By Molly Snyder Senior Writer Published Apr 28, 2008 at 5:22 AM

If things look a little greener around here this April, there's a good reason. Our editorial staff is busy expanding the ideals of Earth Day into a month-long celebration of energy conservation, alternative transportation, recycling tips and about a million ways you can be a better friend to the planet. Welcome to Green Month, Milwaukee.

Anyone who knows me -- or reads my blogs and columns -- is aware that I’m a dedicated mom who surfs an unconventional wave now and again. For example, when I posted my blog about not caring if my kid swears -- as long as he’s not name-calling -- I received dozens of irate talkbacks and personal e-mails laden with accusations about my parenting style.

This week, however, an reader introduced me to something that’s even too much for liberal, bohemian, kooky me. She sent me the link to a book that’s for sale on called “It’s Just A Plant, A Children’s Story About Marijuana.”

The book, written by Ricardo Cortes, is centered on Jackie, a young girl who wakes up and finds her parents smoking pot. Hence, her mother takes her on a bike ride to visit a farmer who explains the agricultural importance of hemp, a doctor who highlights the benefits of medical marijuana and a group of police officers who talk about why the drug is illegal. (The officers are simultaneously scolding a group of African-American men for smoking weed at the time, which is stereotypical and sends a mixed message.)

I think the intention of the book is to better explain drugs to children rather than simply to say, “it’s wrong.” When kids don’t have honest, detailed information of how and why something is forbidden, they sometimes become rebellious or choose to investigate the situation on his or her own.

I understand the need for truthful literature; however, I have a couple of major problems with this book.

First of all, the title -- “A Children’s Story About Marijuana” -- suggests this might be a good read for kids of any age, when in reality, it’s a topic for much older children. Young kids can’t understand the subtleties of the occasional or medicinal use of drugs.

Plus, this book brings up another controversial parenting subject about whether or not to force your child into your cultural niche.

It’s a fine line between teaching values and brainwashing kids. In the desire to create a “mini me," some conservatives and liberals buy books for their kids like “Why Mommy Is A Democrat” or “Help! Mom! There Are Liberals Under My Bed” which teaches kids “the valuable lessons of conservatism.”

Give me a break. Kids don’t need to think about paying taxes or medicinal marijuana. Plus, ideally, isn’t it a parent’s goal to raise a conscious person with his or her own thoughts instead of just another bleating sheep?

Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.

Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.