The Make-A-Book Project and author-in-residence program school photographs. Pictured here are all four of the aerial-view school photos. Kids standing in the shape of a bicycle, worm, butterfly and cupcake.
Ruby the Red Worms Dirty Job book cover title screen
Ruby the Red Worms Dirty Job. Illustrated by elementary students.

Cover Design Challenges

The new book, Ruby the Red Worm, is finally here! Perhaps no one is more surprised how beautiful it is than me, especially the cover! I puzzled for months about what to do, including a meeting with the art teacher discussing if her best students would want to illustrate and/or color the cover, and whether to have the school vote on a winner. Those ideas were good; however, they weren’t feasible. So after one-too-many sleepless nights, I arose in the wee hours and in one inspired flurry, drew this picture. It’s quite different than anything else I’ve done, and so I like to think I’ve learned to listen to my muses. I also splurged several hundred dollars that I don’t have on a drawing tablet for my computer, which I used to color my pen and ink drawing.

Synopsis: Ruby the Red Worm is a humorous and educational introduction to composting and the essential role worms serve in the ecosystem. More importantly, it is a story about living a life of passion despite life’s bullies — even if it means eating dirt. Note: This is an inspirational introduction to composting with some life lessons. It is not a how to book. Also, though good for any age, the reading level is between a children’s picture book and a children’s chapter book.

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More stories about the making of this book

Ruby the Red Worms Dirty Job book cover title screen

Cover Design Challenges

The new book, Ruby the Red Worm, is finally here! Perhaps no one is more surprised how beautiful it is then me, especially the cover!

A aerial view of my message. It could read "We ♥ worms" or "We heart worms" or "We love worms."

We ❤ Worms

School playground photo of “We ❤ worms”. I’m very surprised this picture turned out so great! Another one of my personal favorites. And a giant framed photo will soon be hanging in the school office until the end of times.

Students examining some red worms up close

Collateral worm book projects

While I was producing the final book, the students continued exploring some related projects. Pictured here is Mrs. Lambert’s class examining some red worms up close.

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