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It's just a book. About cannabis. For children

  1. Phungushead
    View attachment 23295 It's Just a Plant is a picture book about marijuana for younger readers, written and illustrated by the author of Go the Fuck to Sleep

    View attachment 23296 It's Just a Plant is a children's book. About cannabis. Written and illustrated by Ricardo Cortés, whose lovely illustrations were recently seen in the book Go the Fuck to Sleep, it was first published in 2005 and has been recently reissued. It follows Jackie, a girl whose twitching nostrils lead her to her parents' bedroom one night where they are smoking a joint. The following day, her mother takes her on an educational journey – they meet a farmer, a doctor, a police officer – to learn more about marijuana.

    What right-on parents: they cycle, they have cool art and psychedelic carpets, they get their vegetables for their vegetarian dinner direct from a farmer (Bob, who has a nice sideline growing pot plants), they are politically active, if a little too optimistic. "Any government can make a bad law," says Jackie's mother, explaining why marijuana was banned. "Luckily, where we live people can work together to fix unfair laws." Cortés is staunchly pro-legalisation – this summer, he printed and distributed illustrated pamphlets to try to convince people on jury duty to practise "jury nullification" – returning a not guilty verdict regardless of evidence – in all criminal drug cases in protest at the law.

    Many politicians and columnists have criticised Cortés's sympathetic look at cannabis, claiming that he was encouraging children down an evil road of drug abuse. But perhaps it will have the opposite effect. Although you may agree with much of Cortés's message, anything so self-consciously liberal is usually more than a little cringey. If there's one thing that might put children off drugs, it's reading about these groovy parents taking them.

    Sunday 27 November 2011 15.29 EST

    Emine Saner/Photographs: Ricardo Cortés


  1. Mindless
    Thanks for posting this, I'd love to read it. I don't think this will encourage children to use cannabis, and if this were a book about beer would there be the same outcry?

    When Jonathan Swift wrote the satirical "A Modest Proposal" in 1729 there was outrage at his suggestion that starving Irish parents could eat their babies during the Potatoe Famine. Is this book not using a similar approach? It looks as if the author has used a conversation with a child as a vehicle for satire.
  2. catseye
    ^^ for anyone interested, if you go to the books website (justaplant dot com) you can read the first half or so of this book online (and in several languages) by clicking the "story" tab at the top :)
    I've got a copy, its actually been in print for a few years now - I have no idea what propelled it into the spotlight lately, but its a good thing IMO. I suppose it is gently satirical in that the general message is one of constructive social criticism.
    It's hard to pack all the many-levelled messages around drugs/cannabis into a kids book, but it certainly is a very unique idea, and a good tool for initiating communication on a topic that a lot of parents may not be comfortable discussing without some sort of 'prop' ( <~ for lack of a better word!)
  3. Terrapinzflyer
    I do believe it's the general swing to the right/conservatism happening in America, coupled with the attention the author is getting for his current book.

    I must say children's books have always been controversial- seen by "programming" by some. When I lived in WA state (which had a huge logging industry) Dr Suess' "The Lorax" was banned in schools.

    I would urge anyone who has an interest in books and freedom of information to check out the American Library Associations "Banned Books Week" - it is truly staggering the books that some try to control.
  4. Tigey
    He's become famous since Samuel L. Jackson voice "Go the Fuck to Sleep" as an audiobook, and particularly so since it became available for a free download on Audible US (not sure about UK/EU).

    Certainly GTFTS is funny for anyone who's a parent, and lots of people who aren't. If you've got (liberal) friends who haven't heard of it, it's a good christmas present :D
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