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Countdown to Seed Savers-Heirloom

Today is the last day of 2018. Always a good time to take stock of how the year went and to look forward to the new year and new beginnings. Around here we’re excited for the release by my new publisher (Flying Books House) of a new and improved Seed Savers-Heirloom. Here’s the blurb in case you are new to the Seed Savers series:

It’s late in the twenty-first century and large corporations have merged with U.S. government agencies to control the nation’s food supply. Gardening is illegal and most people no longer know what real food is.

Thirteen-year-old Clare and her brother Dante have escaped to Canada where the old ways still exist. There they meet the roguish Jason and learn the political history of their own country’s decline of freedoms.

Meanwhile, Lily, the friend who was left behind, begins a journey to find the father she never met–a former leader in the ill-fated Seed Savers rebellion of fifteen years earlier. From Florida to the Smoky Mountains, Lily follows the signs in search of her father and is helped along the way by the quirky characters she meets. Not to mention the attractive Arturo who shows up midway to “protect” her.

Heirloom seamlessly weaves the gentle agrarian story of Clare and Dante together with the swiftly-paced adventure of Lily and Arturo. Themes of family, empowerment, and politics meet in this futuristic tale nostalgic for the past.

Here is the great new cover for Seed Savers-Heirloom:


Seed Savers-Heirloom is book 3 in the Seed Savers series, but don’t worry, you can start with it and be fine. The first book, Seed Savers-Treasure, is definitely middle grade reading material, while Heirloom edges up a little older.

Heirloom releases IN JUST 3 DAYS!!! (January 3, 2019). So if you’ve finished all those books you got for Christmas, here’s a new one to look forward to. Order (or preorder) your copy of Seed Savers-Heirloom today!

Seed Savers-Heirloom at Barnes & Noble

Seed Savers-Heirloom at Indiebound

Seed Savers-Heirloom on Amazon

Happy New Year! 🙂

Sandra Smith is the author of the awesome and award-winning middle grade/YA series, Seed SaversVisit her Facebook and Pinterest pages. Follow her on TwitterSign up for the newsletter!

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Seeds with Stories: Excerpt from Seed Savers-Heirloom

Now that Seed Savers-Heirloom is available for preorder, let me just say how much I enjoy this book. I know it sounds a little weird and very immodest, but I do love reading Heirloom, and believe me, I’ve read it numerous times in polishing, proofing, the re-release, etc. And I still always get drawn in…

Heirloom has dual storylines and even dual POVs. The exciting, adventurous storyline is the story of Lily, as told by Lily, as she travels across the country looking for her long-lost dad. The sweet country life of Clare and Dante, now gardening refugees in Canada, is less exciting but lovely. Their story also unveils the political history of the U.S. that led to the present state of illegal gardening.

I also think the new cover for Seed Savers-Heirloom is outstanding (shout-outs to illustrator Alan Baker and cover designer Shannon Bodie!), right down to the kudzu taking over the title!


Here is an excerpt from the Clare and Dante storyline that speaks to the book’s title, Heirloom. Clare and her Canadian host mom are browsing seed catalogues. (Something gardeners love to do in winter!)

Clare had been learning about the 1980s in school. It sounded like an interesting time to live, before too much technology or so many restrictions. But it was such a long time ago . . . Her brow furrowed as a new thought struck. “I thought people saved their own seed.”

Marissa laughed. “Some do. I save seed from a few plants. Cilantro, peppers, certain flowers. But this is easier. And it’s fun to look through catalogues and send for the pretty packets. What’s wrong?”

Clare’s mouth had turned down in a frown.

“It’s just that . . . well . . . what’s the big deal about Seed Savers if you can just buy seeds?”

“Oh honey,” Marissa said. “It is a big deal. What if what happened in the States happened here? People who save seeds are important. Besides that, there’s a lot to be said for having seeds suited to an area. Sometimes the seeds I order from catalogues don’t grow well here. On the other hand, locally grown and saved seeds are well adapted to a particular place and always do great. It’s important.”

