"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

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

Starred reviews from Kirkus and Publishers Weekly!

new this spring

Revealing little-known facts about the fight to teach evolution in schools, this riveting account of the dramatic 1925 Scopes Trial (aka “the Monkey Trial”) speaks directly to today’s fights over what students learn, the tension between science and religion, the influence of the media on public debate, and the power of one individual to change history. 




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

Save the Giraffes

Save the Gorillas




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.    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.


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Come to the Table–and Get Out the Vote

Pride month is a prime opportunity to register Democrats, especially young people who may not have realized what’s at stake in this election. Everything.

A Shallow Dive into Vernal Pools

Even the tiniest vernal pool is a perfect nursery for amphibian babies. The pools provide the essential moisture that amphibian eggs need to develop.

Poisoning the Bird Feeders: Dandelions and Pesticides

Reframing dandelions as bird feeders gives us one more reason to endure them–even welcome them!– instead of exterminating them. One more reason to avoid poisoning the lawn.

Harvesting Beauty: Tulip-Watching

Every spring, the quiet Dutch landscape goes crazy, flat-out van Gogh insane with color. Stripes of gold, magenta, lemon, crimson, lined up to the horizon.

Hitting the Bridge

Some drivers apparently see the signs, and attempt to creep cautiously under the span. Other drivers hit the bridge going full bore, hoping perhaps to blast their way through their destiny. Whatever the technique, they all come up against the incontrovertible fact that neither optimism or denial, prayer nor positivity can alter. The bridge is 10 feet 11 inches high.

Contacting Your Representative…Does it Really Matter?

Contacting Your Representative…Does it Really Matter? – Anita Sanchez
Does contacting your elected representative really do any good? Does my phone call, e-mail, or letter really make a difference? YES

Nature’s Garden: Planting Seeds in the Fall

Spring planting is a human custom. Nature does her seed planting at the opposite pole of the year—the fall.

Air Quality: How Can We Fix It?

Air.We always took it for granted; we barely gave it a thought. We knew it would always be there. Until suddenly it wasn’t. There’s one thing we can do to help fix it.

It’s a Superbloom–of Dandelions

Easterners are enjoying a superbloom of dandelions. What is there about this one particular species of plant that makes it bloom so lavishly on our lawns?

A Crucial Election

There’s a big election coming up. A crucial election. And ninety percent of Americans won’t show up for it. It’s the “little” one, the local school board election.

Ethical Foraging: From Pest to Pesto

Foraging for survival or looking for a snack? Best place to look is a lawn. But only if it’s pesticide-free. The thing about spring greens is that you have to catch them early.

Searching for Superbloom

The California Superbloom isn’t a single event, it’s a season, a whole paintbox of springtime color, stretching from February in the southern desert to June in the northern hills.

Things Are Looking Up

Next time you stroll around, remember to look up every now and then. Take a look at the wide, bright world overhead that you’ve been missing.

The Golden Forest

A forest of seaweed called crayweed in Sydney harbor in Australia sheltered immense populations of wildlife from microscopic krill to octopus, dolphins, and sharks.