Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Press Release: First Lady's Kitchen Garden Book

Book deal with President Obama's publishing house struck by Washington power broker Bob Barnett...
Just after First Lady Michelle Obama lef the White House Kitchen Garden on Wednesday afternoon, following the third Spring planting, Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House, announced that they have struck a deal with Mrs. Obama to publish a book about the garden and food access issues. It will be released in April of 2012. The untitled book will be co-written with an unnamed ghost writer. Crown is the publisher of President Obama’s two national bestselling memoirs, Dreams from My Father and The Audacity of Hope. (Above: Mrs. Obama planting on Wednesday)

Bob Barnett, the high-powered Washington lawyer who represents President Obama, made the deal with Random House for Mrs. Obama. He was at the Spring planting on Wednesday, observing Mrs. Obama in action with about two dozen kids from local schools. Mrs. Obama has accepted no advance for the book, and will donate her portion of the proceeds to an unnamed charity. Random House, which stands to make a hefty profit from the tome, which is expected to be a bestseller, and which will appear as a full-color hardback as well as an e book and an "enhanced" multimedia e book, "will also make a donation to an appropriate charity to be named later."

The White House declined to specify what portion of Random House's profits will be donated to charity for the First Lady's book about a project that has been funded with taxpayer dollars.

Among other authors, Barnett has also represented Sarah Palin, President Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, Prince Charles, President George W. Bush and Karl Rove.

Mrs. Obama didn't mention her forthcoming book in her garden-side remarks. The news was announced in a story in The Associated Press, moments after the Spring Planting event had concluded.

Text of the Crown press release:

FIRST LADY MICHELLE OBAMA TO AUTHOR BOOK
FOR SPRING 2012 PUBLICATION BY CROWN

Mrs. Obama Will Tell the Story of Her White House Kitchen Garden and Celebrate the Benefits of Community, School, and Urban Gardens and Fresh, Locally Grown Food For Families and Communities

New York, NY (March 16, 2011) - First Lady Michelle Obama has reached agreement with the Crown Publishing Group at Random House, Inc. to author a book scheduled for publication in April 2012. In her book, Mrs. Obama will tell the story of the garden she has established on the South Lawn of the White House and explore how improved access to fresh, locally grown food can promote healthier eating habits for families and communities.

As yet untitled, Mrs. Obama’s book will be published as a beautifully illustrated four-color hardcover, including photographs of the White House garden throughout the seasons, as well as of other community, urban, and school gardens around the country. A standard e-book as well as an enhanced e-book edition, featuring additional multimedia content and resources for readers, will be issued simultaneously.

Mrs. Obama accepted no advance for the book and will donate all proceeds to a charity or charities to be named later. Random House, Inc. will also make a donation to an appropriate charity to be named later.

Maya Mavjee, President & Publisher, Crown Publishing Group, acquired world, first and second serial, and e-book rights from Robert B. Barnett of Williams & Connolly, who represented Mrs. Obama. Tina Constable, Senior Vice President, Publisher, Crown Archetype, will oversee publication of the book, working in close collaboration with Lauren Shakely, Senior Vice President, Publisher, Clarkson Potter.

In her own words, Mrs. Obama will describe how her daughters Sasha and Malia were catalysts for change in her own family's eating behavior, which inspired Mrs. Obama to plant an edible garden on the South Lawn - the first since Eleanor Roosevelt's “Victory Garden” planted during World War II. The book will be inspirational and instructive and will provide ideas and resources for readers to get involved in the movement to create community, school, and urban gardens, support local farmers’ markets, and make small lifestyle changes to achieve big health results. Mrs. Obama will also share some of her family's favorite healthy recipes.

Since entering the White House, Mrs. Obama has emerged as a passionate advocate for healthful eating and exercise. In February 2010 she launched Let’s Move!, a nationwide initiative to address the epidemic of childhood obesity by empowering parents and caregivers with information, improving food quality in schools, increasing access to healthy, affordable food, and encouraging increased physical activity. Let’s Move! was inspired in part by Mrs. Obama’s experience starting the White House Kitchen Garden in March 2009. She broke ground on a 1,100 square foot plot with the help of 23 fifth-grade students from the Bancroft Elementary School in Washington, D.C.

The garden, which cost less than $200 to start, has produced more than 2,000 pounds of fresh fruit and vegetables that have been incorporated into formal White House dinners and desserts and Obama family dinners. The remaining produce has been donated to Miriam’s Kitchen, a D.C. area food shelter. The White House Kitchen Garden has encouraged national and international interest in the dietary benefits of locally grown, nutritious food.

“We are honored to publish Mrs. Obama's book, which will empower and encourage all Americans to choose more nutritious, delicious, and locally grown items for their families and their communities,” said Maya Mavjee.

Crown is also the publisher of President Barack Obama’s two national bestselling memoirs, Dreams from My Father and The Audacity of Hope.

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*Photo by Eddie Gehman Kohan/ObamaFoodorama.com