TeachingBooks Virtual Book Tour

The TeachingBooks Virtual Book Tour is your opportunity to learn from and build personal connections with extraordinary book creators and their brand-new titles. Included in all Virtual Book Tour posts are original interviews with authors and illustrators, lesson plans, an activity designed for young people, and much more!

Welcome Jonathan Case

Jonathan Case on Little Monarchs

In this post, we feature artist and author Jonathan Case, whose previous titles include the graphic novel Distillatoria. You can hear him speak about his new graphic novel, Little Monarchs, which has been named a Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection, and try his “invitation to imagine” activity. You’ll also find other resources to explore. Thanks for joining us, and let us know what you think in the comments below!

Jonathan Case and the cover of Little Monarchs

Little Monarchs

  • Written and illustrated by Jonathan Case
  • Published by Margaret Ferguson Books, an imprint of Holiday House Books for Young Readers
  • Release date: April 5, 2022

It’s been 50 years since a sun shift wiped out nearly all mammal life across the earth. Towns and cities are abandoned relics, and the world is slowly being reclaimed by nature. Isolated pockets of survivors live in underground sites, hiding from the lethal sunlight by day and coming above ground at night. 10-year-old Elvie and her caretaker, Flora, a biologist, are the only two humans who can survive during daylight because Flora made an incredible discovery – a way to make an antidote to sun sickness using the scales from monarch butterfly wings. Free to travel during the day, Elvie and Flora follow monarchs as they migrate across the former Western United States, constantly making new medicine for themselves while trying to find a way to make a vaccine they can share with everyone. Will they discover a way to go from a treatment to a cure and preserve what remains of humanity, or will their efforts be thwarted by disaster and the very people they are trying to save? Little Monarchs is a new kind of graphic novel adventure—one that invites readers to take an intimate look at the natural world and the secrets hidden within.

An interior spread from Little Monarchs. On the left side, a full-page image shows an up-close color drawing of a frog underneath a tree covered in fungus. On the right side, small panels show an African American girl catching the frog with a net; speech bubbles indicate that in her apocalyptic world, the frog might become breakfast.

Explore Little Monarchs

Listen to Jonathan Case talking with TeachingBooks about creating Little Monarchs. You can click the player below or experience the recording on TeachingBooks, where you can read along as you listen, and also translate the text to another language.

Invitation to Imagine

TeachingBooks asks each author or illustrator on our Virtual Book Tour to share a writing prompt, a drawing exercise, or just an interesting question to spark curiosity and creativity. Enjoy the following activity contributed by Jonathan Case.

Imagination Activity with Jonathan Case

Drawing is a way to observe your world more closely. Choose something that you’ve never drawn before. Something bigger than your paper— it could be a chair, a sleeping pet, a tree. I’m choosing a little table. Hold your pencil out with a straight arm so the pencil points up to the sky. Now, staying where you are, look at what you want to draw. Close one eye and rotate the side of your pencil so it hovers over your subject. The top of my little table is half a pencil wide. It’s about one full pencil tall. If I then make some marks on my paper—left and right (half a pencil wide), top and bottom (full pencil tall), I can start a very accurate drawing of my table. Every part can be measured as long as I keep my body in one place and hold my pencil out at the same distance each time I measure. Artists have used this method for hundreds of years—with this one tool, you can observe anything and break it down into simple, accurate measurements!

Finish This Sentence . . . with Jonathan Case

As part of our Virtual Book Tour, TeachingBooks asks authors and illustrators to complete short sentence prompts. Enjoy Jonathan Case’s response.

“A surprising thing that helps me work is…”

A surprising thing that helps me work is setting up my hammock in a beautiful place with my pens and notebooks. I call it my “outdoor office.” 

“While working on my book, I learned that…”

It takes monarch butterflies four generations to complete their migration! No mother or father survives long enough to offer directions, but somehow the young all return to these very specific groves in California and Mexico for winter.

“Where I work is…”

Jonathan Case's studio, showing a Native American blanket on the wall above a digital drafting table and digital sketching tools.
Jonathan Case in his work space, surrounded by original artwork for Little Monarchs.

“I hope my book encourages readers to think about…”

The natural world that’s there for them to enjoy, respect, and explore.

Thank you!

To wrap up this Virtual Book Tour, we thank Jonathan Case for signing a book for all of us.

The title page spread of Little Monarchs, signed by the author and illustrator, Jonathan Case, with an ink drawing of a butterfly.

More Connections to Jonathan Case and Little Monarchs

Explore all of the titles featured in the TeachingBooks Virtual Book Tour: one link with author interviews, lesson plans, activities, and more!

All text and images are courtesy of Jonathan Case and Holiday House and may not be used without expressed written consent.

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