I’m excited to share an overdue announcement here: I’ve released my first children’s book, Poppy Seed, and it’s now for sale via Amazon as a paperback or Kindle edition. I hope to do a tiny bit of good with this – 100% of proceeds (that means every cent I receive from its publication) going to
DonorsChoose.org, where you can ‘support a classroom’ and ‘build a future’ for America’s children.
For a short book, it has taken years to produce. I conceived of the story in the months leading up to the birth of my daughter, as I noticed all the books and articles comparing the size of one’s prenatal development to various kinds of produce. Sometimes, there was universal agreement, like with week 7 (blueberry) or week 16 (avocado). Sometimes, it made no sense whatsoever – see week 25 (cauliflower, rutabaga, acorn squash, and eggplant — who knows how big a rutabaga is?). For list junkies like myself, I’m including all the comparisons further below, with sources. I had some fun with the rhymes, inspired loosely by my decades-long love of Ogden Nash, and then sought out an artist. To give credit where it is truly due, I had “Producing Produce” as a working title that I never loved; it was my wife who dutifully recommended “Poppy Seed,” and it stuck. Poppy Seed is how we referred to our daughter befor she was bon.
Finding an illustrator didn’t go as planned. After posting a competition on 99designs that netted a clear winner, the artist pulled out due to some family issue, or some other personal reason. It wasn’t clear, and I held up the project for quite a few months to give her time to get back into the fold, as it was a passion project for her (I was paying not just for the contest but separately for the project, but it wasn’t the rate a seasoned artist would command). 99designs helped find me another artist who was interested, but I had to start from scratch; the first artist had illustrated quite a bit of the book by that point. I did luck out though; Nikolett Meresz out of Hungary is a gifted illustrator, and we embarked on the long journey (the length was often due to my own gaps in responding), and she was on-hand for all the finishing touches needed to get it to a publishable state. The final illustrations are above and beyond what I had hoped for.
Thanks to anyone who’s curious enough to read the book, which is the first book I’ve seen through to publication. In my late teens and early 20s, I wrote a number of children’s books and well over 100 poems; I still even like a few of them. I’m not sure that I will embark on a major project of this nature again anytime soon without a clearer end goal, but it’s been a fruitful learning experience. Let me know if you do ever get around to reading it.
Meanwhile, here is the meta-analysis that inspired the book. This stems (sorry) from four sources: Parents.com, thebump.com, babycenter.com, and entries in the whattoexpect.com app.
3: (invisible) x2, Poppy seed, smaller than a seed – super tiny!
4: Poppy seed (x4)
5: Apple seed, sesame seed, peppercorn, orange seed
6: Sweat pea (x2), lentil, pomegranate seed
7: Blueberry (x4)
8: Raspberry (x2), kidney bean, cranberry bean
9: Green olive (x2), grape, cherry
10: Prune (x2), kumquat (x2)
11: Lime (x2), fig, Brussels sprout
12: Plum, lime, passion fruit, large plum
13: Peach (x2), peapod, Meyer lemon
14: Lemon (x3), nectarine
15: Navel orange (x2), apple (x2), orange
16: Avocado (x4)
17: Onion, turnip (x2), pear
18: Sweet potato (x3), bell pepper
19: Mango (x3), heirloom tomato
20: Banana (x2), small artichoke, melon, mango
21: Pomegranate, carrot (x2), large banana, banana
22: Papaya (x2), spaghetti squash (x2)
23: Grapefruit, large mango, eggplant, papaya
24: Cantaloupe, ear of corn (x3)
25: Cauliflower, rutabaga, acorn squash, eggplant
26: Lettuce, scallion, zucchini, eggplant
27: Rutabaga, head of cauliflower (x2), cucumber
28: Eggplant, large eggplant, kabocha squash, head of cauliflower
29: Acorn squash, butternut squash, large butternut squash, small cabbage
30: Cucumber, large cabbage (x2), butternut squash
31: Pineapple, coconut, bunch of leeks, head of lettuce
32: Squash, jicama, Napa cabbage, head of lettuce
33: Durian, pineapple (x2), honeydew
34: Butternut squash, cantaloupe (x2), pineapple
35: Coconut, honeydew melon (x2), large cantaloupe
36: Honeydew, head of romaine lettuce, canary melon, large cantaloupe
37: Winter melon, a bunch of Swiss chard, stalk of Swiss chard, watermelon
38: Pumpkin, leek, stalk of rhubarb, watermelon
39: Watermelon (x2), mini watermelon (x2)
40: Jackfruit, small pumpkin, watermelon (x2)