By Viviana Vidal
Kevin McCloskey, professor of communication design and illustration, recently released “We Dig Worms” on April 15, 2015 through a new and pioneering publisher, Toon Books. The cartoon-oriented comic book strives to teach children about earthworms using vibrant and engaging images.
Françoise Mouly, art director and publisher of Toon Books, believes in the concept of illustration-oriented books to “encourage reluctant readers.”
With the encouragement of his wife, McCloskey created his scholar-driven illustrations and pursued his story. “I almost thought of it as a science fair project. These little kids are going out, photographing the worms and asking questions. In the end, part of the group of kids become converts to the fact that worms are a wonderful thing,” he said.
The decision to publish “We Dig Worms” on recycled paper bags was inspired by McCloskey’s support for conservation efforts.
With the hope of getting children more excited about scientific topics, McCloskey reiterates what he deems most important: “I just want kids to get enthused about reading. A child’s options are so much greater if they choose what they want to read about.”
He also mentions how earthworms can be a universally interconnected concept that unites all kinds of children from all walks of life.
“Kids are not going to love nature unless they experience nature. Any city kid, suburban kid and country kid has access to worms. It’s important to let kids know that nature begins right there, so that later in life they will hopefully care more about conservation,” he explained.
“We Dig Worms” can be purchased at the KU Campus Store, Firefly bookstore on Main Street, as well as Amazon or the Toon Books website. Keep an eye out during April 2016 when McCloskey plans to release his next Toon Book, which he surreptitiously mentioned would be about pigeons.