MCBD 2019 Book Recommendation – LILY by Sandra Smith

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Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2019 (1/25/19) is in its 6th year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Our mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in homes and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents and educators. I love participating each year in this movement.

Title: Seed Savers, Lily

Author: Sandra Smith

Publisher: Flying Books House, 2018

Ages: 9-12

Genre: Dystopian

#2 in Seed Savers series

Themes:  gardens, seeds, friendships, resistance, corporate power, diversity, politics, Japanese-Americans, eating fresh produce, secrets, betrayal, love


My name is Lily. When I first heard Clare and Dante were missing and presumed runaway, I couldn’t believe it. Clare is my best friend, after all, and her brother Dante like the brother I never had. Hadn’t I just seen them? Didn’t I see them practically every day?


When her friends disappear under mysterious circumstances, thirteen-year-old Lily sets out to discover more about the secret organization with which they had become 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 about whom she should 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 a suspenseful and reflective book with themes of self-empowerment, trust, acceptance of diversity, gardening, and politics. (publisher)

Why I like this book:

#2 is a series, but reads well as a stand-alone (I haven’t read the first but will now about Clare and Dante!) This is an action and secret packed adventure story for 5th to 7th grade. It is a fast, fun dystopian with a refreshing focus on gardens and seeds. Because of its length and pacing, I actually think it would make a great class read-aloud (which I hope you are still doing even in middle school!)

The premise of this series is intentionally scary because it is something that could really happen and links well with many environmental food-source issues we are discussing with our children.  In this book, Lily, a Japanese-American 13-year-old who was left behind when Clare and Dante escaped to Canada, knows she need to find out the truth about her father whom she thought was dead, and she knows she’s got to be even more involved in the seed saver movement. I enjoyed the mentor character, Anna, who entrusts these children with teaching, contraband seeds, and a few illegal books. Making new friends and commitment to old friends is also explored in this novel. Lily has her first crush and starts to have to learn to make decisions independent of her friends. And she contemplates the power and conflict inherent in secrets. Lily tries to figure out whom she can trust and which lies are true. 

The text offers wonderful incidental opportunities for readers to learn much about gardening, preservation, conservation, cooking with fresh produce, all of which happen to be passions of mine. This content can definitely offer teachers opportunities for extension activities in the classroom.

She has to grapple with her commitment to the cause and her new lifestyle. Seed Savers is about questioning the world around, problem-solving, becoming involved in making the world a better place, and our consequent personal growth.

Arc provided by Author

Resources/Info MCBD:

MCBD 2019 is honored to have the following Medallion Sponsors on board!

*View our 2019 Medallion Sponsors here:
*View our 2019 MCBD Author Sponsors here:

Medallion Level Sponsors

Honorary: Children’s Book CouncilThe Junior Library

Super Platinum: Make A Way Media

GOLD: Bharat BabiesCandlewick PressChickasaw Press, Juan Guerra and The Little Doctor / El doctorcitoKidLitTV,  Lerner Publishing GroupPlum Street Press,

SILVER: Capstone PublishingCarole P. RomanAuthor Charlotte RiggleHuda EssaThe Pack-n-Go Girls,

BRONZE: Charlesbridge PublishingJudy Dodge CummingsAuthor Gwen JacksonKitaab WorldLanguage Lizard – Bilingual & Multicultural Resources in 50+ LanguagesLee & Low BooksMiranda Paul and Baptiste PaulRedfinAuthor Gayle H. Swift,  T.A. Debonis-Monkey King’s DaughterTimTimTom BooksLin ThomasSleeping Bear Press/Dow PhumirukVivian Kirkfield,

MCBD 2019 is honored to have the following Author Sponsors on board

Honorary: Julie FlettMehrdokht Amini,

Author Janet BallettaAuthor Kathleen BurkinshawAuthor Josh FunkChitra SoundarOne Globe Kids – Friendship StoriesSociosights Press and Almost a MinyanKaren LeggettAuthor Eugenia ChuCultureGroove BooksPhelicia Lang and Me On The PageL.L. WaltersAuthor Sarah StevensonAuthor Kimberly Gordon BiddleHayley BarrettSonia PanigrahAuthor Carolyn Wilhelm, Alva Sachs and Dancing DreidelsAuthor Susan Bernardo, Milind Makwana and A Day in the Life of a Hindu KidTara WilliamsVeronica AppletonAuthor Crystal BoweDr. Claudia MayAuthor/Illustrator Aram KimAuthor Sandra L. RichardsErin DealeyAuthor Sanya Whittaker GraggAuthor Elsa TakaokaEvelyn Sanchez-ToledoAnita BadhwarAuthor Sylvia LiuFeyi Fay AdventuresAuthor Ann MorrisAuthor Jacqueline JulesCeCe & Roxy BooksSandra Neil Wallace and Rich WallaceLEUYEN PHAMPadma VenkatramanPatricia Newman and Lightswitch LearningShoumi SenValerie Williams-Sanchez and Valorena Publishing, Traci SorellShereen RahmingBlythe StanfelChristina MatulaJulie RubiniPaula ChaseErin TwamleyAfsaneh MoradianLori DeMonia, Claudia Schwam, Terri Birnbaum/ RealGirls RevolutionSoulful SydneyQueen Girls Publications, LLC

We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive CoHost Team who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who also works tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts HERE.

Co-Hosts and Global Co-Hosts

A Crafty ArabAgatha Rodi BooksAll Done MonkeyBarefoot MommyBiracial Bookworms, Books My Kids Read, Crafty Moms ShareColours of UsDiscovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes, Descendant of Poseidon ReadsEducators Spin on it Growing Book by BookHere Wee Read, Joy Sun Bear/ Shearin LeeJump Into a BookImagination Soup,Jenny Ward’s ClassKid World CitizenKristi’s Book NookThe LogonautsMama SmilesMiss Panda ChineseMulticultural Kid BlogsRaising Race Conscious ChildrenShoumi SenSpanish Playground

TWITTER PARTY Sponsored by Make A Way Media: MCBD’s super-popular (and crazy-fun) annual Twitter Party will be held 1/25/19 at 9:00pm.E.S.T. TONS of prizes and book bundles will be given away during the party. GO HERE for more details.


Free Multicultural Books for Teachers: 

Free Empathy Classroom Kit for Homeschoolers, Organizations, Librarians and Educators:

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1 Response to MCBD 2019 Book Recommendation – LILY by Sandra Smith

  1. Mia Wenjen says:

    Thank you so much for your support of Multicultural Children’s Book Day! Seed Savers sounds like an epic adventure! I can’t wait to read it!

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