"Exploring the unmowed corners of the world."

Books by Anita Sanchez

Rotten! Vultures, Beetles, and Slime: Nature’s Decomposers

Open this book to uncover the dirty rotten truth about one of nature’s most fascinating processes.

A Junior Library Guild Selection

A funny and fact-filled look at decomposition in all of its slimy glory, illustrated with dazzling full-color art by Gilbert Ford. Vultures, fungi, dung beetles, and more aid in this fascinating and sometimes smelly aspect of the life cycle that’s right under our noses.

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

Everybody gets itchy, and every kid will love this title that scratches the itch to know more about the history, anatomy, botany, biology behind it.

You can feel it coming on—that terrible, tortuous ITCH. It’s your body’s way of sending you a message you can’t miss. And there are so many things that make us itch—from fungus to fleas, mosquitoes to nettles, poison ivy to tarantulas!

Combining history, anatomy, laugh-out-loud illustrations, and even tips to avoid—and soothe—the itch, Anita Sanchez takes readers on an intriguing look into what makes you scratch. Illustrations by Gilbert Ford. 

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ITCH is a Junior Library Guild selection.

“A fun, intriguing, and accessible mix of anatomy and history, with a healthy dose of gross.”–Kirkus, STARRED review
“Factual and surprisingly fun, here’s a very readable book about a common experience.”–Booklist, STARRED review


Wait Till It Gets Dark!

It’s night. It’s dark. Time to go indoors—or is it? The outdoors at night can be a scary place. Wait Till It Gets Dark by Anita Sanchez and George Steele will help young readers investigate the mysterious nature of night.

Illustrations by John Himmelman

Discover nighttime landscapes and the nocturnal animals that inhabit them, from desert coyotes to the frog chorus in a backyard pond—and a corner of the bathroom at midnight where a spider lurks…

Can you walk as silently as a fox? Use your night vision like an owl? Follow a scent trail? Filled with activities and ideas, this book invites readers of all ages to explore the mysterious world of their own backyards after dark.

Karl, Get Out of the Garden!

Swine’s snout? Yellow daisy? Dandelion?

 What was the right name? Young Karl Linné wasn’t sure—and neither was anyone else!

Doctors, gardeners, farmers—everybody!—argued about the names of plants and animals. How could scientists communicate if they couldn’t even agree on what to call things? 

Karl knew there was only one solution: to organize and name EVERY LIVING THING in the world. But it was an enormous job. Could he do it?  

He decided to try. Karl created a new language of science—and forever changed the way people saw the world.


Karl, Get out of the Garden! is a picture book biography of Carolus Linnaeus. The famous naturalist was a brilliant scientist whose system of binomial nomenclature–two names for each living thing–is still used today. But he started out as a curious little boy with a passion for weeds and bugs. His exuberant, outspoken, and defiant personality makes him a fascinating character.

Illustrations by Catherine Stock

In Praise of Poison Ivy

As a science writer, I’m fascinated by plants and animals that are unloved—like dandelions, tarantulas, and what is perhaps the world’s most hated plant—poison ivy.cover--in praise of poison ivy--sanchez

Millions of people are allergic to poison ivy, which contains one of the most potent toxins on earth. But the astounding paradox is that poison ivy is a plant of immense ecological value. It’s a plant of a powerful plant with a dramatic history and an increasingly important role in the American landscape. For me, poison ivy has served as a lens through which to take a closer look at the green world, and the changes and challenges that face our planet.

In Praise of Poison Ivy is a nonfiction book for adults, which explores the vices and virtues of a powerful plant with a dramatic history and an increasingly important role in the American landscape.

Leaflets Three, Let it Be!: The Story of Poison Ivy

Leaflets Three, Let it Be!: The Story of Poison Ivy is a children’s picture book, designed to help the youngest outdoor explorers both appreciate and avoid poison ivy.

Beautiful illustrations by Robin Brickman highlight the amazing variety of wildlife that use poison ivy for food and shelter. And no, they don’t get itchy–only humans are affected by the toxic three leaves. Bees buzz in poison ivy flowers, gathering poison ivy nectar. Cardinals use poison ivy rootlets to line their nests. Insects roll themselves up in a snug blanket of poison ivy leaves while toads hunt and spiders spin webs in the shade. And birds by the dozens come flocking to a poison ivy feast of winter berries.

