The story of a girl whose sunflower bloomed to astonishing height grew into a full-fledged children’s book thanks to one local writer.
Azi Sabi Kaider of Damascus held a book signing event for “Angela’s Sunflower” from 3 to 5 p.m. Jan. 20 in Germantown at the family home of Angela Grey-Theriot, the young girl at the heart of both the book and the event that inspired its creation.
“Angela’s Sunflower” is based on the true story of one little girl’s sunflower seed given to her by a neighbor that became a 14-foot-6 tall sunflower. Grey-Theriot was 6 years old when the sunflower grew in 2007. Now in her early teens, she and her mom conducted the book signing at the house the flower had grown at years before.
Kaider saw Grey-Theriot’s determination as a main source of inspiration for writing the book. The tale of the sunflower occurred just months after an incident where the young girl had nearly drowned in a local pool before being saved by the lifeguards and her mother Cecelia Grey-Theriot.
“Angela is our little miracle child who is known for her determination and will to never give up,” said Kauider. “When she puts her mind to something, she gets it done. She took a single sunflower seed, which, as the story explains, she put in her mouth, being a child of 6 years and not knowing any better, to help it grow.”
Though her mom told her afterward it probably would not grow, Grey-Theriot planted the seed in her front yard, anyway, where it grew to more than 14 feet tall. Most sunflowers only reach between 5 and 12 feet in height. To this day, her mother keeps a bowl of seeds left over from the original plant, although none that have been planted ever grew quite as tall.
Kaider wrote and self-illustrated the story of “Angela’s Sunflower,” her first children’s book and likely not her last. “I have always had a vision of writing stories for children and doing the illustrations myself, and Angela’s story lent itself perfectly well as an inspiration for my first book,” she said. “Since its publication, ‘Angela’s Sunflower’ has taken off so successfully with readers that I am even more encouraged to begin the next one.”
About 70 people attended the book signing, which featured the book “characters” in real life including Cindy Wu, the next-door neighbor who provided the sunflower seed.
Information about the book and the author can be found at www.azisabikaider.weebly.com.