“I don’t get what you’re saying.”

“Okay,” Marissa said, flipping ahead in the book, “let’s look at the tomatoes.”


Marissa pointed at a picture of long, red-striped tomatoes. “Striped Roman. OP—that stands for open pollinated. You know about pollination?”


“You can plant the seed from an open-pollinated tomato such as this and expect to grow the same tomatoes. Over time, plants change and adapt to the local growing conditions and year-to-year climate. So if I saved my own seeds, the plants from my seeds would be better for this area than seeds I randomly purchase. That’s why many places have seed banks and seed libraries. Food security.”

“Seed banks? Seed libraries?” Dante walked in just as Marissa was making her point about saving seeds. “Can I check out some seeds?” he asked, giggling. “How long do I get to keep them for? Do I hafta pay a fine if they’re overdue?”

“Oh go away, silly,” Clare said, unwilling to be interrupted.

“I’m hungry,” Dante complained.

“You are a growing boy. I suppose it wouldn’t hurt for you to have a small snack,” Marissa said. She saw the startled look on his face. “Not that kind of snack. Snack here still means eating a bit between meals, it’s not one of those ridiculous packaged food groups you’re used to . . . oh for heaven’s sake.”

“Warm up a bagel and have it with peanut butter,” Clare suggested, still nervous Marissa might get distracted before her questions were answered.

“Yes,” Marissa agreed, “that’s a fine idea. Can you handle that, Dante? Clare and I are in the middle of something.”

“Of course,” Dante answered, deepening his voice.

“Tell me about the seed banks and libraries,” Clare said.

“Hmm. Like I said, seed banks and libraries are about food security, knowing you’ll have food if you have access to seeds—and the ability to grow them, of course. A seed bank usually consists of volunteers who grow out plants that thrive in their area and then harvest and store the seeds. When there’s enough seed to share, they do that too. But there is always seed in the vault, so to speak.”

Clare was nodding her head. “And seed libraries?” she asked.

Marissa chuckled. “Well, just like Dante said, in some libraries you can actually “check out” seeds. You take some home, plant ‘em, save some of the seeds to bring back at the end of the season. Instructions come with each packet as well as a code for Monitor instructions. Each seed library works a little differently, but that’s the general idea. They’re not everywhere, but Hudson has one.”

Clare wanted to ask Marissa if they could visit the one in Hudson, but held back.

“One other thing,” Marissa said, “about buying seeds every year versus the importance of saving seed . . . see these?” She pointed at a photo of some thick-looking tomatoes dubbed Kobe Beefsteak. “F-1, that means these seeds are hybrids. With hybrids, the pollen of two varieties has been crossed to produce a new plant. I sometimes order hybrid seeds, but I would never be able to save seed from these plants. They wouldn’t be true, that is, wouldn’t grow the same beautiful tomatoes we see here. If anything ever happened and I couldn’t buy seeds, eventually I’d run out. People who plant and save non-hybrid, open-pollinated seeds are guaranteed a food source.”

“What about these?” Clare asked, pointing at the next page. “Heirloom? My mom said our Bible was an heirloom. I thought it meant an old thing passed down in families.”

“That’s right. All of the seeds marked heirloom are open-pollinated seeds that have been grown and saved and passed down in a family or community for generations. Seeds with stories, some people say.”

Clare’s eyes moved over the page slowly, caressing each photo of plump tomatoes, reading the enchanting descriptions and histories of the seeds.

Seed Savers-Heirloom at Barnes & Noble

Seed Savers-Heirloom at Indiebound

Seed Savers-Heirloom on Amazon

Sandra Smith is the author of the awesome and award-winning middle grade/YA series, Seed SaversVisit her Facebook and Pinterest pages. Follow her on TwitterSign up for the newsletter!


