Uniondale Author Unfolds The History Of The Sunflower With New Children’s Book

As the weather warms up, there’s no better time to teach kids about the nature that they are just getting a chance to enjoy. Uniondale author John Spagnoli is giving that lesson in a colorful way with his new children’s book, The Sunflower Story. 

As Spagnoli explained, the illustrated story touches upon multiple aspects of the sunflower’s background, as well as the various challenges one must overcome to successfully grow plants. 

The Sunflower Story is rooted in American history,” Spagnoli said. “Originally, the sunflower thrived throughout North America. In my book, farmers must battle the diseases and insects of this indigenous plant. Growing plants requires the right soil, temperature and luck. Genetic hybrids have been developed that help farmers’ production in the United States and overseas. Through diversification, the sunflower continues to flourish and bring delight to boys and girls.” 

Spagnoli wrote the story to share the environmental and aesthetic importance of the sunflower with the next generation of young writers.

“I love plants and wanted to inspire my children to write,” Spagnoli said. “After my kidney transplant on Oct. 1, 2018,  I had a lot of free time to write my book on sunflower plants.”

He believes that readers will enjoy the book’s illustrations most, but emphasized that its biggest lesson will surely still reach his young audience: the sunflower’s “importance for their beauty and seeds.” 

Spagnoli has written other books as well, covering a strikingly diverse array of topics. His published titles include a guidebook, How to Grow Worsleya Seeds, and a fiction novel, Shadowed Soul. The latter was recently re-released on Amazon and chronicles a man’s struggles as he learns to cope with bipolar disorder.

“[The most difficult part of the process] is finding a concept and starting to write, but I have a wide amount of interests and I enjoy writing and seeing books being created,” Spagnoli said.

Spagnoli hopes to raise awareness and money for a screen adaption of Shadowed Soul through GoFundMe.com. Likewise, the author aims to have The Sunflower Story used in libraries and school curriculums. 

Although The Sunflower Story and Shadowed Soul may seem poles apart in subject, audience and genre, Spagnoli maintains that the two works are united by his broader goals with both. 

“The overall books both try and help. Shadowed Soul was written to help people with mental illness, and The Sunflower Story was written to encourage more information on these plants,” Spagnoli said.

While the book can be understood and enjoyed by even early readers, The Sunflower Story is educational for all ages, with valuable information on the basics of growing plants. The book is available as an e-book or paperback. 

Katie Fenton
Katie Fenton is an Anton Media Group contributing writer.

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