RANCHO SANTA FE — Gardening has many benefits such as exercise and stress relief. For Sonja K. Glassman, her years of gardening inspired her to write and illustrate the children’s book “The Big Promise.” Glassman shared her inspiration with the Rancho Santa Fe Garden Club on Jan. 15.
An avid gardener for 40 years, Glassman wanted to connect her passion for gardening with a younger audience. For a decade, she was a teacher for elementary grades at a private school in Connecticut. Following her teaching career, her family launched a publishing business.
So, it only seemed natural that Glassman would publish a children’s book about gardening.
Glassman, who now lives in San Diego, said people of all ages have enjoyed “The Big Promise.”
“I’ve had many grandmas, aunts and uncles buy several books for children,” she said. “I hope the book might inspire a young person, a fellow gardener or for even someone to rediscover or enjoy what gardening offers.”
Garden club board member and fellow children’s author Adrienne Falzon shared that last spring a friend of hers became acquainted with Glassman while volunteering at the Balboa Park Rose Garden. When Falzon learned that Glassman just published a children’s book on gardening she thought having her for a book signing at the garden club would be perfect.
“I am always thinking of new events for the club’s schedule,” Falzon said. “Sonja is such a sweet, extremely talented author and illustrator. It’s so important to be open to meeting new people — you never know what fun lies ahead.”
The literary mission for Glassman was to share her joy and appreciation for nature in a world where technology has moved into the frontlines. “The Big Promise” offers readers of all ages a fresh way to look at the word again.
“I was very happy to discover that many adults had such good feedback for the book in terms of the multilayered messages and lessons,” she said.
Also an artist, Glassman wanted to make sure her illustrations were visually intense, so it promoted dialogue with children.
The premise of “The Big Promise” is crafted around a prince who is taught by a gardener everything that he needs to know about life, Glassman said.
“The prince learned that a seed is a promise — each seed knows exactly what it’s going to be,” she said. “When I wrote the book, I realized that there really is another promise in the book because the gardener promised to teach the prince everything he needs to know, and he does that and he becomes a good king after he was an ornery prince.”
Over the years, Glassman has had a variety of gardens from vegetable to flowers and more. She is quick to point out that a garden does not need to be huge. Gardening in pots is also excellent.
“A garden is a gift that keeps on giving,” Glassman said.