Meet Sandra Markle, Kathleen Krull and Paul Brewer

Today at Wrapped In Foil I have a summary of my experiences at the Tucson Festival of Books this weekend.

In a nutshell, I got to meet the fabulous children’s nonfiction authors Sandra Markle, Kathleen Krull and Paul Brewer live! In person! They gave talks that included some wonderful advice about writing and insights into the world of publishing. My only regret, as I note in the original post, is that they weren’t given the attention they deserved. So, let’s give them some attention now.


Sandra Markle is the award-winning author of over 200 nonfiction children’s books. She has traveled the world and shared her lively adventures with children. She is also extremely gracious about hyperventilating fans accosting her.

Selected books by Sandra Markle:


What If You Had Animal Hair? by Sandra Markle and illustrated by Howard McWilliam is an engaging follow-up to What If You Had Animal Teeth? It compares real photographs of animals with unusual hair to imaginary illustrations of children with similar hair qualities. As Markle reveals, she slipped in some “stealth learning” as well, by including information about personal hygiene into the back matter.

Sandra revealed the idea for What If You Had Animal Teeth? came when her when her granddaughter fell down and knocked out her two front teeth, an experience I think many of us can relate to.


The Long, Long Journey: The Godwit’s Amazing Migration by Sandra Markle and illustrated by Mia Posada describes the incredible nonstop journey of over 7,000 miles made by a godwit from the place where she hatches in Alaska all the way to the beaches of New Zealand (my previous review).


The Case of the Vanishing Honeybees: A Scientific Mystery by Sandra Markle is about the mystery of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) in honey bees (my previous review).


Scorpions: Armored Stingers by Sandra Markle gives an overview of scorpion biology as well as compares scorpions to other arachnids. It was nominated for a Cybils award (my previous review).

I was amused to learn that Sandra is not inordinately fond of spiders after all. She said her 12 book series on arachnids (Arachnid World) “just happened” and she found that 12 might have been “too many.” As burned out on spiders as she became, she still managed to come up with the somewhat silly “Twelve Arachnids of Christmas” at her blog.


Kathleen Krull and Paul Brewer are a couple who share laughs and a passion for children’s nonfiction. They talked about the research process they use for their books, with many anecdotes.

Kathleen Krull specializes in biographies. Paul Brewer is an illustrator/author who specializes in humor. Paul also does much of the research for the their books.

Selected books by Kathleen Krull and/or Paul Brewer:


The Beatles Were Fab (and They Were Funny) by Kathleen Krull, Paul Brewer, and illustrated by Stacy Innerst recounts the witty remarks by the members of the Beatles rock band to questions by members of the press. For example:

Q: How do you find all this business of having screaming girls following you all over the place?
George: Well, we feel flattered . . .
John: . . . and flattened.

Paul definitely is a big Beatles fan, and his passion shows.

I had seen many positive reviews of the above book, but the next one came as a surprise.


Have you heard of Fartiste by Kathleen Krull, Paul Brewer, and illustrated by Boris Kulikov?

Krull and Brewer uncovered this highly-unusual artist who performed astonishing acts of flatulence and who was wildly popular in France in the late 1800s and early 1900s. They rightly recognized that young people of a certain age (and dare I say gender?) might be incredibly intrigued by this kind of performer. Alas, the older people who buy books for said young people are not as intrigued. As someone in the audience pointed out, Walter the Farting Dog is acceptable, but somehow an actual farting person is not.

I was also interested to learn that the publisher tacked on the subtitle ” a mostly-true story,” although the authors say that it is actually completely nonfiction.


Lives of the Scientists: Experiments, Explosions (and What the Neighbors Thought) (illustrated by Kathryn Hewitt) is a prime example of the type of witty biography Kathleen Krull writes. Instead of focusing solely on their accomplishments, Krull reveals the personalities of the scientists through tidbits of their lives that make the subjects seem more human and accessible.


What is(are) your favorite book(s) by these authors?


One thought on “Meet Sandra Markle, Kathleen Krull and Paul Brewer

  1. What a terrific opportunity! These are top notch authors. I really enjoyed Krull’s book about Philo Farnsworth and many others.

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