The Seeds of Friendship

Michael Foreman’s picture book is a fable for the multicultural times we live in. Adam is a newly arrived immigrant from Africa struggling to adapt to living in a big city which he sees as grey and drab compared to the vibrant colours of his native land. The gift of a few seeds from his teacher plants an idea in Adam’s head, which starts with the transformation of the window box of his apartment and leads to many more ambitious projects, undertaken with the help of his new friends.

Michael Foreman’s illustrations evolve as the story unfolds, from the dull grey of Adam’s early days in his highrise home to a kaleidoscope of colours as Adam and his friends transform the cityscape with their planting. The delightful illustrations feature a dove, symbol of peace, carrying a green shoot through to the back endpapers of the book. Adam has been uprooted from his native land but in his adopted country, he succeeds in planting seeds, not only of friendship but also of belonging.

The Seeds of Friendship transcends age groups. It can be read as a simple tale of a boy adjusting to a new home and making new friendships; Adam’s first experience of snow will appeal to even the youngest of readers. For older readers, the book could lead to discussions of the difficulties of adaptation for any child moving to a different country and of the importance of friendship, sharing and belonging.