Reminder: At 11:00 CT this morning I’m giving a virtual book talk at Left Bank Books in St. Louis. Joining me will be Kate Cosgrove who illustrated the book, THE DIRT BOOK. All you need to do to participate is log in to your personal Facebook account, go to Left Bank Books’ Facebook Live Page, and wait for the livestream to begin on the page (you may need to refresh the page periodically until the stream begins). You may also watch the simulcast on Left Bank’s YouTube channel.
Today is the publication day for THE DIRT BOOK. To those of you who have already ordered in advance, thank you. Your copies should soon be on the way. If you haven’t ordered yet and have been waiting until it was available, now it is.
This book has a top fold so it opens up and down rather than from side to side to give Kate more room to give the sense of moving down deeper and deeper into the ground. There are fifteen poems, each about a different species that live in the dirt for some part of its life, and for each a back note provides further insight into the subject. For example, here’s the poem about ants.
A thousand ants without a sound
build a city underground,
without light construct halls,
down and down the city sprawls,
without rest tug and toil,
grain by grain remove soil,
without a leader in the gloom
scoop and hollow out each room,
without tools clean and sweep,
build their city strong and deep.
(c) 2021 David L. Harrison, from The Dirt Book, Holiday House
And here is the back note:
If you’ve seen red ants and black ants and think that’s it, think again. Scientists have identified more than 12,000 kinds and believe they’ll find more. Small colonies may have a few hundred members but some are so huge they have more than one million. Like their bee cousins, ant communities rely on queens to lay the eggs and females to do the work. Males are needed for mating with new queens but otherwise don’t do much or live long. Ants like fruit, dead things, and many kinds of human food. That seems fair. In some countries, people eat ants. (c) 2021 David L. Harrison, from The Dirt Book, Holiday House.