If a Peacock Finds a Pot Leaf: Children’s Book Illustrator Geneva Carman

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As medical and recreational cannabis use gain acceptance and even appeal, one stone has been left unturned: how to communicate these worldly changes to our children. A great way to broach the subject is using a story that paints a picture in a child’s imagination.

peacockThe children’s book  If a Peacock Finds a Pot Leaf by Morgan Carman is sure to become a family favorite. The story chronicles an adventure of a lone, depressed peacock named Peter. Peter stumbles upon a unique leaf that he has never seen before and proceeds to ask all the wonderful animals he meets up with in the forest about it. One by one, animals ranging from cute little spiders to wise old owls to rasta pigs give Peter their take on the leaf. Each animal is based on a real human patient who uses cannabis, and each relates their reasons for using the plant medicinally.

By the end of the story, not only are you looking forward to the sequel, If a Peacock Discovers Hemp Island, you also have many of the complex questions surrounding the medicinal use of Cannabis touched on and even answered for your child.

I reached out to Geneva Carman, the mother of the author and the illustrator of the story – here is what she had to say:

Brandon Krenzler: When did you begin using Cannabis?

Geneva Carman: I was actually a late starter when it comes to smoking Cannabis. I started when I was about 22.

medsBK: That is an unusual age to begin, what made you take up toking?

GC: I am manic-depressive and cannabis is the only thing I have found that makes me feel better. I noticed that once I began using cannabis regularly, I actually was able to reduce the amount of pharmaceutical drugs that I had been prescribed. Once I realized this, I began researching and found amazing facts which changed my life forever.

BK: In what ways does being a Regular Cannabis user affect your parenting?

GC: I feel that it makes me a better parent, and there are so many reasons why that is. I am more outgoing person; I do not feel the need to withdraw. I am not as aggressive and irritable over minor life stressors and that is always a good thing. I am able to communicate better; I can sit and talk with people, including my daughter more. I spend more quality time with Morgan. I find that I am more creative and open-minded artistically. When I was only taking prescriptions all I did was sleep; I didn’t want to do anything, totally non-productive.

BK: Do you allow your daughter to use Cannabis? Why do you allow this?

GC: I didn’t allow it until she needed it. She actually wasn’t interested in it all: she thought it smelled of cut grass and was adamant about not smoking it. Then she got sick; they had her on prescriptions, anti-nausea medicine usually reserved for chemotherapy patients. Nothing really worked for her. Her doctors basically said she had cyclical vomiting issues. With my background in Clinical Psychology, I had a feeling it was something psychological. She was eventually diagnosed with Acute Anxiety Disorder, OCD and PTSD. I decided that she should try Cannabis. And it instantly worked for her.

BK: What made you and Morgan decide to create the book?

peacock4GC: We were sitting on couch one day hanging out watching shows about children using cannabis for different ailments and each benefitting from it. Each of the stories that were on, Brave Mykayla and Jason (David), were touching and inspiring; we wanted to help! We just didn’t know how we were going to do that. Around a month later, Morgan randomly said, “What if a peacock found a pot leaf?” It was an instant children’s book title and we knew what we were going to do to help: we were going to write that book. We started making characters right away. We chose animals because not only are they really kid-friendly characters, they would of course use natural plant medicine from the forest. It took Morgan two and a half days to write the story. It took me around two and half weeks to illustrate the entire tale.

BK: Why the peacock – is there a reason behind this animal?

Geneva: Yes totally, since I was a little girl I’ve loved everything peacock: the feathers, the colors, the grace all of it I absolutely adored. My Grandmother had a whole room that was peacocks and I loved going in there whenever I would visit her. Peacock has depression because I have depression; the peacock is me.

peacock2BK: What is the purpose behind the book?

GC: The purpose is simple. It is to normalize the use of cannabis, especially in families that use cannabis medicinally for themselves or their children. It is medicine for a lot of people; it is not just used recreationally, it is also used for a better quality of life.  We want to show that it is not something that needs to be hidden, or hushed. We want people to become comfortable with the idea of cannabis use in families, because it is what is really going in homes across America – and that needs to be addressed in the children’s eyes as well.

BK: Tell about the feedback you have gotten…Positive? Negative?

GC: We have gotten way more positive feedback than negative. When we decided to do the book we had prepared ourselves and were ready for a rush of negativity, but we didn’t get that at all. It really has been more positive than we could ever have imagined; it just goes to show that eyes are being opened and the world is changing for the better in some ways.

BK: What kind of publicity has it gotten?

GC: We have gotten tons of publicity from the cannabis community. They have been so supportive of Morgan and I – we feel so much love radiating our way, and it is beautiful. We have been featured in a couple magazines; we have been invited on air on the radio. We are thankful for the amount of generous support that we have received. We are breaking ground in a new market; our medical marijuana children’s books are just beginning of a wave that is sure to come.

photo 4BK: What would you say to a parent who is considering buying the book??

GC: I would say definitely do so; everyone needs to have a copy of this book because it is a great conversation opener. You can use it to give examples and give a visual. It is friendly to all viewers so you could use it to initiate conversation with basically whoever you’d want to.  It is a nice tool to use for a variety of different age groups. It is really meant to be on everyone’s coffee table, and we would like to see them there.

BK: In what ways do you feel your book influences children?

GC: We have been told that it helps a lot of parents that are cannabis users, medicinal or recreational. We have gotten emails from parents all over thanking us for our work, because it made it easier for them to talk to their children about it. Children have been writing book reports for school about Peter and his pot leaf. It has been used as evidence in a medical cannabis CPS case to win the court case.

The book helps prove that cannabis is an effective medicine that helps adults and children alike. It is helping to breaking stereotypes and helping parents and children bond on an entirely different level. I think we have affected the children in a positive way; it gives the children who use cannabis as medicine something to share with their friends. This book can help your children growing up knowing that cannabis is medicine, not a street drug.

hempislandBK: where do you see your books going in the future?

GC: I honestly don’t know where it is going to go – we are working hard on getting it out there as far as possible. We self-published, and do all of our own marketing, so we are just going with the flow. We are creating more books, because the more the merrier. We’ve just completed and published a second book, If a Peacock Discovers Hemp Island. The second in the series is more vivid and colorful. We knew more about what we were doing the second time around.

BK: Series? Are there going to be more Peter the Peacock Books?

GC: Yes! We haven’t decided on the subject just yet – it is in the brainstorming stage, but a third is definitely in the works. We would eventually like to cover nearly all aspects of the Cannabis world to help usher in an era of complete acceptance.