7 x 9
Full color throughout
"Poised to inspire a new generation of naturalists." - Publishers Weekly
A vibrant graphic adaptation of the classic science memoir
Regarded as one of the world’s preeminent biologists, Edward O. Wilson spent his boyhood exploring the forests and swamps of south Alabama and the Florida panhandle, collecting snakes, butterflies, and ants—the latter to become his lifelong specialty. His memoir Naturalist, called “one of the finest scientific memoirs ever written” by the Los Angeles Times, is an inspiring account of Wilson’s growth as a scientist and the evolution of the fields he helped define. This graphic edition, adapted by New York Times bestselling comics writer Jim Ottaviani and illustrated by C.M.Butzer, brings Wilson’s childhood and celebrated career to life through dynamic full-color illustrations and Wilson’s own lyric writing.
In this adaptation of Naturalist, vivid illustrations draw readers in to Wilson’s lifelong quest to explore and protect the natural world. His success began not with an elite education but an insatiable curiosity about Earth’s wild creatures, and this new edition of Naturalist makes Wilson’s work accessible for anyone who shares his passion. On every page, striking art adds immediacy and highlights the warmth and sense of humor that sets Wilson’s writing apart.
Naturalist was written as an invitation—a reminder that curiosity is vital and scientific exploration is open to all of us. Each dynamic frame of this graphic adaptation deepens Wilson’s message, renewing his call to discover and celebrate the little things of the world.
"Ottaviani (Hawking) skillfully adapts Wilson’s spirited 1994 memoir into a graphic narrative full of personality, but without skimping on the science….This hearty graphic memoir is poised to inspire a new generation of naturalists."
"Ottaviani’s adaptation is astonishingly detailed…Butzer’s illustrations are charming... Wilson’s life is undoubtedly a rich and fascinating one."
"This is a wonderful idea brilliantly executed…The story captures Wilson’s warm, gentle humor, his sense of adventure, and his passion for his work. It is an accessible story that still conveys the science of the original edition. It’s a must-have for Wilson fans…but will also reach a new generation of readers. A perfect gift for the comic book fan or budding naturalist on your list."
Cool Green Science
"Through Ottaviani’s interpretation of Wilson’s words, as well as Butzer’s skillful capturing of thoughts and events in his colourful and accessible art, Naturalist: A Graphic Adaptation manages to both inform and entertain. It tells the story of Edward O. Wilson’s remarkable life and career in a way that impresses and inspires, and reading it with hopefully prompt others to follow the same path as Wilson and do what they can to increase knowledge and understanding of the natural world."
"A convincing, and compelling, version of Naturalist…this version is readable and approachable, and was well worth doing."
New Welsh Review
"Entertaining, absorbing, informative, insightful, thoroughly 'reader friendly' in presentation, and inherently interesting from first page to last, Naturalist: A Graphic Adaptation will prove to be a uniquely welcome and enduringly popular addition to community and college/university library biography collections."
Midwest Book Review
"It was fun and easy to be inspired by Edward O. Wilson’s curiosity…I would highly recommend this book for teenagers who seek knowledge or any adult who want to mix up their reading with something that will inspire."
Get In My Garden
"The graphic format works well for such a tale.... I enjoyed this book a lot and more than I thought I might. I think many readers of this blog will too"
Mark Avery's Blog
"Edward O. Wilson, one of the world’s best scientists, grew up catching insects and snakes in the forests and swamps near his home. This graphic novel tells his life story in a truly eye-catching way."
"It is a challenge to adapt an admired memoir or other work such that the core of the content and ‘‘feel’’ of the original are not diminished or lost.. In this case, Ottaviani has avoided these pitfalls, producing a skillful, respectful adaptation....If you’ve heard Wilson’s name and wanted to learn more about his background, development as a scientist, and many contributions to myrmecology, ecology, and other endeavors, this book is a good introduction. If, like me, it has been a few years since reading "Naturalist," this adaptation is a fun way to get reacquainted. For a budding naturalist, this book may be a source of inspiration."
