It's Just a Plant: A Children's Story about Marijuana
RICARDO CORTÉS is the #1 New York Times best-selling illustrator of Go the F**k to Sleep by Adam Mansbach, and Party: A Mystery, by the acclaimed author Jamaica Kincaid. Cortés has written and illustrated books including Sea Creatures from the Sky and A Secret History of Coffee, Coca, and Cola. His work has been featured in the New York Times, Vanity Fair, New York Magazine, and on CNN, Fox News, and the Late Show with David Letterman. You can see his work at Rmcortes.com, or on Twitter and Instagram at @Rmcortes.
“It’s Just a Plant follows the journey of a young girl named Jackie, who becomes curious about cannabis after she discovers her parents smoking a joint in their bedroom. Jackie’s education about marijuana includes visits to several members of her community, including a farmer who cultivates the plant and a doctor who advises that cannabis should only be used by adults…Cortés’ book offers an opportunity for parents to discuss many aspects of the conversation around marijuana.”
“Part of a growing category of books that attempt to explain difficult and complex topics to children, simply. Whether you’re looking at Death Is Stupid, by Anastasia Higginbotham, or A is for Activist, by Innosanto Nagara, children’s fiction is much less likely to shy away from topics that were previously reserved for those considered to be ‘adults, ‘ or to cloud those topics in euphemisms.”
—Literary Hub, selected by Molly Odintz for LitHub Recommends
“As controversial as the topic may seem for a kids’ book, [Cortés is]…right. It’s crucial for parents to be open and educate their kids about marijuana (and any other drugs, really) in a factual, non-judgmental way–especially if parents are using themselves. After all, keeping drugs’ existence a mystery is only going to spark curious kids’ interests further.”
“With more home schooling taking place due to COVID-19, Ricardo Cortés hopes It’s Just a Plant can spark family-friendly cannabis education.”
“We’ve all heard the sentiment that the more we keep our kids away from something and paint it as ‘dangerous’ or ‘bad, ‘ the more likely they are to be interested in whatever that is. The same can be said for conversations like his–if we avoid or brush off any questions relating to marijuana for our kids, they’re going to get the information from somewhere and it just feels a whole lot safer knowing they’re getting the right information from you–or a book like this.”
“Absolutely ‘kid friendly’ in tone, organization and presentation, It’s Just a Plant: A Children’s Story about Marijuana is especially recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library…collections.”
—Midwest Book Review
“The fact is, kids who have parents who talk to them openly and respectfully about tough subjects are better able to navigate the chaos of the teen and young adult years. And for that reason, I am so here for this book.”
It’s Just a Plant is a children’s book that follows the journey of a young girl as she learns about the marijuana plant from a cast of characters including her parents, a local farmer, a doctor, and a police officer.
Marijuana can be hard to talk about. Many parents have tried it, millions use it, and most feel awkward about disclosing such histories (often ducking the question), for fear that telling kids the truth might encourage them to experiment too. Meanwhile, the “drug facts” children learn in school can be more frightening than educational, blaming pot for everything from teenage pregnancy to terrorism. A child’s first awareness of drugs should come from a better source.
It’s Just a Plant is a story for parents who want to discuss the complexities of pot with their kids in a thoughtful, fact-oriented manner. The book also features an afterword by Marsha Rosenbaum, PhD, founder of the Safety First Project for drug education and director emerita of the San Francisco office of the Drug Policy Alliance, the nation’s leading organization working to end the war on drugs.
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