The inspirational power of the best-selling "Chicken Soup for the Soul" books meets the joy of America's number-one pastime in "Chicken Soup for the Gardener's Soul."
Subtitled "101 Stories to Sow Seeds of Love, hope and Laughter," the book is a bouquet of inspiration and insight for anyone who enjoys plants, trees and flowers. For master gardeners, struggling beginners or weekend "lawn rangers," these true stories celebrate love, growth, laughter and lessons learned in the garden.
"Most gardening books focus on the physical world in all its beauty and abundance," says Iowa writer Cindy Buck, one of the book's coauthors. ""Chicken Soup for the Gardener's Soul" focuses on the impact of that world on our spirits, hearts and souls."
There's the story of a little boy who tried to grow doughnuts by planting Cheerios, and a Vietnam vet who had to learn to talk to plants before he could relearn how to talk to people. There's a young man proposing to his sweetheart with 100 roses, and a single crocus that refreshed a woman's faith. There's the urban farmer who sowed vegetables but harvested friends, and the dying husband who preformed one last, secret act of love.
"Each story provides what we like to call a 'Chicken Soup moment,' explains coauthor Cynthia Brian, California actress and radio talk show host. "In other words, be prepared to laugh, to cry, to cheer, to sigh."
That heart squeezing "moment" is the trademark of "Chicken Soup for the Soul" stories. The first anthology was created nearly a decade ago, when motivational speakers Jack canfield and Mark Victor Hansen created a collection of inspiring true stories they used in their seminars. After more than 30 rejections from publishers uninterested in "nice little stories," the two convinced Health Communications, Inc. to publish their book in 1993. The public saw what the publishers had not. The series, now with 34 current titles, has sold more than 52 million books worldwide, and has been translated into more than 30 languages. Nineteen of the books have consistently been on the New York Times and USA Today best-seller lists since 1993, and seven have reached #1.
"The mission of 'Chicken Soup for the Soul' is changing the world one story at a time," says Canfield." "'Chicken Soup for the Gardener's Soul' fulfills that mission beautifully, by demonstrating how the love of gardening and growing things truly transforms people as well as places."
"With More than 67 million gardeners in the United States alone, and a gardening industry that generates over $33 billion in annual sales, we expect 'Chicken Soup for the Gardener's Soul' to be another series bestseller," adds Hansen. The first press run is set for one million copies, one of the largest garden-related publishing events ever.
"That's because 'Chicken Soup for the Gardener's Soul' is the first major gardening book completely dedicated to the inner rewards of gardening, the heart and soul of America's most popular outdoor activity," says North Carolina coauthor Pat Stone, editor and publisher of GreenPrints Magazine.
Another unique facet to the book is the way it was created. Several writers had approached Chicken Soup Enterprises, Inc. with the idea of a "Chicken Soup for the Gardener's Soul" book. Five of them caught CSE's attention. Although the five had never met, their varying talents and interests convinced Canfield and Hansen to bring them together as a team.
"We're from all across the country-from North Carolina to Alaska--so we did virtually everything by e-mail and conference call," says Carol Sturgulewski, a writer and editor from Alaska. "We didn't meet until the book was nearly finished. It's definitely a product of the digital age."
From the Internet to garden club newsletters, the team solicited and edited more than 5,000 stories from around the world, finally narrowing their choices to 101. Authors range from first-time writers to best-selling names such as James A. Michener, Nelson Mandela, Erma Bombeck, Charles Kuralt and Dr. Bernie Siegel.
Although most stories are from the U.S., the book includes selections from India, New Zealand, The Netherlands and other countries. "There's a universal love of gardening and caring for plants," stresses coauthor Marion Owen, and avid organic gardener and garden writer from Alaska. "Gardening knows no borders, so it reaches across fences to bring people together."
To continue sharing that message, a portion of the proceeds from the book sales will be donated to four charities supporting gardening and greening projects: The Home Garden Project, America the Beautiful Fund, American Community Gardening Association, and Be the Star You Are!