July’s Book Recommendation: The Seed Keeper

Jul 24, 2021 | Books and Publications

By Cassandra D’Antonio (SEMG 2012)

I typically order books for my Kindle. I bought The Seed Keeper in paperback because I knew I would want to lend it to my Master Gardener friends who are themselves seed keepers. I so loved this book. Because I decided my description would not do it justice, I am providing one I found on Amazon. Below are also a few verses from the poem—The Seeds Speak—which precedes the book’s narrative. Written from the seeds’ perspective, the poem is so beautifully descriptive, you will want to read it again and again.   

AMAZON’S DESCRIPTION. A haunting novel spanning several generations, The Seed Keeper follows a Dakhóta family’s struggle to preserve their way of life, and their sacrifices to protect what matters most. Rosalie Iron Wing has grown up in the woods with her father, Ray, a former science teacher who tells her stories of plants, of the stars, of the origins of the Dakhóta people. Until, one morning, Ray doesn’t return from checking his traps. Told she has no family, Rosalie is sent to live with a foster family in nearby Mankato―where the reserved, bookish teenager meets rebellious Gaby Makespeace, in a friendship that transcends the damaged legacies they’ve inherited… Weaving together the voices of four indelible women, The Seed Keeper is a beautifully told story of reawakening, of remembering our original relationship to the seeds and, through them, to our ancestors.

The Seeds Speak

We are hungry, but the sleep is upon us.
We are thirsty, but the Mother has instructed us not to wake up too early.
We are restless, chafing against this thin membrane, pushing back against the dark
that bids us to lie still, suspended in a near-death that is not dying.


The Mother gave us patience stronger than our hunger, stronger than our thirst.
We dwell in the realm of dreams and spirit.
When the sun draws near,
we awake and embrace the warmth, fed by the soil and nourished by the rain.
When the cold returns, we withdraw once more to rest and dream.