Sara Levine is an author, educator, and veterinarian. Her science books for children include the Animal by Animal series, Germs Up Close, and A Peek at Beaks: Tools Birds Use. Her books have received a number of awards including AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize, Utah Beehive Book Award, Cook Prize finalist, Monarch Award master list, and Bank Street College Best Children’s Book of the Year.
What was your favorite book when you were a child?
I had different favorites at different ages. Here are some of them: Christina Katerina & Her Box by Patricia Lee Gauch, Lizard Music by Daniel Pinkwater and Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret by Judy Blume. As an adult, here are some of my current favorite children’s books: Bark, George by Jules Feiffer, Owl Moon by Jane Yolen, Tuesday by David Wiesner, Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster and Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White.
What’s your favorite line from a book?
“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye.” From The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupery
Who are your top three favorite authors or illustrators?
How can I pick only three? Okay, here are the first three that come to mind today: Amy Hemple, David Sedaris and JD Salinger.
Why did you want to become an author or illustrator?
I wanted to write Bone by Bone because I teach comparative anatomy of animal bones in a way that seems unique, and I wanted to share my way of viewing this with others. I thought the idea would translate well into a fun book. I write in general because in those rare moments when it’s going well, it feels like flying, like there’s nothing I’d rather be doing.
Do you have any advice for future authors or illustrators?
Read a lot and write a lot and don’t listen to anyone who says you can’t do it. Here’s a quote from Annie Dillard that inspires me: “Why do you never find anything written about that idiosyncratic thought you advert to, about your fascination with something no one else understands? Because it is up to you. There is something you find interesting for a reason hard to explain. It is hard to explain because you have never read it on any page; there you begin. You were made and set here to give voice to this, your own astonishment.”