"Exploring the unmowed corners of the world."

Books by Anita Sanchez

Anita Sanchez is an award-winning author of books on environmental science and nature for children and adults.




New this spring from Holiday House


New this fall from Workman Publishing

meltdown coverPacked with information, grounded in the latest science, lively in its writing, illustrated throughout, Meltdown gives readers an eye-opening overview of glaciers and how important they are: There are over 100,000 glaciers covering 10% of earth’s landmass, acting as protective shields to cool the atmosphere and holding almost three-quarters of the planet’s fresh water. We learn how glaciers were formed (some over two million years ago), how they move and carve the landscape, how they’re replenished, and how scientists study them (the bluer the ice, the older it is). We discover secrets of earth’s climate history hidden deep in a glacier’s core—and understand the delicate ecosystem of animals and plants that thrive in their frigid worlds, from keystone species like salmon to curiosities like ice worms.

And we learn how climate change is threatening the glaciers, in turn, threatening all the benefits they bring the planet—and all the positive steps readers can take to become climate activists, reduce their carbon footprint, and save the glaciers.



save whale sharksSave the Endangered Species!

A multi-part series on some of the most fascinating and rare wildlife on our planet.

More here

Save the Whale Sharks   September 2022


The passengers on the boat stare wide-eyed into the clear water. A huge, dark shape glides just under the surface, jaws stretched in a massive grin. The shark is bigger than a person, bigger than an elephant, bigger than the boat! Its enormous mouth is wide enough to swallow you whole.

But this is a gentle giant.


Save the Giraffes January 2023

If you want to look a giraffe in the eye, you have to look up…up…up! The giraffe looms high over your head, calmly chewing leaves while its keen, long-lashed eyes gaze down at you standing far below.


Save the Gorillas   May 2023

What happens if you tickle a gorilla? And would you dare to try?

Gorillas are big animals that can be really, really scary. They have huge fangs, enormous muscles, and can weigh four hundred pounds. Sometimes a male gorilla will pound his chest and let out a terrifying roar. Their massive arms are strong enough to tear down trees and bend iron bars. Who wouldn’t be scared?

But it turns out that gorillas aren’t as dangerous as they look. They don’t eat people—in fact, they don’t eat meat at all, just plants. Gorillas can be gentle friends and tender, loving parents. And they really like to laugh.


Save the Koalas    2023

Did you ever hug a koala bear? You might have! A lot of the stuffed teddy bears you see on toy store shelves are designed to look like cute, fuzzy koalas. But in real life, there’s no such thing as a koala bear.

The small mammals known as koalas are often called bears because they look like little bear cubs, with their short round ears, pudgy bodies and funny noses. But koalas aren’t related to bears at all—they’re a special kind of animal called a marsupial, which means that they carry their babies in a pouch on their stomachs. These funny, furry animals are some of the most amazing creatures that live in the huge island continent of Australia.


Save the Pandas    2024

 Would you like to go to a panda’s birthday party? You’re invited!

The birthday boy is a roly-poly young panda named Xiao Qi Ji. His parents came from China, but he was born at the National Zoo in Washington DC. To celebrate his second birthday, the zoo staff made him his own special cake, a giant “fruit-sicle” of frozen fruit juice decorated with bananas and chunks of sweet potato, apple, and sugar cane.


Also this spring, watch for:

monkey trialMonkey Business: The Battle Over Evolution in the Classroom (Clarion Books)









Splash into

Hello, Puddle!

A nonfiction picture book exploring a deceptively simple but unexpectedly crucial resource for wildlife: puddles! This lyrical, gorgeously illustrated nonfiction picture book is perfect for young science learners and nature lovers.    Pre-order

Hello, Puddle sanchez nature picture book


Hello, puddle! Who’s here?

A normal everyday puddle may not seem very special. But for a mother turtle, it might be the perfect place to lay her eggs. For a squirrel, it might be the only spot to cool off and get a drink when the sun is shining down in July. And for any child, it can be a window into the elegant, complex natural world right outside their window.

