Multimedia Children’s Book That Helps Kids Develop EQ: A Dark & Dismal Flower

Coliloquy is a digital publisher, leveraging advances in technology to enable the next generation of interactive ebooks and reader engagement apps. Coliloquy just published an  A Dark & Dismal Flower written by mother and daughter authors J.C. Herz and Eve Scott.  This amazing children’s book is mesmerizing and takes you on a magical, mysterious  journey where seeds sprout, grow, and blossom into allegorical flowers – a classic fairy tale for tablet devices that opens doors to parent-child conversations on emotions.

Note: Emotional Quotient (EQ) is a way to measure how a person recognizes emotions, manages emotions, both his own and those of others.”(EQ) is like “street smarts,” as opposed to “book smarts,” and it’s what accounts for a great deal of one’s ability to navigate life effectively.” The Huffington Post, Carolyn Gregoire

The team at Special Needs Blog thanks Kiera O’Rourke, Coliloquy’s Marketing and Editorial Manager, for sending us the following guest post introducing  A Dark & Dismal FlowerIn her introductory letter she wrote:

“What makes A Dark & Dismal Flower amazing, aside from the story and revolutionary technology, is the mother-daughter story behind it. A Dark and Dismal Flower was a collaboration between a child, as she grew from age five to age seven, and her mother, a three-time author and former New York Times columnist. The story of their collaboration is a tale of a creative parent stepping back to let a child’s imagination run wild; of really listening, being surprised and even startled by a child’s thoughts. Our hope is that this is the experience of parents and children reading DDF. The book provides a starting point, with every seed, for the kinds of EQ conversations that made it so rewarding to create.”

Guest Post by Kiera O’Rourke

Multimedia Children’s Book That Helps Kids Develop EQ:

A Dark & Dismal Flower

Illustration of Eve in Multimedia Children’s Book that helps kids develop EQ: A Dark & Dismal FlowerAn exquisitely illustrated allegory about magical seeds that blossom into the flowers of a little girl’s virtues and failings – a springboard for parent-child conversations about character and moral reasoning.

On the way back from kindergarten, five-year-old Eve Scott (illustration of Eve in the book at left) reflected on how mornings tend to unfold the way they start. “It’s like planting a seed,” she explained. “If you plant the seed of happiness, it grows into a happy morning. If you plant the seed of crankiness, it grows into a bad morning.” She looked over to her brother Jack, who had been moaning and protesting about his day. “Jack planted the seed of misery,” she deadpanned, “and I hope it has not grown into a dark and dismal flower.”

Instead of dismissing this moment, her mother, JC Herz, engaged her daughter. She asked  what other seeds might exist? What kind of flowers might they grow into? How would they look, or smell, or feel if you touched them? From these conversations, “A Dark & Dismal Flower” was born.

Combining the magic of modern tech with the mystery of old gothic tales, A Dark & Dismal Flower is a captivating story about a little girl who receives a strange packet of seeds from her aunt. At the touch of the reader’s finger, these seeds sprout and grow into botanical manifestations of her own character – the flowers of Cheerfulness, Kindness, Humor and Generosity unfold magically, as do the seeds of Spoiled, Argument, Misery, Vanity and Regret.

What’s wonderful about this book is its message— A Dark & Dismal Flower encourages children to explore, identify, and discuss emotion, even those that are considered taboo. The author says it provides a starting point for the kinds of conversations that made it so rewarding to create. JC Herz set out to write a children’s book that does not sacrifice sophistication (of language, of ideas, of aesthetics) just because it’s meant for children. And she made it interactive, to prove that tech can improve a story, not sully it.

Multimedia Children’s Book That Helps Kids Develop EQ: A Dark & Dismal Flower

You can find more excerpts of A Dark & Dismal Flower here:


“Mind the seeds you plant, and the flowers that you tend”

“a swollen flower…bristled into bloom and burst with a bang, leaving black pods to smolder on the ground”

“The seed of Diligence, planted with dirty fingernails, sprouted from a crack near the garden wall, and climbed and climbed and held on…”

“on the way to the mailbox, letter in hand, she planted the seed of hope near the garden gate…their feather-weight seeds, light as the wind, billowed up and away to faraway places”

About the Authors

J.C. Herz  co-author of Multimedia Children’s Book That Helps Kids Develop EQ: A Dark & Dismal FlowerJC Herz is the author of three books, including Learning to Breathe Fire: The Rise of CrossFit and the Primal Future of Fitness. She was the New York Times’ first game design critic (her “Game Theory” essays are archived here), and has written for Wired and Rolling Stone. She is an avid gardener, and likes to plant the purple versions of regular vegetables.

 Eve Scott is in second grade. She likes to build fairy houses and create jewelry out of natural materials. She has written two songs for ukulele, and an illustrated exposition of the parallels between Tolkien’s world of middle earth and Seamus Heaney’s translation of Beowulf.

 Shamona Stokes is a designer and illustrator, currently freelancing in New York City (her website: Her work has been showcased in publications like Graphis and galleries nationwide, including the Society of Illustrators. Her designs and artwork can be found on the bottom of skateboards and onstage for top-billing musicians. Shamona holds a BFA in Communication Design/Illustration from Pratt Institute. In her downtime, she enjoys adventuring in NYC and traveling to places off-the-beaten-path.

 Alex Scott is a motion graphics designer and animator, freelancing in the NYC area (his website: His work on broadcast TV has contributed to several Gold PromaxBDA and Telly awards. His animations have also been seen on digital billboards overlooking Times Square and at film festivals around the world. Alex received a BFA in Computer Graphics from Pratt Institute in 2001 where he met his wife, Shamona. He draws inspiration from the intersection of science and art and has an ear for music.

LINKSA page from Multimedia Children’s Book That Helps Kids Develop EQ: A Dark & Dismal Flower


  • Publisher: Coliloquy, LLC
  • Length: 17 pages
  • Type: Ebook
  • Released: May 1st, 2014
  • Target age range: 4-8


A Dark and Dismal Flower: The Writing Process by mom-author JC Herz

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