A Series the Whole Family Can Enjoy



For today’s post I’m going to step back and introduce my series for any new readers to the blog. So if you haven’t yet heard of my children/YA series, Seed Savers, here is a quick introduction:

Seed Savers is set in a future where gardening is illegal and real food unknown. Three young friends must decide what to do when they discover the truth about the “old ways” of food. Out to stop them is GRIM, the government agency controlling the nation’s food.

More information about each book in the series can be found here.

Who might enjoy this series?

  • adults who like children’s books such as Little House on The Prairie, Anne of Green Gables, The Giver. (The main characters in Seed Savers start out at age twelve.)
  • children who like adventure, but not violence
  • teens and tweens who like romance, but just a hint of it
  • people who prefer not to read profanity
  • those interested in speculative fiction
  • gardening class teachers
  • homeschoolers
  • folks who grew up on farms
  • folks who wish they had grown up on farms

But here, let other readers tell you about the series. Below are links to reviews written about Seed Savers books, or you can check their Amazon pages. (Since Seed Savers is currently being republished by Flying Books House, earlier covers from earlier editions appear in some of the reviews.)

Seed Savers – Treasure by Sandra Smith




Amazon Page to order Treasure

Amazon Page to order Lily

Amazon Page to order Heirloom

for other sellers of these books go here

The new Seed Savers-Heirloom goes on sale January 3, 2019. Don’t you love the cover?! Book 4, Keeper is scheduled to release in April, book 5, Unbroken in June.

If you have any questions or comments please use the comment box below. I enjoy hearing from you!

Seed Savers-Treasure is a recent Mom’s Choice Gold Award Winner!



Listen to Seed Savers-Treasure on audio!

Sandra Smith is the author of the awesome and award-winning middle grade/YA series, Seed SaversVisit her Facebook and Pinterest pages. Follow her on TwitterSign up for the newsletter!

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Seed Savers-Heirloom Cover Reveal!!

I am so happy!

The cover for Heirloom is finished! I think you will love this cover as much as I do. Here it is:


As most of you know, the Seed Savers books are being republished by Flying Books House. The new Heirloom goes on sale January 3, 2019 and will be up for preorder soon.

Heirloom follows the story of Lily as she seeks her long-lost father and of Clare and Dante who are now living in Canada as gardening refugees. The cover is filled with elements from both storylines!

I’ll be posting more about Heirloom in the coming days and weeks, but for now I just want to shout about the cover. Yay!!

You can find out more about the Seed Savers series here.

Sandra Smith is the author of the awesome and award-winning middle grade/YA series, Seed Savers. Visit her Facebook and Pinterest pages. Follow her on TwitterSign up for the newsletter!


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Seed Savers-Lily in the Classroom

In a previous post I explained how Seed Savers-Treasure could be used in the classroom. Today’s post will feature Seed Savers-Lily, the second book in the series and currently available in paperback and ebook. The Seed Savers series take place in a future where gardening is illegal and real food virtually unknown.

It should be noted that although Lily is the second book in the series, books one and two can be read in either order.


  • Paperback: 182 pages
  • Publisher: Flying Books House (August 30, 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1943345090
  • ISBN-13: 978-1943345090
  • Also available digitally
  • Available through Ingram or purchase online from your favorite retailer
It’s definitely not what she had in mind for summer vacation.

When her friends disappear under mysterious circumstances, thirteen-year-old Lily sets out to discover more about the secret organization with which they were involved. Her investigation unearths a disturbing secret from her own past, unsettling her world even more. 

In the meantime, Lily makes a new friend and falls for a mysterious young man even as she remains unsure whom to trust. As her world crashes down around her, Lily struggles to decide what to do next.

Lily is volume two of the Seed Savers series but can easily be read out of order. It is is a suspenseful and reflective book with themes of self-empowerment, trust, acceptance of diversity, gardening, and politics.