With lush, playful illustrations and fun facts about the animals featured, Hello, Puddle! is a joyful celebration of the remarkable in the ordinary, and the importance of even the most humble places in fostering life. more


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

Rotten! Vultures, Beetles, Slime, and Nature's Other Decomposers by Anita SanchezA 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.

find out more

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

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.

Read Unmowed Blog posts here.

For Educators


Whether you’re a classroom teacher, a homeschooler, a parent, or just someone who loves kids, books and nature, I hope you will find my books to be helpful. My goal in writing each one has been to excite young readers about science and help them discover the natural world that surrounds us.

Hello Puddle! Educators’ Guide with Student Activities










Leaflets Three, Let It Be! The Story of Poison Ivy Educators’ Guide with Student Activities










And for something completely different…

Most of my books are science-based nonfiction, with one exception: a historical novel for middle grade. The Invasion of Sandy Bay is a true story of a long-forgotten incident in history, when the British invaded a little Massachusetts town in 1814. Redcoats came face to face with New England fishermen—and enemies found themselves working together instead of fighting each other.

The Invasion of Sandy Bay Educators’ Guide with Student Activities











Programs for Schools and Libraries

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, National Science Teaching Association, Harvard Natural History Museum, the New York State Museum, and many libraries, museums, and classrooms.


Multi Media Bar

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Seaweed: The Edible Forest

In the depths of the potato famine the Irish found on the seashore a crop of nutritious food that their ancestors had eaten, a life-giving food the fungus couldn’t kill: seaweed.

The Forest in the Sea

The ocean is home to some of the most amazing forests in the world. The answers to many of our planet’s problems may lie under the water, too, hidden in these underwater forests of seaweed.

Why Do Squirrels Love Puddles?

A long hike to a waterhole is a dangerous affair for a squirrel. Especially for urban squirrels, streams may be far away. Even a tiny puddle can be a life-giving, crucial water source.

Why Do Swallows Love Puddles?

Barn swallows scoop up beakfuls of mud to build a strong nest that endures like pottery. It might take a thousand separate trips to the mud source before the nest is complete.

The Dandelion Strategy: Why Dandelions Are Such Successful Plants

Flowers are publicity, and dandelions excel at the marketing game. That bright yellow beckons pollinators, and each flower head has hundreds of individual blossoms.

Why Do Butterflies Love Puddles?

Butterflies seek out puddles, drawn to their muddy margins as though to a garden of flowers. It’s not nectar they’re after. They absorb salts. minerals, and nutrients they need to survive.

Bird Bathtub

Birds dive into a puddle like kids playing in the pool. But all that splashing isn’t just for fun. Birds need to bathe their feathers often to keep them in peak flying condition.

Why Do Kids Love Puddles?

Why is it that as soon as kids can toddle, they head for the nearest puddle? A puddle is just the right size for the smallest explorers.

Hello, Puddle!

So there’s this mud puddle. It sits at the bottom of my driveway—a long country driveway...

In Praise of Mud Puddles

What good is a mud puddle? It’s a watering hole and Home Depot for a whole host of tiny wildlife.

Winter Puddles: A Nice Cold Drink

A winter puddle is a gift, a source of desperately-needed water, for squirrels, deer, wild turkeys, songbirds, and so many other animals, trying like us to make it through till spring comes.

The Imagination of Sam

A poem about dreaming big.

Litlinks: Ways to Use Nonfiction in the Classroom

Check out Litlinks, a wonderful blog by Patricia Newman. It’s a wealth of ideas for ways teachers can use nonfiction in the classroom. Lots of great STEM tie-ins.

I have a guest post about my nonfiction picture book, Hello, Puddle!

Mysterious Mushrooms

Mushrooms are just one type of the strange organisms called fungi. It looks like a plant, but it eats like an animal. Just as animals do, fungus has to feed on other things—living or dead.