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! and Rotten! receive some recognition!

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.

Over The Moon

Matthew Winner wrote a blog entry on the cover-reveal for my cover I illustrated for OVER THE MOON by Natalie Lloyd. Read about it HERE.

Julian Curtis School Visit

I visited the 3rd grade classes at Julian Curtis School in Greenwich, CT last Friday. The students were wonderful and asked tons of questions! 🙂

Here are some photos the school approved for sharing after my visit.

Bank Street Irma Black Honor

How The Cookie Crumbled received an Irma Black Honor from Bank Street College last Thursday. Tara Lazar’s 7ate9 was the big winner. Here are the Cooke Prize and Irma Black honorees.

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

2019 Grand Canyon Reading Award Nominee

The Marvelous Thing That Came From A Spring was nominated for the 2019 Grand Canyon Reading Award for the state of Arizona. Take a look at the other books on the list here.

School visit in White Plains

I visited Church Street School yesterday in White Plains, NY and had a blast giving a presentation for The Marvelous Thing That Came From A Spring and How The Cookie Crumbled. They gave me a lovely thank you card designed by one of the students.

Debut Middle Grade Novel to be published by Macmillan/Ottaviono

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.

ITCH! Everything You Didn’t Want to Know About What Makes You Scratch

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.

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