“In Lily, young people continue to secretly grow vegetables, an illegal act in their world. They form diverse friendships across ethnic lines as they search for truth behind unanswered questions. Lily encourages readers to bravely work for a better world!”
–Joyce Yoder, middle school teacher and principal

Themes: coming of age, friendship, trust & betrayal

Gardening topics: 

guerilla gardening

preserving food, i.e. drying, canning, freezing the harvest

making tea from herbs

indoor gardening

edible landscaping

Possible Subject Area Tie-Ins beyond Gardening and Language Arts:

Science: How can photosynthesis work in a basement greenhouse? Canning, drying as ways of preserving.

Math: measuring to plot a garden space; calculations for using drip irrigation for indoor gardening

Social Studies: food politics, culture and religion, sustainability, ethics (keeping secrets), climate change, racism, sanctuary

Art: depicting characters, setting, garden; designing seed packets

Technology: create a book trailer; create a video game; powerpoint book report

Sandra Smith is the author of the awesome and award-winning middle grade/YA series, Seed Savers. Visit her Facebook and Pinterest pages. Follow her on TwitterSign up for the newsletter!


Say Goodbye to Jack-O-Lantern & Hello to Pumpkin Pie!


A few weeks ago I helped out at our local community center with pumpkin carving. As I was chatting with some of the kids one of them asked, “Can this be made into pie?”

“Oh, yes,” I answered. “I always turn mine into pie.”


Now granted, I suppose there are better and worse types of pumpkin varieties for “best pie practices,” but I honestly use whatever I have. I proceeded to explain that when the jack-o-lantern starts to sag, they need to get a move on it. “It’ll start to grow gray hair,” I explained. I told them to throw that part away and cook the rest down, and then whir it up in a food processor. It wasn’t a step by step, just a quick explanation . . . answering the question and alerting them to the possibility.

My daughter had the same thing happen to her while carving with a child, and she was quick to answer “Yes!” too.

I love that kids ask, don’t you? It shows they’re putting two and two together. Hmm? Pumpkins . . . pumpkin pie?

Well I know for a fact that we have a couple Jack-O-Lanterns out on the porch starting to sag, so if you don’t mind, I best be off . . . I’ve already committed to taking a couple of pies to the community center Thanksgiving dinner . . .


Here is my favorite pumpkin pie recipe. I like this one because I’m too lazy anymore to separate the eggs and whip the whites. And rather than evaporated milk, this recipe uses condensed milk to get the sugar and milk all in one.

Pumpkin Pie

2 cups of pumpkin puree

1 (14 oz) can condensed milk

2 large eggs

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp salt

9 inch pie crust

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Whisk ingredients until smooth; pour into crust. Bake 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 and bake 35-40 minutes more until knife comes out clean.

Sandra Smith is the author of the awesome and award-winning middle grade/YA series, Seed Savers. Visit her Facebook and Pinterest pages. Follow her on TwitterSign up for the newsletter!

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Reveling in Fall Colors


In an area known more for large evergreen trees, fall in these parts has been spectacular this year. I know there’s a reason for this based on the weather, etc., but rather than research that, I’m just going to say how much I’m enjoying it. The bright yellows and reds actually seem to lighten up the outdoors even on cloudy days like today. And yes, western Oregon has lots of clouds for many months of the year.

I live in a neighborhood of “tree streets”: Maple, Hickory, Pine, Walnut, Cherry, etc. And the names are no accident. It’s an older neighborhood, so many of the trees are really large. And yes, the leaves are a job to rake up, but raking leaves is one of my favorite chores!! (I also enjoy sorting laundry in case you were wondering.)


And of course it’s not just the tree leaves that turn color, but also the blueberry bushes, the snowball bush, and even my blue hydrangeas have turned red!

Tonight we end daylight savings and it will start being dark by 4:30 soon . . . the part I hate most about winter. But until then, I dutifully rake up the leaves each day and haul them out to my compost pile in the alley.


I hope wherever you are (where it is fall!) that you’re also enjoying beautiful autumn colors!

Sandra Smith is the author of the awesome and award-winning middle grade/YA series, Seed Savers. Visit her Facebook and Pinterest pages. Follow her on TwitterSign up for the newsletter!

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