"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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Robert Louis Stevenson: Vailima

Robert Louis Stevenson took one look at the sun-drenched South Pacific island of Samoa, and knew he had come home. The famous author lived there at his home, called Vailima, for the rest of his short life.

Laura Ingalls Wilder: The Real Little House

It’s a long drive to Independence, Kansas, across the flat prairie. But what’s a few hours in an air-conditioned car? It took Laura Ingalls Wilder a lot longer to make the journey in a covered wagon.

Summer Solstice: Coming To A Sky Near You

A holiday for everyone, all welcome, no religion necessary. It’s just about the planet we all live on, tilting to and fro on its long journey around the sun.

Is A Tomato A Fruit or a Vegetable?

A hotly debated question: what, in fact, is a tomato? A sweet fruit or a savory vegetable? The answer depends on whether you’re a botanist or a chef.

Edgar Allan Poe: A Cottage in the Woods

It wasn’t exactly a romantic Kingdom by the Sea, but it was in this quiet cottage that Edgar Allan Poe wrote one of his greatest poems.

Red Orange Yellow Day

We’re just another species of mammal, trying to get through the winter. We tunnel through the snow and darkness as best we can. like the gray squirrels and the deer.

What To Do With An Old Christmas Tree

Balsam fir tea soothes the sinuses, opens the nasal passages, and evokes the depths of the wild forest in your stressed-out soul.

Another Reason To Say No To Plastic

Birds use all sorts of materials for nest building—twigs, grass, mud, moss, pine needles. And sometimes, sadly, plastic.

What Is A Solstice, Anyway?

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

Deck The Halls: A Field Guide

One of the remarkable things about December, whether you celebrate Christmas or not, is...

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.