The Miracle Seed

Eerdmans. Mar. 2023. 80p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780802855909.
Gr 3-5–Through a mix of history and science, young readers will learn about the amazing achievement of reviving 2,000-year-old seeds and bringing an extinct tree back to life. Lemelman tells the story of the Jewish revolt against the Roman empire, which ended with the Jewish people being sent into exile after the revolt was lost. During this crushing revolt, the Judean date palm trees were destroyed. The land stayed barren and mostly uninhabited for years, the last of the Judean date palm trees disappearing. In 1963 archeologists discovered 6 preserved seeds in the ruins of Masada. The seeds were kept and preserved until the year 2004, when Dr. Sarah Sallon wondered if the seeds could be revived and new dates could grow. Ancient folklore says that these dates had medicinal powers that could cure many diseases. The book details the process to revive the seeds and the accomplishments of Dr. Sallon and research partner Dr. Elaine Solowey. The medicinal powers of the dates have yet to be seen, but who knows? This story is simply told in easy and smooth narration, with artwork that is rich in color and pairs well with the text, adding layers of meaning. Back matter includes an illustrated author’s note and a time line.
VERDICT A book that will need some pushing, but will be appreciated by curious minds who will be left wondering about the hidden possibilities in antiquities.

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