September is the month when I pull out my basket of books on apples and Johnny Appleseed. We start to welcome in the fall season (even if the temperatures don’t acknowledge it and there are wildfires blazing around us still here in northern California).
The kiddos and I talk about the stages of an apple tree and all the delicious treats you can make from apples (some recipes below!). But, perhaps best of all, we love celebrating a little “holiday” called Johnny Appleseed Day…
John Chapman was a real-life man who walked our nation spreading apple seeds and the Good News. He was born more than two hundred years ago in Massachusetts on September 26th. (How perfect that a man obsessed with apples was born during apple season!?) He was a nature-lover from the get-go, appreciating all of God’s creation. He grew up in a crowded home near an apple orchard where he was responsible for picking and storing the apples to make ciders, vinegar, butter, and sauces. Once he was 18 years old, he left home with very little to carry, but he did bring a small sack of apple seeds. He planted his first nursery of apple seedlings and sold them one by one to setters who came out west – quite the entrepreneur! He continued to travel by foot, planting and sharing, until he was 70 years old! Legends abound regarding how he traveled and lived his life in the wilderness. Whether they’re true or not doesn’t interest me – they make for entertaining stories. What I like my kids to get out of revisiting this”holiday” each year is that we can do small things for others. We can spread the Good News about Jesus’ love and kindness to anyone, anywhere. There is a monument in Indiana near where Johnny Appleseed passed away, and it reads, “He lived for others”.
There is an old Disney cartoon from 1948 made about Johnny that you can find on the Disney American Legends DVD. (It also has cartoons of Paul Bunyan, John Henry, and Casey Jones). You can also find clips of it on YouTube, but not the whole video, for copyright reasons. The most memorable part of the video for me was/is the song Johnny sings; it’s precious… “The Lord is good to me, and so I thank the Lord For givin’ me the things I need The sun, and rain, and an apple seed. Yes, He’s been good to me. I owe the Lord so much, for everything I see. I’m certain if it weren’t for Him, There’d be no apples on this limb. He’s been good to me. Oh, here am I ‘neath the blue, blue sky a-doin’ as I please. Singin’ with my feathered friends, hummin’ with the bees. I wake up every day as happy as can be, Because I know that with His care, My apple trees, they will still be there. Oh, the Lord is good to me.”
To celebrate Johnny’s birthday, we always snack on applesauce. Sometimes, I make this family recipe for mouth-watering Cinnamon Applesauce. Click here for the recipe. For dessert, I sometimes make an apple pie. But usually, I make these super soft, delicious-smelling, and delectable-tasting Apple Cookies. Click here for a printable recipe.
Our favorite books to read about Johnny Appleseed are: Johnny Appleseed by Steven Kellogg, Seed by Seed: The Legend and Legacy of John “Appleseed” Chapman, Johnny Appleseed, My Little Golden Book About Johnny Appleseed, and Johnny Appleseed, My Story (Step-Into-Reading, Step 3).
Other great little kids’ books about apples include: Secrets of the Apple Tree (A Shine-a-Light Book), Apple Farmer Annie, Apples and Pumpkins, and Big Red Apple (Hello Reader, Level 1).
I hope you have a deliciously juicy time celebrating Johnny Appleseed Day! Remember, the Lord’s been good to you, beloved.
(This post contains affiliate links to Amazon. If you purchase any recommended books or DVDs from these links, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you, so thank you. 😊)
“Taste and see that the Lord is good” Psalm 34:8 (NIV)