Microbes: A Microbiology Picture Book

All around us there are organisms that are invisible to the naked eye, organisms called microbes. You can learn all about microbes in the adorable new picture book Microbes by Amy Gallagher. ThunderStone Book is proud to announce that this creative look at microorganisms is coming to a store near you in November!

Today we welcome Amy Gallagher, author of Microbes, to tell us more about herself and her upcoming book.

 

About Microbes

 

 

Microbes is a fun and educational book on microbiology. It gives an overview of six different types of microbes, including bacteria, viruses, fungi, algae, protozoa and archaea. I combine easy-to-understand, digestible information with playful, zany characters that represent different microscopic organisms. My intentions for this book are to engage the reader’s attention, spark their interest in science, and make learning an overall positive, enjoyable, and enlightening experience.

 

 

 

The idea for Microbes

My attention into microbiology was first caught upon a visit to the Grant’s Museum of Zoology in London. This museum contained an amazing vast collection of 20,000 microscope slides, representing tiny creatures that make the majority of life.

I began reading further into the wonder of the microscopic world, especially microbiology. During my research, I noted many books and websites using very dull, black and white, accurate illustrations or plain photographs to offer a visual insight into this secret universe. As a practising children’s illustrator, I wanted to breathe life and excitement back into this subject, and came up with the idea to produce a fun and educational book around Microbiology.

 

What is your favorite type of microbe?

My favourite type of microbe is archaea. They are amazingly resilient organisms that can withstand and thrive in extreme environments. There is much still unknown about archaea, yet I look forward to scientists unearthing more fascinating facts and interesting information!

 

How did you become an illustrator/author?

I’ve been working as a freelance illustrator since university, yet I’ve been creative and handy with a pencil from a very young age. After graduating university with a degree in Illustration & Visual Media in 2015, it felt natural to continue with my creative path. I’ve been producing children’s illustration, design, greeting cards and comics since graduating in 2015. After creating Microbes in the same year, it’s been a goal of mine to share it with the world, and fulfil my desire to make learning a more fun experience for children. I am thrilled that Thunderstone Books share the same ethos and are excited by the book as much as I am. It’s spurring me on to continue as a illustrator, and I plan to write and illustrate more fun educational books for young audiences!

 

What are your favorite picture books?

I love children’s books that possess a strong message, contain distinctive beautiful illustrations, and aren’t afraid to tackle taboo subjects or cheeky humour. One of my favourite books growing up was a book called The Story of the Little Mole who knew it was none of his business.

It follows a grumpy mole on his quest to find out who did their business on his head. I’m also a huge fan on Tove Jansson’s Moomin books.

 

 

Tove Jansson is my favourite children’s author and illustrator. Her precious books cover themes of family, nature, adventure, philosophy and also subtly tackles difficult subjects such as loss, gender, and sexuality.

 

 

 

What advice would you give to young readers?

Don’t stop reading! Literature enriches and expands your mind! It can be enjoyed in different mediums such as paperbacks, e-readers, newspapers, magazines, blog posts, comics and graphic novels. I understand that young readers have a pressure to mature into reading material with less and less pictures, and heavier on words. Not that that is necessarily a bad thing, but the combination of word and art can support each other, and can make the material more engaging. Therefore having time for both types of material should still be encouraged, shared and enjoyed!


CheMystery

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What if two kids became superheroes and set out to save the world through chemistry? In a new exciting and educational graphic novel from ThunderStone Books, two kids do just that!

ThunderStone Books is proud to officially announce that in March 2017, CheMystery, the tale of science and superpowers, will be hitting the shelves.

Today we welcome author, Christopher Preece, who is going to introduce himself CheMystery, his upcoming graphic novel.

 

 

I hail from the foothills of Appalachia in Pilgrim, KY. I have an extensive background in chemistry with a B.S. from Morehead State University and many graduate chemistry credits from the University of Kentucky, where I will be continuing my education to obtain a Ph.D. in Science Education. I have been teaching high school chemistry for the past 5 years, which has been a blast, literally and figuratively. I enjoy reading comic books, traveling and eating. We all have to eat, why not make it an adventure? I love all things science, especially physical science and applying those concepts in different ways to educate others.
Chriswebsite

How did you get the idea for CheMystery?

