Best known as a creator of picture books, author and illustrator Fred Koehler is celebrating the publication of GARBAGE ISLAND, his first middle-grade book and the debut title in The Nearly Always Perilous Adventures of Archibald Shrew series. In GARBAGE ISLAND, Fred creates an adventure story about a society of animals who live in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. The book has received rave reviews:
“This adventurous tale is packed with action, examples of creative thinking, and ingenuity. Use this as an introduction to STEM thinking, a science fair project, a lesson on ecology, or simply read it for the enjoyment the story provides. This book will appeal to the adventure seeker, animal lover, explorer, and just about everyone else. A must-read for readers ready to strap in for a great ride!” – School Library Connection, starred review
“Exciting, fast-paced adventure and unexpected friendship in a “trashy” venue.” –Kirkus Reviews
“(With) fast-paced action and danger… this entertaining animal adventure stands out… because of its strong characters and an underlying message of environmental awareness.”–School Library Journal
The Middle Grade Book Village team had some interesting questions for Fred… and his fascinating answers are below!
From Kathie: “If you could magically turn into any MG character, who would it be and why?”
Oh wow! Any one I want? This is fun… In my middle school mind, I set sail with the Voyage of the Dawn Treader along Prince Caspian, Reepicheep, and the Pevensies in search of lost Narnian Lords. Of all of those characters, it was Reepicheep the mouse who I admired most. His sense of courage, honor, and dignity were so refreshing then, and perhaps even more relevant today. When the voyage reached the end of the known world and the Dawn Treader could go no farther, it was Reepicheep who got in his little coracle (much like the kayak I paddle around Tampa Bay), and, well, perhaps best to let him tell it.
“My own plans are made. While I can, I sail east in the Dawn Treader. When she fails me, I paddle east in my coracle. When she sinks, I shall swim east with my four paws. And when I can swim no longer, if I have not reached Aslan’s country, or shot over the edge of the world into some vast cataract, I shall sink with my nose to the sunrise.” ~Reepicheep
From Jarrett: “What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten and did you enjoy it?”
Boy howdy did you ask that question to the right person. After college, I served in the US Peace Corps in Togo, West Africa. For 26 months, I lived in a farming village, pulled water from a well, washed my clothes by hand, etc. The food in West Africa was incredible! (And weird.) The things I can publicly admit to eating include bush rat (agouti), monitor lizard, fish heads, antelope, and far more parts of a cow than are typically sold at an American grocery store. The weirdest of all was most definitely cow brain. Yum!!!
From Corrina: If you had to live in the world of any board game or video game, which one would you choose?
Okay, first let’s talk board game vs. video game — two totally different universes! I grew up on video games, spending countless hours in the levels of Super Mario, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Kirby’s Dreamland. But now, with my own kids, we geek out on board games like Machi Koro, Pandemic, and Clue! And with Clue! releasing a Harry Potter edition, this question becomes an easy decision. If anybody needs me, I’ll be at Hogwarts solving a mystery! (Pretty sure it was Hermione in the Forbidden Forest with the Elder Wand.)
Thanks again for bringing me ’round your blog! It’s always such a great pleasure to meet fellow artists and book lovers. May our paths cross often!
Fred Koehler is an artist and storyteller whose real-life misadventures include sunken boats, covert border crossings, and fighting off robbers in the dead of night. Whether free diving in the Gulf of Mexico or backpacking across Africa, Fred’s sense of adventure and awe of nature overflow into his characters’ stories. Between book projects, Fred also runs a highly-sought after design studio, helping brands across the US tell their own stories. Fred is passionate about encouraging young artists, promoting social justice, and conserving our environment. He lives in Florida with his wife, kids, and a rescue dog named Cheerio Mutt-Face McChubbybutt.
Don’t miss the rest of Fred’s GARBAGE ISLAND blog tour! See below for his schedule!