"Exploring the unmowed corners of the world."

Books by Anita Sanchez

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. 

Itching to know more?

Where to buy

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 is a children’s picture book, designed to help the youngest outdoor explorers both appreciate and avoid poison ivy.

Wild mammals from mice to moose, honeybees and butterflies, woodpeckers, wild turkeys, robins, and bluebirds all defy poison ivy’s nasty nature and feast on its leaves and fruit. Cardinals are even known to line their nests with fuzzy poison ivy rootlets.

Poison ivy and humans have long had a passionate love/hate affair. This book follows the trail of poison ivy as it encounters an engaging cast of historical characters, including explorers, scientists, entrepreneurs and royalty—who all learned about poison ivy the hard way. Despite its irritating qualities, the magnificent scarlet-and-gold autumn foliage of poison ivy has been showcased in the gardens of presidents and kings.

The book includes informational sidebars on identifying poison ivy, how to cope with that insanely itchy rash, and “green” methods of coping with the plant.

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

A book about poison ivy? Anita Sanchez writes of the surprising virtues of the despised plant in her new children’s book, published by Boyds Mills Press.

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.


Multi Media Bar

Previous Next
Mint: Is It Your Cup of Tea?

Upset stomach. Ugh. Not horridly painful, nothing serious, just out of sorts and a bit,...

World War I Journal: A Soldier’s Burial

The body is stripped, then wrapped in a blanket and gently lowered into a hole. The cold earth is then thrown upon the corpse until it is hidden from view.

Samoa: Fish-Watching

Coral reef fish are the craziest, gaudiest, most unlikely colors, like a kid run wild with a paintbox. Splashes of lemon, stripes of neon blue, turquoise, and the hottest of hot pink. Each fish is a work of art that’s looking you right in the eye.

Why I Love Halloween

Halloween. The fading of summer, the rising cold, the early darkness–plainly it’s time to start thinking about how to avoid evil and bad luck.

Chicory: Blue Beauty

The color of chicory flowers is the pure clear blue of a June sky or a bluebird feather.

Summer Solstice: Coming to a Horizon Near You

This year, the summer solstice falls on Thursday, 21, at 6:07 a.m. Set your alarm.

June 30–Protest Family Separation

That picture of a crying child couldn’t be taken in America. We don’t do that.

Some Like It Cold

As we say a merry farewell and good riddance to winter, let’s take a moment to be thankful for the gift of cold.


When people ask what my new book is about, I sort of wish that I could say whales. Or dolphins or puppies. Something cool, something cute. Something that doesn’t have piercing, sucking mouthparts and a whole lot of legs.

A Little Night Music

Usually the frog chorus starts up in April, but this cold spring it was May before they really got tuned up. Now the frogs are busily making up for lost time.

Poison on the Lawn

Pesticides are poisons. They kill living things, that’s their purpose. They’ll kill dandelions and crabgrass, for sure. The question is, what else do they harm?

Mosher Marsh

The tracks in the snow tell the story. Mosher Marsh, a Mohawk/Hudson Land Conservancy preserve in Amsterdam NY, is a rich habitat for many species of wildlife.

Giant Tortoise: Poetry in Motion

Ran into this lovely lady in the Philadelphia Zoo. She’s the oldest animal in zoo, but you’d never guess it—she’s very well preserved. Almost a hundred years young. She lived on an island in the Galapagos until 1928. When she was born—or, rather, hatched—is not known.

About Time

We’re tied, all of us, much more strongly than we think, to nature’s cycles of light and dark.