The idea for a comic that teaches chemistry started to manifest after reading 3 comics: Solar: Man of the Atom by Jim Shooter (Dark Horse series), Suspended Language by Jim Ottaviani, Howtoons by Fred Van Lente and Think Tank by Matt Hawkins. I read all of these around the same time and each contributed a little more to the idea of a chemistry comic to teach being a possibility. Each contributed a unique idea to the melting pot from how to present heavy educational materials along side a narrative to how to integrate it into a narrative.

Do you have a favorite element?

Yes, 2 in fact. Mercury (Hg), which I did my graduate research on how to remediate it from coal burning power plants. How cool is it that it’s the ONLY liquid metal? Antimony (Sb) is the other favorite. Initially it was my favorite because of the obscure name and name and symbol mismatch but it has a lot of interesting chemistry and uses, like in cosmetics to provide luster!

What first got you interested in comics and graphic novels?

My uncle, Dan, was in the comic industry while I was growing up and his love of the medium spilled over to me. My passion for the medium has continued to evolve into incorporate my passion for science education. Firestorm is one of my favorite characters and his ability to transmutate matter always fascinated me.

Why do you love science, especially chemistry?

As a high school student I gravitated toward chemistry. The concept of atoms and subatomic particles really captivated me. To think that we are made of trillions upon trillions of atoms, and that a single one is invisible to the naked eye, is wild. To think that electrons orbit the atom and move to make light is intriguing and to think about how an electron is both a particle and a wave is mind-blowing. There are so many things in our world that are unknown and science helps us explain those things.

What comic books and graphic novels would you recommend for science lovers?

There are more out there than you would think!

Jim Ottaviani has written several great science graphic novels, which take us through the lives of great scientists like Neil Bohr. Suspended Language is my favorite, but all his books are very enjoyable.

Think Tank by Matt Hawkins, which has a science section in the back explaining all the science he researches and uses in his book.

Howtoons by Fred Van Lente. This is a comic geared toward engineering. It has a captivating narrative and shows how to make cool contraptions that are used in the story.

Most things that captivate me I discuss on my blog.

What are your favorite comic books and graphic novels?

As for non-science comics some of my favorites include: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (IDW), Princess Ugg (Oni Press), Scott Pilgrim (Oni Press), Solar: Man of the Atom (Dark Horse), Captain America by Ed Brubaker (Marvel), Inhumans by Paul Jenkins (Marvel), Firestorm by Gerry Conway (DC) and Legion of Superheroes by Mark Waid (DC).

 

Chemystery page 3Chemystery page 2Chemystery page 1

 

Thanks, Chris, for introducing yourself and your upcoming book! You can look out for CheMystery, coming March 2017. Check out more at his website!


The Meh App: A Visual Storybook

Meh, the beloved wordless picture book about depression by Deborah Malcolm, is the inspiration for a new app. Using the same boy and white cat characters in an interactive storybook, the app allows the user to become part of the story.

 

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The app, like the book, is particularly appropriate for children but can be engaging for all ages. Objects in the visual storybook light up and when users tap those objects, the boy moves through the story and sounds of scribbling, tweeting birds, and cat “meows” can be heard.

 

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The app allows for scrolling to move side to side or upwards with the boy and discover what is lying just around the corner.

 

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One of our favorite parts of the app is when cracks begin to appear in the boy’s gray world. By tapping on the white cat (who is getting bigger and bigger) the cracks appear more frequently, and make sounds of the gray world crumbling. Tapping on the cat repeatedly, with the cracks appearing more and more often, is an empowering feeling as the user helps the boy to find his strength and return to the colorful world.

The app was created by a team of talented developers and animators from the Computer Arts Programme at Abertay University, Dundee. The team consists of Ewan Duncan, Michael Philp, Alan Hunter, Stephen O’donnell, and David Ferguson. We owe thanks to this team, to Lynn Parker (Computer Arts Programme Tutor at University of Abertay Dundee), and as always to Deborah Malcolm, who created this beautiful story in the first place.

 

Download the app for free for Android and don’t forget to leave a review!

 


Let’s Talk About Depression

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During this Mental Health Awareness Week, ThunderStone Books is pleased to announce one of our most recent projects: Meh, a wordless picture book about depression, created by illustrator Deborah Malcolm. To introduce Meh, Deborah has written about what inspired her to create a picture book about depression in the first place.

