Suzanne Tate’s beloved Nature Series, beginning in 1988 with the book Crabby and Nabby, is a treasured collection of animal stories and life lessons. Over the course of 29 years and 38 books, Tate’s stories and the artwork of James Melvin have won over parents, teachers and children, and many readers have grown up with the stories of flounder, octopi, seahorses and otters.
Now, readers can see how these books come to life in an exhibit at the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island. Birth of a Book displays the teamwork and collaboration that went into the latest Nature Series entry Timmy T. Frog. The exhibit shows how the original sketches, page mock ups and author notes eventually bring to life the story of a tree frog, the natural world, and facing our fears.
From the “Melvin Font,” in which James Melvin illustrates a specific word in each book, to Suzanne Tate’s tips (“Write and Research Daily!”), Birth of a Book walks the viewer through the entire process from idea to printing. Tate and Melvin’s dedication to their crafts can be seen in the details and developing concepts, and in a partnership that has seen three million books sold.
Birth of a Book will be on display at the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island through July 7.