Anita’s other published books include Mr. Lincoln’s Chair: The Shakers and Their Quest for PeaceThe Invasion of Sandy Bay, and The Teeth of the Lion: The Story of the Beloved and Despised Dandelion.

The Unmowed Blog

The unmowed corners.

That’s where life shoves through, grows to the sun, flourishes.

I stop every time I’m in a parking lot, a schoolyard, a graveyard–anywhere–and see what plants are growing. There’s unintended beauty in the untended places. I look to see what’s pushing through the cracks in the pavement. What the mowers have missed. What the weed whackers have failed to whack.

So come on this journey with me. Examine and rejoice in that which no one else notices.

Stop by often to see what’s going on in the parking lot! Read Unmowed Blog posts here.


A published author and professional educator, Anita Sanchez has many years of experience in providing classes and hands-on, participatory programs to a wide range of audiences.

The former director of Educational Programming at the Five Rivers Center with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, she has presented classes in schools throughout New England and New York State, and given workshops at the American Museum of Natural History, Colonial Williamsburg, Harvard Natural History Museum, the New York State Museum, and many other libraries, bookstores, museums, and classrooms.


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Mud Season

Turns out mud puddles have all sorts of uses. They’re swimming pool, bathtub, drinking fountain and construction site for dozens of species of wildlife.

J.R.R. Tolkien: The Living Tree

JRR Tolkien saw trees as living, breathing beings. He sensed the rich life that flowed through them; he saw faces in their corrugated bark; he heard their voices. And of all the beloved characters he wrote about–hobbits, dwarves, elves–the most bewitching of all his creations are the Ents.

Why I Waste Time on Social Media

It’s tempting to say, ah, it’s all a load of nonsense and skip social media altogether. But in today’s world people of good will all need to speak up. Speak up, and stand up for truth and reason, in any way we can.

Branching Out

The branching pattern of this tree—of any tree—is beautiful, complex, and anything but accidental. There’s a reason for every twist and turn in every smallest twig. It’s all driven by the search for sunlight.

Rudyard Kipling: Merlin’s Isle

Rudyard Kipling originated the genre of books where realistic children stumble into magic adventure. Suddenly magic intersects with everyday life—turns out there’s a snowstorm going on in the back of a wardrobe, or an owl brings you a letter inviting you to Hogwarts! He was followed by E. Nesbit, C.S. Lewis’s tales of Narnia and J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter. But Kipling did it first.

Winter Solstice: Coming Soon to a Horizon Near You

What is a solstice? It’s the darkest part of winter. Yet paradoxically, it’s a time to...

How To Identify Evergreens

One of the remarkable things about December, whether you celebrate Christmas or not, is that almost everywhere you go, there are evergreens draped all over things. The more urban the setting, the more greenery. Shopping malls suddenly resemble forests.

Living Fences

Plain old bushes. They show their true value in snowy winters. Their thick network of branches hold back the snow like protecting hands. Where the road is lined with a thick swath of trees, bushes, and weeds, the road is safer.

November Puddles

My Sorrow, when she’s here with me Thinks these dark days of autumn rain Are...

The Leaves of Sherwood

I always thought Sherwood Forest was a mythical place, like Neverland or Narnia. But it really exists.

Acting Like a Squirrel

I’m taking on the role of squirrel. Every time I take a walk, I put a few walnuts, or acorns, or wild sour apples in my pocket, and I toss them into the hedgerows and trailsides. Will future generations of bluejays, wild turkeys, and chipmunks feast on the apples and acorns I plant today?

Chicory: Beautiful Blue Coffee Substitute

When you take a moment to look at chicory up close, this common roadside weed is a symphony in blue.

The Shelves of Time

Whether the book is fact, mystery, or poetry, it goes in its appropriate place on the time line. Fiction and nonfiction rubbing shoulders through the long shelves of time.

Best Wishes of the Season

It’s almost time for my favorite holiday! I can’t wait till October 31 for the...