Thursday, March 22, 2012

Publication Delayed Again for First Lady's White House Kitchen Garden Book, "American Grown"

First Lady Michelle Obama's forthcoming book America Grown, about her signature project, the White House Kitchen Garden, has been delayed for a second time, a spokesman for the publisher told Obama Foodorama. The book will now be released on May 29th, rather than the previously announced date of May 1.

Originally scheduled to be released on April 10th, 2012, in January of this year Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House, changed the publication date for the first time, citing production delays, and announced a change for the book's subtitle, too.

"We want to make sure it is as beautiful as possible," said Crown spokesman Tammy Blake about the new publication date. She again cited production delays as the reason.

The 256-page hardcover edition will sell for $30 in the US market, and Blake said an enhanced e-book edition will also be released on May 29. Archival photos of the First Lady and visitors to the Kitchen Garden being used for the book were still being gathered by the book's art director in mid-February, though photos taken exclusively for the project by lensman Quentin Bacon were shot throughout Kitchen garden harvest and planting events in 2011. Bacon photographed Mrs. Obama for the book jacket last May.

The book's subtitle is now "The Story of the White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America," changed from the original "How the White House Kitchen Garden Inspires Families, Schools and Communities." In her first outing as an author, Mrs. Obama will describe how daughters Malia, now 13, and Sasha, now 10, "were the catalysts for change for their family's eating behavior which inspired her national initiative to address childhood obesity and resulted in the idea to plant a vegetable garden on the South Lawn," according to Crown.

"This book is going to be beautiful and amazing," Senior Policy Advisor for Healthy Food Initiatives Sam Kass said recently. "Full of recipes, and how-to tips about how to plant a garden, how to plant a children's garden, how to do it on your windowsill, how to do it on your back porch...in your a backyard...in a school."

"It's going to be a great tool but also a great visual and a great story."

First Lady will donate proceeds to unnamed charities...
Mrs. Obama "accepted no advance for the book and will donate all net or after-tax author proceeds to a charity or charities to be named later," Crown said when first announcing the project in March of 2011. "Random House, Inc. will also make a donation to an appropriate charity to be named later."

The names of the First Lady's "charity or charities" have not yet been announced, and Mrs. Obama's Press Secretary, Hannah August, told Obama Foodorama that there is not yet a date when this information will be revealed. She also said she could not specify details about whether or not Mrs. Obama will go on an author tour to promote the book this summer.

Crown is the publisher of President Obama’s two national bestselling memoirs, Dreams from My Father and The Audacity of Hope. Bob Barnett, a Washington, DC powerbroker who is a partner at Williams & Connolly, is the high-powered attorney who represents President Obama for his book deals, and he made the American Grown deal for Mrs. Obama, too.

Exclusive details on the project and the previously planned marketing campaign are here. These were originally pegged to a release in advance of Mother's Day 2012.

UPDATE: The First Lady will replant the Kitchen Garden for Spring on Monday, March 26th, joined by students from four states and DC.

*Book jacket photo courtesy of Crown Publishing Group. Photo of Mrs. Obama in the Kitchen Garden by Eddie Gehman Kohan/Obama Foodorama.