“It’s Just a Plant,” a children’s book written and illustrated by Ricardo Cortés (who also illustrated the best-selling “Go the F**k to Sleep,”) is geared toward starting a conversation with your child about marijuana.
In the book, young Jackie, having woken up after bedtime, finds Mom and Dad smoking marijuana in their bedroom. Jackie’s mom promises to teach her about “mar-a-whahh” the next day. On their educational tour of the city by bicycle Jackie meets a farmer who grows but doesn’t consume cannabis and a doctor who tells Jackie that marijuana is strong medicine, not good for little Jackie right now. When she and her mom see some police officers confronting men smoking on the street corner Jackie learns that marijuana is against the law. The next few pages detail that sometimes laws aren’t created for the greater good but for the good of a few. At the close of the book, Jackie is falling asleep and dreaming of ways she can change the world.
The story reads like any other children’s book and mostly feels pretty natural to deliver. Saying the word “joint” in a bedtime story might feel a little strange. There isn’t an overwhelming amount to read on each page and the pictures are plentiful and bursting with color and originality.
I would say this book is definitely intended for kids aged 6 and older. While many parents that use cannabis do want to introduce their kids to the subject so that marijuana is no secret, young kids often repeat everything that comes out of their parent’s mouths. For that reason I’d expect parents would read this to their children once every few months; maybe two or three times this year. As they get older and begin to understand more and ask more questions I imagine “It’s Just a Plant” would make more frequent appearances.
Some folks may think being candid with kids at a young age about marijuana is wrong. That’s OK. I’m sure some people disapprove of parents letting boys drink out of pink cups because it might confuse his gender identity. But it all boils down to individual parenting choices, right?
The part of the book that explains that marijuana is illegal and that sometimes government officials make laws for the wrong reasons MIGHT be a permanent skipping point going forward. It is legal in a lot of places now, but you also don’t want to implant a suspicious nature in your kids. Of course you want your child to have a healthy curiosity of authority and question things, but a kid with government conspiracies in mind isn’t something you want to generate as a side effect.
“It’s Just a Plant” is a great resource for parents who are looking for a practical way to pass on some knowledge. It details marijuana’s useful properties, emphasizes that it’s for responsible use by adults and gives you a little legalese. At the right age, this book will address “what’s that smell” with as little awkwardness as a parent could hope for.
“It’s Just a Plant” (written and illustrated by Ricardo Cortés, Magic Propaganda Mill Books) can be purchased online here. It also can be found in retail shops, though I have yet to spy a copy myself.