Written By: Joy Keller
Illustrated by: Erica Salcedo
For Ages: 6-10 years
Topics Covered: Mycology, Pint-Sized Professor, Nature, BIPOC Protagonists, STEM.
Something lurks everywhere…growing and feasting on plant matter…it even lurks….ON OUR SKIN!
A tad dramatic? Perhaps. But so is our protagonist upon realizing that fungus is indeed everywhere on her hike! Fleeing to her backyard, it pops up there too…even on her dinner table! But is there a reason to be afraid? No! Turns out there isn’t. Fungus is Among Us! is a fun and educational book all about fungus, mushrooms, mildew…you name it! I love the humor that’s brought into the book, it’s really engaging and all of the fungi with their tiny eyes and smiley expressions are completely adorable. The reader learns fascinating facts about how and why mushrooms and fungi look and behave the way they do, and how they help break down compost to help keep our world from being buried under tons of fallen leaves!
In the back is a real interview with a mycologist named Sara Branco, and you know we’re loving that women in STEM representation, as well as the real photos of some really funky mushrooms. I think I’ve read this book 3 times already, and I notice something new and adorable in the illustrations each time. The social-emotional component of the young hiker realizing that unfamiliar things might not be quite so scary can’t be understated either, it’s really important to be modeling a mindset shift like this in books! If you’ve ever wondered what makes tasty pizza crust rise, what the papery green stuff growing on trees is, or why circles of mushrooms sprout up overnight, this is the book for you!
This book was kindly sent by The Innovation Press, but all opinions are my own!
Joy Keller is the author of fun picture books like MONSTER TRUCKS (with illustrator Misa Saburi) and FUNGUS IS AMONG US! (with illustrator Erica Salcedo). When she’s not writing, she can be found teaching elementary students how to write their own stories. She lives in New York with her husband, two kids, and too many cats.
Erica Salcedo is a freelance illustrator living in the peaceful town of Cuenca (Spain) where she was born in 1983. After studying Fine Arts in Castilla-La Mancha University, she specialized in graphic design and Illustration, doing a masters degree at the Polytechnic University of Valencia. Her work is focused on children’s illustration. Her illustrations are inspired by her everyday life, and her imagination does the rest. Her style is a mixture of hand drawing with digital techniques, simply executed with a pinch of humor. She loves drawing (obviously), traveling, animals, drinking tea every day, eating sweets, and not taking life too seriously. But especially, she loves to work in diverse and creative projects. Since she started her illustration career, she has had the pleasure to work with a lot of great clients, creating picture books, illustrating young novel books, designing greeting cards, illustrations for stationary, making comic or educational books among others.