It’s Just a Plant is an illustrated picture book about marijuana for the younger members of society. The plot is fairly simple: Jackie catches her folks smoking a joint one evening, and then her mother takes her on a trip the next day to learn more about marijuana.
Ricardo Cortés, who wrote and illustrated the book, first had it published in 2005 but had it recently reissued, just in time for the festive season.
The book was written with the best intentions, and actually aims to educate kids about the flourishing cannabis culture all over the world:
It’s Just a Plant is an illustrated children’s book about marijuana. It follows the journey of a young girl as she learns about the plant from a diverse 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 still use it, and most feel awkward about disclosing such histories (many duck the question), for fear that telling kids the truth might encourage them to experiment too. Meanwhile, “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 book for parents who want to discuss the complexities of pot in a thoughtful, fact-oriented manner.
Jackie’s parents seem fairly hipster: they cycle, have cool art, some interesting carpets and get their veggies from Bob the farmer who also grows weed.
Jackie learns quite a bit about the drug while out and about with her mother.
Jackie’s mother even has a take on democracy:
Any government can make a bad law. Luckily, where we live people can work together to fix unfair laws.
Despite it’s perceptions, the book has a clear message and it asks: “Should parents who don’t use marijuana read this book?”
The answer given is a good way of understanding the intentions for publishing:
It’s Just a Plant is for all parents. The book is not about people who use marijuana or people who abstain (although it contains both); it’s about a plant that most children will encounter in their lives.
Before they investigate on their own, shouldn’t they be prepared? We can deter early use and abuse of drugs by opening channels of communication between children and their parents.
Cortés has faced obvious criticism from politicians and columnists over the years, but his hope is that the book can at least have the effect of educating, rather than leading kids down the wrong road.
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