The Spirit of the Weed Lives On

. December 17, 2019.
(L-R) Authors Joseph Kelley and Nick Rokicki with Oakdale Elementary Reading Specialist Therese Gordon at the book’s first public reading. Photo courtesy: Nick Rokicki and Joseph Kelley.
(L-R) Authors Joseph Kelley and Nick Rokicki with Oakdale Elementary Reading Specialist Therese Gordon at the book’s first public reading. Photo courtesy: Nick Rokicki and Joseph Kelley.

Children’s book celebrates Toledo’s Christmas Weed

A little miracle happened at the corner of Alexis and Secor in December 2018. UT student Alyssa Emrick and her family noticed a weed growing out of the sidewalk and decided to decorate it. As locals sang carols around it, The Toledo Christmas Weed became an online viral sensation, with a Facebook fan page garnering over 13,000 likes. Even The Washington Post covered it.

And now, the Weed is immortalized in a new children’s book by Pete the Popcorn writers Nick Rokicki and Joseph Kelley: Crusty Cupcake presents The Christmas Weed. The Glass City community coming together over the unique holiday landmark inspired Rokicki and Kelley, writing partners for more than eight years.

“One thing I’ve always been impressed with Toledoans is, they’re really, really proud of their city,” Kelley said, “And so when we heard about the Christmas Weed, I told Nick, we have to get on this story immediately.”

Book-Feature---Toledo-Christmas-Weed2The spirit of giving

Through more than a dozen books, the duo has worked to communicate a different message to readers— gratitude, friendship, taking pride in one’s heritage. Colorful and imaginative drawings, by one of several artists, support each story. The pair’s most frequent collaborator, illustrator Ronaldo Florendo, brings the tale of the Weed to life in the new book.

Like the tale that inspired it, Rokicki and Kelley’s take on The Christmas Weed is a little silly, yet heartwarming. And they hope young readers would come away from their story inspired by the spirit of the season. “Something so simple as that weed really brought the community together at this time of year to offer something to someone else. That giving feels good,” Rokicki added.

$12.99 on amazon.com | petethepopcorn.com