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.
I’m happy to have found my passion as a bookseller, and one of the perks of the job is meeting people like you, the people behind the books, the people without whom we would not have the books. Can’t wait for 7 p.m. today when you will be at my bookstore in Northport! I was very happy yesterday to go shopping for oilcloth and to find a bright apple print. Perfect! Life is good.
and vice-y versa, Pamela! and now to make the cupcakes that will look ( I hope) like apples . . .
LRP: I cannot express how deeply your posts move me — especially this one, which sums up in your lovely, feeling, gentle, smart voice the crux of the issue. I cannot wait to get my hands on this book and send it onto my little relatives in Washington State. What a gift to be able to do work that means something more than earning a paycheck. Thank you for all the goodness you bring into the world with your art and your artful words. Besides your mother, Bill, Frank, Lucy and Lucky, I’m your biggest fan.
SBN: thank you for always hearing what I hope to be saying. I know it might sound glib in this context, but I am certainly one of your biggest fans, too. And glad to know you as a wonderful person. Hey, I am going to be at Cottage Books on Sunday of Labor Day weekend at 1-ish — a chat?
Congratulations! this is a really nice accomplishment!
Thank you! I am pretty happy about it!
Sarah-Bearup Neal sums it up for me. Just want to say, that picture up there with the question about which seeds to plant…. I really, really like it, very much. Our boys have already got a lot from this book, on many levels, and I so enjoy reading it to them. Thank you Lynne, for your in depth research and for the love and care reflected in your paintings. They reach out and touch the soul.
no words. But a hug: (((((( ))))))
I can’t wait to get my hands on this beautiful book!
so nice to hear from you! what are you up to?
What a find! My daughter is doing a Girl Scout project on “Making The World A Better Place”, which is one of the GS Laws. One of her tasks is to find/read books that illustrate this concept. And VOILA! Here is your book. Congratulations. I’m excited to share it with her. It’ll be a GS lesson AND a history lesson. I love the seed packets, too. Very Cute. One of the OTHER books we are working with is Miss Rumphius (The Lupine Lady), by Barbara Cooney. We plan to pack our pockets with flower seeds one week and spread them all around town, like Miss Rumphius does…like Jonny Appleseed did. Wonderful! Thank you for writing this!
(Any way I can get a signed copy of the book shipped over here to me in Seattle, with one of those seed packets. I’d love to give it to her as a gift when she completes this project. She’s love that!)