Treasure by S. Smith
It’s 2077. There’s no apocalypse, but some things are different. Things like the weather, the internet, and food. In twelve-year-old Clare’s world, blueberry is just a flavor and apples are found only in fairy tales.
One day Clare meets Ana, who teaches her about seeds and real food, despite suspicions that such actions are illegal.
When the authorities discover the children’s forbidden tomato plant and arrest their mother, Clare and her brother flee. Clare has heard of a place called “The Garden State,” and with their bikes, a little money, and backpacks, the children begin a lonely cross-country journey that tests them both physically and spiritually.
Will they succeed in their quest to find a place of food freedom? And can they, only children, help change the world?
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After three more days with Gruff, the children were ready to continue their adventure. He had gathered supplies for them, including food items, a map, another flashlight, and a few other odds and ends. Since they already carried quite a load, he convinced them to leave two of Ana’s books with him. He assured them there were still gardening books in the world, even if they weren’t easy to find. Gruff told the children that traveling by bicycle, at night, would be their best chance for escaping to the border. They spent many hours learning how to traverse the land without being seen.
“Move only at night,” he said. “Try to find good places to rest during the day. If you must travel in the light, make sure it is in sparsely populated areas. Wear your helmets and keep your heads low.”
He taught them how to read the night sky and how to find friends.
“Years ago, when gardeners had to go underground, so to speak, they developed signals still used today. When you looked up at my balcony what was the first thing you noticed?”
“Your purple flowers!” shouted Dante.
“Yes, the pansies. I wish you could have seen the lupines. Lupines were really the chosen flowers for our code, but alas, they finish blooming early in the summer around here. So we keep anything purple alive that we can,” he said smiling.
“What’s so special about lupines?” Clare asked.
“Well, for one thing, everybody has roses,” Gruff said winking. “The story is this: about a hundred years ago, a mountain in Washington state blew its top. Forests were blown away. The land was devastated. It’s said that the first plants to emerge from the ash-covered land were wild lupines. They’re tenacious—like us. We, the Seed Savers, will come back someday, too.”
“Wow,” said Dante.
“So, if we see some place with a lot of purple flowers, they might be friends?”
“Right,” said Gruff. “But there’s more. Obviously if lupines grow wild or if someone likes purple, that wouldn’t be enough to go knocking on their door and ask if they were Seed Savers. The next sign is a symbol of a circle within a circle.”
“A circle within a circle?”
Gruff grabbed a pen and paper. “Like this,” he said, drawing. He drew a circle as best he could, and then right outside of it a second circle, enclosing the first.
“It’s an ancient sacred symbol of mother earth, or earth goddess, and the fertility and fruitfulness she embodies. If you go outside my door and take a good look, you’ll find I’ve painted a small one down near the bottom. Anyway, if you find the purple flowers and the symbol, you can pretty much figure they are Seed Savers. But just to be sure, there is one last test. Knock at the door. If someone opens it, first ask, ‘Are you the resident here?’ If they say yes, then ask, ‘Do you know where Amber Jenson lives?’”
“I haven’t been this in love with an individual young adult book since Lois Lowry’s The Giver… 221 pages of exciting young adult goodness! I devoured it, and it was delicious.” -Anakalian Whims Book Blog
“Here’s a great piece of “juvenile” literature that doesn’t lose sight of one key fact: kids can think.”- Lit Prof, Amazon Reviewer
“I highly recommend this book for tweens and teens who enjoy reading the dystopian genre and who are looking for a non-violent and thought-provoking story.” – Renee at Mother Daughter Book Reviews
S. Smith grew up on a farm with a tremendously large garden. She maintains that if you can’t taste the soil on a carrot, it’s not fresh enough.
As an ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher, Ms. Smith has enjoyed teaching students from around the world.
Smith is a member ALLi (The Alliance of Independent Authors) and saves seeds for her local seed bank.
She gardens and writes at her home in the beautiful and green Pacific Northwest where she lives with her husband, two children, and two cats.
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