"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.

Her many recognitions include:

William Allen White Master List 2020

Cook Prize Honor Book

John Burroughs Society Riverby Award

SONWA Award Notable Book

Finalist for AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize for Excellence in Science Books

Bank Street Center for Children’s Literature Best Children’s Books of the Year

American Horticultural Society “Growing Good Kids” Award

 

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.

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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.

Programs

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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Dandelion Recipes: Vitamin-Rich Food From the Lawn

Dandelions are one of the most nutritious plants in your garden. A vitamin powerhouse, with calcium, aron and all sorts of good stuff. Try a dandelion recipe!

Rachel Carson In Maine: The Salty Garden

At the end of her life, Rachel Carson was struggling to raise an adopted child, write a world-changing book, and battle terminal cancer, simultaneously. She didn’t have any spare time for gardening. Her backyard was the North Atlantic, and her garden was a salty one.

Lichens: What Are They, Anyway?

What is a lichen, anyway? It’s actually two things, two distinct and unrelated organisms—a species of fungi and a species of algae—living harmoniously together.

There’s Nothing More Beautiful Than a Dandelion

“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” Thoreau

Do Dogs Get Poison Ivy?

Is it only us? Are we humans the only ones to get poison ivy’s dreaded skin rash?...

Three Rocks A Day

I’m going to build rock wall. That’s what I decided, three years ago. A long...

Looking For Fern Seed

Fern seed doesn’t exist. Ferns evolved millions of years before seed-bearing plants like grasses and wildflowers, and ferns reproduce by means of spores. These dust-like specks are so tiny as to be almost invisible.

The Beauty of Dandelions

Long ago, it must have seemed to the Pilgrims and pioneers as if they were on a little island of civilization in a threatening sea of wildness, and dandelions were part of their fence to keep the wilderness at bay. Nowadays, it seems as though the wild places are the fragile islands, surrounded by a rising tide of pavement.

Ears Like A Frog

Frogs spend the winter hibernating. Peepers sleep away the coldd under logs or leaves, but in early spring they migrate to water. There, in a pond or swamp, on the first nights, the males begin to give their high, sweet call. But why does the frog chorus tune up at night?

Cold Spring

This spring there’s a chill in the air that isn’t only due to the weather....

Dame’s Rocket: The Wandering Lady

Dame’s Rocket, gorgeously attired in shades of white, rose-pink, lavender and purple, wanders into gardens, meadows, landfills. She hitchhikes along roadways. She lines the pond, and the forest, and the parking lot at the mall.

Poison Ivy Is Shiny: True or False?

You can always spot poison ivy because it’s shiny. True or false?
Standardized tests aside, answers in real life are rarely absolutely true or completely false. Poison ivy shiny? True, sometimes, especially in spring. False, most of the time.

Best Trees of the Decade

Do they watch us go by–or sense us somehow? Scientists are finding out that plants are more complex, and have more ability to communicate, than we had ever dreamed. Do they notice us, miss us, mourn us?

Burdock: Wicked Hooks

Velcro was invented by a scientist whose dog blundered into the tall prickly plant called burdock. And nothing adheres to fuzzy surfaces more effectively than the wickedly curved hooks of burdock.