The Story of Seeds: Think Global, Act Local – Nancy F. Castaldo

 The Story of Seeds: Think Global, Act Local – Nancy F. Castaldo, Houghton MIfflin Harcourt; (9780358120179), 2020

Format: hardcover

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4

Genre: nonfiction

What did you like about the book? Seeds are the building blocks of life and an essential tool for human survival. The Story of Seeds looks first at the original plant scientists like Mendel, Burbank and Vavilov. Then Castaldo profiles people who are working to protect seed biodiversity and explores the modern seed crisis. From genetic modification to war to climate change, the threats to seeds and our food supply is explored in great depth. Seed vaults around the world exist to protect the future of plant diversity, but during times of war these seed vaults are often targeted. Castaldo heralds the brave scientists who endeavor to protect and hide stores of seeds like Dr. El Sheikh in Iraq. Another issue explored at depth is that of seed patents and the effect on farmers in developing countries. Farmers in India have actually been committing suicide in large numbers because they are not allowed to save their seeds from year to year. Final chapters address heirloom seeds, the “doomsday” vault in Norway, and more. Includes a call to action section, a list of seed companies online, a list of seed libraries, a glossary, suggested resources and an index. 

Well researched, clearly presented and beautifully constructed, this nonfiction book is perfect for research projects. Color images are scattered throughout along with pull-out definitions. Full page close-up color images of seeds start each chapter. Highly recommended.

To whom would you recommend this book?  Students doing research on food insecurity will find this book invaluable.

Anything you didn’t like about it? No

Who should buy this book? Recommended for most middle and high school libraries

Where would you shelve it? Nonfiction

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? no

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Laura Gardner, Dartmouth Middle School, Dartmouth, MA

Date reviewed: February 10, 2020


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