"E.O. Wilson comes off looking like the super hero that he truly is. I highly recommend this book for kids of all ages who want to learn a lot about conservation and commitment....Get this book! Everyone in your house will be curious to look through it and will surely appreciate it’s presence on the coffee table."
"This is an inspiring and accessible account – of his career and the fields he helped to define – for all ages."
"In this colorful portrayal of the life of the award-winning evolutionary biologist, the reader is shown the recipe that helped shape this ever inquiring youth into the world recognized scientist."
Manhattan Book Review
"[A] wonderful graphic adaptation of biologist EO Wilson's memoirs. It's touching and enlightening and leaves you feeling excited about the natural world."
PART I. Daybreak in Alabama
PART II. Storyteller
PART III. Biodiversity, Biophilia
About Edward O. Wilson
About the Authors
About Island Press
E.O. Wilson’s passion for nature, discovery, and ideas that make us rethink the world is unmatched. When first published more than 25 years ago, Dr. Wilson’s memoir, Naturalist, was called “one of the finest scientific memoirs ever written” by the Los Angeles Times. Naturalist is an inspiring account of Wilson’s growth as a scientist and the evolution of the fields he helped define. The graphic edition (publication date November 6, 2020), adapted by Jim Ottaviani and illustrated by C.M. Butzer, brings Wilson’s childhood and celebrated career to life through dynamic full-color illustrations and Wilson’s own lyrical writing, inspiring next generation naturalists everywhere. Learn about the creative process from Dr. Wilson and the graphic adaptation team and hear from teachers who are excited to bring this fresh version to inspire a new generation of naturalists.
Edward O. Wilson, Honorary Curator in Entomology and University Research Professor Emeritus at Harvard University, Chairman of the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation Board of Advisors, and Chairman of the Half-Earth Council
Jim Ottaviani, Writer, Naturalist – A Graphic Adaptation
C.M. Butzer, Illustrator, Naturalist – A Graphic Adaptation
Rebecca Bright, Associate Editor and Subsidiary Rights Manager, Island Press
Tamara Jolly, High School Science Teacher, Baltimore City Public Schools
Lauren Genesky, English Teacher, North Carolina
With a special reading by Edward O. Wilson
For the graphic novel teacher's guide by Dennis Lui from the Half-Eath Project, click here.
For a sample classroom activity, click here.
Watch how Naturalist is used as a teaching tool at Tuscaloosa Academy
Watch how an English teacher and Environmental Science teacher use Naturalist: A Graphic Adaptation in the classroom
Check out this chat with the creative team behind Naturalist: A Graphic Adaptation
Earlier this month, conservation leaders across disciplines joined together at UC Berkeley for Half-Earth Day, an annual event organized by the EO Wilson Biodiversity Foundation. Inspired by renowned biologist and author Edward O. Wilson, Half-Earth is a call to conserve half of the planet to safeguard biodiversity. The conference explores how conservationists of all stripes can make progress toward this goal.
David Miller, President of Island Press, joined the conference this year, introducing Wilson during one of the sessions. Miller presented on the 25th anniversary re-release of Wilson’s autobiography Naturalist, and offered a sneak peek of its upcoming graphic adaptation. The audience got to see some of the panels created by Jim Ottaviani and illustrator CM Butzer.
“EO Wilson’s story inspires curiosity and excitement about nature and science. We hope that this graphic adaptation will bring his legacy to a new audience and inspire the next generation of naturalists. It is more urgent than ever to engage young people in protecting nature,“ said Miller.
Watch the video of the event below!
Erica is the Digital Content Manager at Island Press.
Our thoughts are with the family of Edward O. Wilson, the biologist and author, who died yesterday at the age of 92. His visionary work on biodiversity, ants, and human nature brought new understanding of and appreciation for evolutionary biology, biological diversity, and the importance of preserving the natural world. As gifted a writer as he was a scientist, he twice won the Pulitzer Prize. We at Island Press were honored to publish his autobiography, Naturalist, to great acclaim, most recently in graphic form.
Dr. Wilson was a pioneer in science and an eloquent, passionate voice for the natural world. He will be sorely missed by all.
Island Press' Associate Director of Marketing.