At least it will be tomorrow, August 21, 2012.  That’s the official publication date of Seed by Seed, the Legend and Legacy of John “Appleseed” Chapman.  It’s a picture book written by Esme Raji Codell and illustrated by me.   I have added some info about the illustration research process for this book to the Seed by Seed page on this website: please take a peek!

But here, I’d like to say just a few words on the topic of what the book is about.

Johnny Appleseed was a real person who planted real seeds. By doing this small thing over and over, he changed the landscape of our nation.  A historical fact, but it’s also a metaphor.  That is to say, planting actual seeds represents the many, many things one person can do to make our world better.

And John Chapman did make the world better.  But I think he also planted all those seeds, at least in part, because he liked doing it.  He liked being in nature, and he liked making things grow.

My friend Donna once said that there are so many of these things to choose from that you might as well pick one that you enjoy.  Donna makes and reupholsters furniture, which in my opinion makes the world better.

She also loves to volunteer for the Inland Seas Education Association, where she gets to sail on a 2-masted schooner and teach kids about water quality in the Great Lakes.

The writer Ian Frazier and his friend, jeweler Tim McClelland, got so fed up with seeing plastic shopping bags and other trash stuck in trees that they invented the Bag Snagger, a tool that helps them de-trash trees as they walk around New York City and other places.  They do it because they like to — it does good, and they have fun.

While working on this book, I tried to make pictures that would be rewarding to spend time with.  I tried to show what kind of person John Chapman was and what the world was like in his time.  I made the pictures with love and care: they were my seed-by-seed.  But I also made them with joy.  It was a lot of fun to do it.

And what about you?

If you would like to make your own seed packet, like this one, just print out this image and follow the instructions:


What small joyful seed will you plant?

And here is a link to pictures from our book launch at Dog Ears Books in Northport, Michigan.