 

 

DEBORAH: It was the summer before my 4th year at university that the initial ideas behind Meh began to emerge. I had always wanted to create a picture book, and felt my honours project was the best opportunity for me to do so. In terms of the subject matter, however, I hadn’t figured out what would be a suitable area of research. That was until I attended an event at The Edinburgh International Book Festival, where I saw my favourite author, Neil Gaiman, do a presentation on some of his literature. Neil spoke of how he disliked conventional stories that have predictable outcomes. He would rather something more believable, not sugar coated. At that moment, I knew I wanted to create a picture book that was meaningful yet not widely explored in this medium.

Deborah Malcolm, author and illustrator of "Meh"

Deborah Malcolm, author and illustrator of Meh

The reason I chose to explore conveying depression through a picture book was due to a few reasons. Firstly, I have personal experience with the illness, and had often wondered how I could show how it feels through imagery alone so that others may understand it better. Secondly, after extensive research, I found it very difficult to find more than 4 picture books that used depression as a subject matter, and felt that it was important for children to know of this debilitating illness for their future wellbeing.

Mental illness is receiving a lot more media coverage right now, both positive and negative. It is a difficult subject to talk about, and can be complex for a sufferer to describe. Meh was designed to be completely wordless so that the reader can come to their own conclusion of what they think depression is. It is different for everyone. It is also a tool for parents, guardians and teachers to use to teach children about mental health. I hope it will engage them in discussion about mental illnesses so that they might have a better chance of tackling them in the future and reduce the stigma surrounding it.

Stay tuned for more news about Meh leading up to the book’s publication in August. To keep up to date on information from ThunderStone Books, subscribe to our newsletter!

For more of Deborah’s work, check her stuff out on Behance and follow her on Twitter!


And the winner is …

For all those anxiously awaiting news of the winner of the decoding of the Elements of Evil teaser trailer, we have some news for you. The winner is … Jonno from Australia! Congratulations Jonno. We look forward to hearing more about how you like your science-y prize.

 

Thanks to all those who submitted a decoded answer. For those of you who missed the contest, you can still watch the video and decode it to learn a little bit more about the book that will be coming out summer 2015. Click here to watch the trailer.


Ebooks available now!

We’ve taken our print books and finagled them into these fancy “electronic books” all the kids are talking about these days. That’s right–ThunderStone Books has gone digital.

 

The newly released e-books are available on our website and on Amazon. And now until Chinese New Year on February 19, the e-book versions of Picturing Chinese and Monkey Gains His Powers are only $2.99 each!

 

恭喜发财!

Happy New Year,

 

ThunderStone Books


Do You Like Science? Secret Codes? Prizes?

We’ve released a short teaser trailer for a new project we’re just starting to work on, complete with secret code! Watch the video below:

Can you crack the code?!? If so, send the decoded message to info@thunderstonebooks.com for a chance to win a science-related prize! We’ll randomly select at least one winner from all entires received by January 31, 2015. We’d love to give away even more prizes if we have enough people respond, so tell your friends!

A few quick terms & conditions:

1) Anyone working with/for ThunderStone Books on this project is not eligible for the prize.

3) Winners will be chosen randomly from all valid entries after January 31, 2015, and will be notified via email.


Our First Book Trailer!

We’re pleased to announce our very first book trailer, for Monkey Gains His Powers! We’re quite pleased with how it turned out, and hope you are too. If you enjoy it, Monkey Gains His Powers is available for purchase on our site here or on Amazon.com at this link. It’s also available at a variety of other sites around the world, check our post here for details.

Tell all your friends, and we hope they love it as much as we do!

Thank you for all the support.


Monkey Gains His Powers is Available!

10610879_737061339686076_1621096461199493816_nMonkey Gains His Powers is available for purchase! We’re excited to release this book into the wild to see how it fends for itself in its natural habitat.

Of course, we’d love it if you left a review at whatever site it was purchased from and help spread the word! Feel free to check out our other title, Picturing Chinese as well.

The book is available in the US from the following locations:

It is available in the UK from:

And worldwide from our site or your local Amazon store.

NOTE: Free shipping is available from our site only on orders of $15 dollars or more. Contact us directly if interested in large orders.