Rotten! by Anita Sanchez will be released Tuesday, January 22. It is a picture book/chapter book hybrid targeting 3rd-6th graders (and even adults!), and covers all different aspects of decomposition. The text is light-hearted, with clever, child-friendly analogies about the science behind death and rebirth.
Below are some of the layouts and illustrations I created to go with the text, ranging from the funny– to the whimsical — to the serious and reverent (in the case of the funeral over a compost pile image).
A recommended read for anyone interested in the basics of composting their garden, understanding the science behind decomposition, and grasping a better understanding of all that ends and begins again.
Itch! by Anita Sanchez, has received the following recognition this year:
• Junior Library Guild Selection
• Finalist for 2019 AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize for Excellence in Science Books in the Middle Grade Science Book category
•Chicago Public Library Best Books of 2018 List
Rotten! by Anita Sanchez, is the follow-up to Itch! and is going to be released in January of 2019. It has received some favorable reviews and is also a Junior Library Guild Selection.
Every person being honored had to make a speech and it was televised on kidlit tv! Somehow the televised part had slipped my mind or else I would have worn a tie. The polo was for the classroom visit I had been asked to do.
After the awards ceremony, the book signing, and lunch, I was asked to doodle on a wall in the Bank Street Library, so I drew a man walking my dog. I wish I had thought to photograph all the illustrators’ work that is also on the walls there.
At the end of the day, I visited a class and gave a short presentation on both the writing and illustrating processes for How The Cookie Crumbled. Then I read the book, drew, and answered questions.
I nice day was had by all at Bank Street College 🙂
Photo credit for awards ceremony goes to Cheryl Simon
Christy Ottaviano at Macmillan/Ottaviano has bought North American rights, in a two-book deal, to Gilbert Ford’s first illustrated middle grade novel, Kindred Spirits, in which a lonely girl helps her fake psychic mother con widows out of their inheritances, while keeping her own real psychic abilities and ghost best friend a secret. Publication is planned for winter 2020; Carrie Hannigan at Hannigan Salky Getzler brokered the deal.
I illustrated an 80 page chapter book for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt called ITCH! Everything You Didn’t Want to Know About What Makes You Scratch by Anita Sanchez. It is considered a “grossology” science book for 2nd grade-6th grade. But most of my adult friends enjoy reading it, too so there’s something for everyone in it.
Because the subject matter was a little challenging (bedbugs and lice!), I talked with the librarians at The Clinton Hill Library, asking their advice on how I should illustrate it before I began. They gave me health science books on the birds and the bees and Where did I Come From, which I remember reading when I was a kid. It turns out, the only way to tackle sensitive or particularly gross subject matter is through humor.
Anita Sanchez had already written the informative and accessible text, so my job was to make it whimsical, scientific, and FUNNY. I took inspiration from silly symphony cartoons I remember watching on the Disney Chanel when I was a kid. I found vintage ephemera to photograph, trying to give off the illusion of science projects, insect boxes, and bulletin boards with data, old slides, and film reels.
The follow-up book, called Rotten!, will be out next year, and it is 116 pages about all things that decompose. Some of the images can be solved with humor, and some of them are more serious and must be portrayed with reverence. I look forward to sharing that next January!
Below are some of the images from the book ITCH! without the text.