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.
Students examine red worms and compost bin
Students investigate live red worms in a composting bin. The worms made good models for the art class and a lot of dirty hands.

Worms eat my garbage

Kitchen composting

Our Backyard Adventures are fun and easy mini-expeditions that you can do — you guessed it! — right in your own backyard. These activities are designed to help students and parents explore the world with eyes of wonder. Along the way, you might discover new areas of interest, new dreams and potential new careers.

Your adventure should you choose to accept it is…

Introduction: While working on our new book Ruby the Red Worm, students started composting in the classroom and at home. It was so much fun getting our hands dirty, I think everyone should try it. Composting is like recycling. Worms turn food scraps and newspaper into fertile dirt that you then can use to fertilize your garden or indoor plants.

ASSIGNMENT: Your adventure, should you choose to accept it, is to build your own compost bin at home. This is a great way to recycle your scraps and reduce your eco-footprint. It’s not too hard. To help you get started try reading one of my favorite books — Worms Eat My Garbage. Or you can do a little research online.

Students examining some red worms up close.
Students examining some red worms up close. And in the background, hanging from the ceiling, are tiers of homemade composting bins made from 2-liter bottles. The top tiers are homes to some happy plants.

Here’s one of my favorite books for inspiration.

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More stories about the making of this book

Sorting the illustrations

Choosing drawings for the new book

After working with the elementary students for 6 days, I got approximately 1000 drawings to choose from. So, being more of the right-brained-artistic type, it is a major organizational challenge.

Scott Stoll hands out pages with excerpts from his book, “Ruby the Red Worm’s Dirty Job,” to students at the Waukesha STEM Academy’s Randall Campus this week. Students are drawing illustrations for the book. Photo by Wentz-Graff, Milwaukee Journal

Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel article

World traveler came home to fulfillment. This is a great story about my trip around the world, coming home, and how this all evolved into working with local schools to illustrate children’s books.

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.

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