in an era of America when gardens no longer exist as an option for citizens to grow their own food. In fact, the word “garden” and all books that relate to such activities have been banned.
Three young children, Clare, Dante, and Lily, thirst for knowledge about how plants grow and what food is that comes from plants. They find fun, some dangers, and mostly, adventures along the way. They learn lost American skills from an elderly woman, Ana, who shares information about what food-producing plants are, their parts, growing methods and the fruits and vegetables that result. Ana belongs to a secret society known as “Seed Savers.”
Imagine a world where children have no knowledge of the origin of food? It’s not really that far-fetched, of course. When Ginny Stibolt (author of Organic Methods for Vegetable Gardening in Florida, University Press of Florida, 2013) visited with us last month, she related a story about an adult who took children to her garden to “pull” a carrot. When the carrot was pulled out of the ground, the children were “horrified” that the woman had apparently “buried her carrots in the dirt!”
It is an unfortunate truism that the vast majority of today’s children are no longer “connected to the soil” or know how food is produced.
The children in the book Seed Savers: Treasure learn about seeds, what different seeds look like, what they produce, and how plants are cultivated. Now, Agri-Fest fans—of what does that remind you? This book is“right on” in presenting children with the wonders of agriculture and food production and how it should be a focus in understanding everyday living. Additionally, young readers can identify with the children in the story as they become empowered to effect change through what they have studied.
Clare, Dante, and Lily have many adventures as they thirst to learn about seeds and plants, while avoiding and even outrunning those that would thwart their efforts—and, making new friends along the way. Children love reading about and keeping “secrets” and this book is a childhood adventure and mystery romp.
There is much to like about this book, and I personally look forward to reading the next installments of the series.
Look also for Seed Savers: Lily (Book 2), which is also currently available in paperback or Kindle version, and Seed Savers: Heirloom (Book 3), which will be published this fall. Perhaps…a wonderful “gift trilogy” for that special young person you know! And—if you don’t have a special young person right now, by all means get the books for yourself!
Can children save the world? Who would ever think they couldn’t?
UF/IFAS Master Gardener
Originally Published 2013 in The Ragweed (Newsletter), which
has now been replaced by another newsletter to MGs.