Ruby the Red Worm School Photo

Ruby the Red Worm’s Dirty Job

A story about composting and over-coming bullying in favor of the bigger picture.


As featured in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

Ruby the Red Worm's Dirty Job: A book about composting and seeing the big picture.

Synopsis: Ruby the Red Worm is a humorous and educational introduction to composting and the essential role worms serve in the ecosystem. More importantly, it is a story about living a life of passion despite life’s bullies — even if it means eating dirt.

Note: This is an inspirational introduction to composting with some life lessons. It is not a how to book. Also, though good for any age, the reading level is between a children’s picture book and a children’s chapter book.

UPDATE: Over a thousand people came to the ice cream social celebration and had their book signed by the student illustrators.

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More about this book: This book is full of rich, conceptual drawings, that compliment a story that grew and grew as the students continued to inspire me to write new pages to match their wonderful drawings. It is a particular important book, as it is the first book not about me, but something much more important — worms! I’m glad to see that being green is a topic that finally has finally reached critical mass in the mainstream consciousness. And Ruby the Red Worm illustrates many subjects from composting and recycling to a passion for living a harmonious life.

“The mission of the STEM Academy is to engage, inspire, and empower a community of learners in thinking, collaborating, innovating, and creating for the future.” Therefore this project gave the students the opportunity to apply these principals to their learning and everyday life—literally creating a dream and turning it into a reality. This project also sowed a lot of collateral creations, such as: name-that-bug contest, worm farms, musical theme songs for the characters in the book, the class photo pictured above, illustrator book signing, media exposure, and much more.

Read about the step-by-step creation of this book.

Acknowledgements: Thanks to the 490 students and their parents. Thanks to the staff of the Waukesha STEM Academy; in particular, principal Ryan Krohn for his vision, student resource teacher Kate Krzysik for her magical ability to make things happen, and the art teacher Melissa Nagan for her neverending inspirational smile.

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