Hello everyone, and I have a surprise announcement to make! I have illustrated a new book for Worldreader, the first installment in a series of short stories for children aged 10-12 about climate change by Weslie Lechner, titled Heroes to Zero #1: An Inconvenient Youth!
In May 2023, Worldreader contacted me regarding a series of short stories for children aged 10-12 about climate change that they were working on. At the time, they were still at the very beginning of the project creatively, but in their minds, they imagined the series with ‘doodle’ style illustrations that would appeal to this age. By July, I was required to develop characters for the stories and create illustrations for the first story. After designing the first versions of the characters and doing some revisions, Worldreader informed me that they were again changing the characters and stories. That led to me taking a break on the project until September, when I received a new manuscript and image notes to work on.
Worldreader changed their direction and characters quite a bit, but I have to say that I really love the final iteration it took on, and I couldn't wait to work on it. The end result was a book released on BookSmart that you can check out now! There are few topics I am more passionate about than climate change, and it's always been a desire of mine to write a book series about it in the hope that it will help more people realize and do something about what I believe is the single biggest existential threat to humanity in this generation. But for now, it's been an honor to have the chance to illustrate this series. Below is the cover to the book and its synopsis, as well as the official artwork of the characters in the series and their character descriptions:
After learning that 52 billion tons of greenhouse gasses are emitted each year, Millie Brown takes a vow of silence to raise awareness about climate change at her school. This leads her and her classmates to form the Heroes to Zero climate club and work towards turning their school into a Net Zero greenhouse gas emitter. This is a story about teamwork and making a big difference.
Millie Brown is our White Hispanic reluctant leader. Naturally shy and prone to playing the wallflower, Millie decides to use her quieter nature to her advantage and just stop talking in protest.
Lucas Sanchez is our Hispanic resident tech & science nerd. Much to the chagrin of his parents, he usually likes to blow things up (in a controlled way, of course). However, once he decides to join Millie Brown’s movement, he wonders what he can help build instead.
Lakshmi Gupta is our Indian jock. She’s the star of the softball team, but she also came to America as an immigrant due to the disastrous effects of climate change in the area she grew up.
Asher Odinga is an African master baker who understands pie, pie charts, and the importance of measuring correctly to get the perfect pie crust.
Amelia Evans is our entrepreneur. Amelia loves coming up with new, better, and more efficient ways to get things done.
Kyle Lui is our East Asian skeptic. President of the Mathletes, Kyle believes numbers are the ultimate truth-tellers.
Maya Ritter is an African American girl who loves to give back. Her passion is volunteering because she believes a single individual can make a difference.
Matt Garcia is our Hispanic Native American nature boy. Always the first to suggest class take place outside on a nice day, Matt loves to be in nature. Turns out, nature is a great solution for carbon emissions too!
Charlotte McPherson is our Irish American political powerhouse. She’s a charmer who can talk her way into or out of anything.
Ms. Kosinski is the Polish American social studies teacher, who is in her late 40s.
Principal Davis is the African American principal, who is looking well in her late 50s.
On top of this, I've made a few changes to the website to reflect the book's release, including removing the Artwork page and updating the Books page to include a link to the book's page on BookSmart, as well as That Stinks, which you can also check out here. Are you interested in checking out what our young activists are up to? If so, I'm currently working on the second book with Worldreader, though it's still in the early stages of development. So, be sure to stay tuned for when our aspiring environmentalists' next adventure is released!
Until then, stay enlightened, educated and entertained by all the activism, folks.