The Seed of Happiness, written by Jade Wong and illustrated by Wen Wen Lu.
Four year old Samuel cracks open another sunflower seed, giggling as he watches his puppy devour the seeds one by one, he starts to put on his shoes.
His mother had bought an arrangement of seeds from the local grocer, City Avenue, to plant at the community garden. As she grabs the basket of seeds to take to the garden, she feels the lightness of the basket.
It is then that she notices the mountain of empty shells in front of her son. In the basket, there remain all the seeds for the carrots, zucchinis and cucumbers but only a small handful of sunflower seeds. Shaking her head, she leashes the dog and takes Samuel by the hand. Together, they rush out the door to plant some more seeds and to water their growing vegetables.
Samuel enjoys their daily, post-dinner routine of tending to their garden. As they walk, he proudly holds their basket, hoping to return with yet another full basket of colourful vegetables. Meanwhile, his mom had hoped that some sunflowers would bring a nice pop of colour to their garden.
As they walk hand in hand in the crisp spring evening through Central Park, a friendly kitty is sitting on the path. Excited by the sight of the cat, Samuel drops the basket and chases the now-terrified cat. As the basket is quickly picked up by Samuel’s mom, a few seeds spill over to the grass below.
At that very moment, a slight breeze picks up and scatters the seeds throughout the park. Their dog is sniffing around when, jackpot! He inhales some of the sunflower seeds and goes back to trying to find his ball.
Meanwhile, the other seeds continue to tumble and roll around in the field, getting tossed around by soccer balls, weathered down by spring showers and surviving the relentless predators that are birds, squirrels and lawnmowers. Eventually, after days of treacherous environmental conditions, the surviving seeds settle on the outer edge of the park.
“BRRRRR” – the seeds are woken with a loud sound of a landscaper’s leaf blower gathering the fallen cherry blossom flowers along Rowland Street. The boisterous blower sweeps up the seeds from the comfort of their nest and pushes them further north along Rowland. Crossing Hawthorne, they settle slightly before a construction worker sweeps them further along. Eventually, a sweeper pushes them into the intersection of Kelly and Rowland.
A few weeks pass by and the seeds have remained in one grassy spot, starting to take root on a wet, rainy day when suddenly, they are consumed by Samuel’s dog who had eaten their seedling friends back at Central Park. Inside the cavity of the dog’s mouth, it is dark and gloomy, and almost still smells of sunflowers. Before they even know it, the seeds are deposited on a small soil field leading into Gates Park.
Exhausted from their thrilling journey of being tossed, turned and consumed, the seeds finally lay to rest for the rest of the evening on the heavenly dirt, awaiting for the arrival of a new day for a new adventure.
When the morning comes, the seeds realize that they are in the company of old friends. They are surrounded by tall sunflowers, who had grown while the other seeds were making their way to them. Appreciating the adventurous journey they had been on and finally feeling at home, these seeds grow up to be beautiful sunflowers as a family bringing happiness to visitors of Gates Park.