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It really feels like summer now. The weather has warmed up and we are beginning to enjoy more outside activities.
This also means that school will be ending soon and the concerns of “summer reading slide” with be on every parent’s mind.
Scholastic has an excellent report called 10 Critical Facts about Summer Reading that addresses the issue of learning or reading skill losses during the summer months are cumulative, creating a wider gap each year between more proficient and less proficient students. By the time a struggling reader reaches middle school, summer reading loss has accumulated to a two–year lag in reading achievement.
Honestly, we’ve found that the best way to motivate readers during the summer months is to know what inspires them! Making reading an adventure and not a “task, chore, requirement” during the summer months is a great way to help the desire to read and getting them loving the written word. Most young readers enjoy a unique and riveting chapter book series. You know, the kind that keeps them on the edge of their seat and makes them want to “see what happens next?”
The Seed Savers: A riveting Middle-Grade Chapter Book Series
We found just such a five-book chapter book series with a topic that is exceptionally intriguing! In the Seed Savers series by Sandra Smith, readers are introduced to a futuristic world where growing food is against the law and gardening is a lost art. Three friends, Lily, Clare, and Dante, risk their safety by studying the taboo subject of gardening thanks to an elderly mentor named Ana. Always watching, however, is GRIM, the government agency that controls the nation’s food and keeps in check all potential troublemakers.
Will the children succeed in their quest to learn about gardening, and find a place of food freedom? More importantly, can they help change the world?
Seed Savors-Treasure Summary:
It’s in the year 2077, and the world is a very different place. Food, as we know it today, no longer exists. Regulated by the government, people are expected to live on five synthetic sustenance groups: Proteins, Carbos, Vitees, Sweeties, and Snacks. Naturally grown crops and garden fare are not only unheard of, they are also against the law to produce. There’s been no apocalypse, but other things like the weather, access to the internet, and public information have drastically changed. And not for the good either.
Seed Savers-Lily Summary
Seed Savers-Heirloom Summary
Thirteen-year-old Clare and her brother Dante have escaped to Canada where the old ways still exist. There that they make friends with 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. Heirloom is a hopeful dystopia in today’s current sea of post-apocalyptic literature.
Seed Savers-Keeper Summary
Beginning in a Pacific Islander village of climate refugees hidden deep in the Smoky Mountains and ending in an underground bunker in Portland’s Forest Park, Keeper is the fast-paced fourth installment in the Seed Savers series.
In Keeper, GRIM appears to be crumbling only to be replaced by FRND (the Food Resources & Nutrition Department), a corporate sponsored program with a more friendly public face. The Seed Savers Movement is on the verge of splintering as James Gardener’s fugitive status is viewed by some as a liability, while others don’t trust the mysterious JALIL. Trinia Nelson is bent on finding James and will stop at nothing. Earth Day parades turn into protests and someone is leaking classified government documents.
Meanwhile, Lily, Clare, and Dante, shut up in the bunker, become restless and begin sneaking out. In the park, they run into Rose, an acquaintance from summer tutoring. Will their desire to rekindle the friendship lead to forgiveness, or will it end in betrayal?
Seed Savers-Unbroken Summary
Although kidnapped by GRIM in an effort to strike back at her father–escaped former leader of the Seed Savers Movement–Lily quickly escapes with the help of sometime friend Rose. The girls camp out in Forest Park while plans are made for a safe rendezvous. Meanwhile, Jason and Monroe join up with the questionable group Radicle, using their Monitor skills to hack into suppressed information in an effort to topple an overreaching government. Tension rises amid massive protests as Independence Day approaches. Will lost freedoms such as food rights and open media be reclaimed? Don’t miss the explosive final installment of Seed Savers!
Something To Do -Discussion Questions
The days are getting warmer and longer and the desire to get our hands in the dirt is mounting. Imagine what life must be like for Lily, Clare, and Dante who have to garden in secret. What are some creative ways you could grow something?
What everyday items could be disguised as planters? Check out this article with some very cute and creative planter ideas!
Create an Indoor Starter Garden
A great way to grow food secretively (like the Seed Savers) is to start the seedlings indoors. Check out this great activity for kids from RainOrShineMama.
In the year 2077, all food is commercially created by the government and people are expected to live on five synthetic sustenance groups: Proteins, Carbos, Vitees, Sweeties, and Snacks. Naturally grown crops and garden fare are not only unheard of, they are also against the law to produce. What natural foods would you miss the most? Fruits? Sweet corn? Homemade bread?