Pop-Up Author and Illustrator
Robert Sabuda was born in Pinckney, Michigan in 1965. He loved both reading and art as a child. His father was a mason and carpenter, while his mother was a dance teacher. He attended the Pratt Institute in New York City and worked many years to get noticed by publishers. Mr. Sabuda is both an author and illustrator. His passion is pop-ups. In fact, his website shows pictures and gives step-by-step instructions for how to make your own pop-up creations. He lives and works in New York City with his partner, Matthew Reinhart.
That One Book
Pop-up books are not very practical in a library. So while Sabuda’s pop-up books are beautiful, I cannot recommend buying them for a library. The book either lasts a few months before it is destroyed, or a librarian could share it once a year with students and keep it hidden away the rest of the time. (I was surprised to discover that I have owned one of his pop-up books for over a decade! An aunt gifted us with “The Night Before Christmas” that we keep on our mantel during Christmas every year.)
Of the books that I read, I recommend “The Blizzard’s Robe.” The illustrations in it are gorgeous! Sabuda is both author and illustrator with this book. The book uses a story to explain how the Northern lights came to be. Teune, a young girl, spends her time making blankets to help keep people warm. She goes against her tribe’s wishes and shows compassion by making a robe for Blizzard. I could see using it in a Native American unit or in a study of legends and myths.
Sabuda is a very talented artist, one who employs many different styles in his books. The art he makes fits the culture of the book. The books that I liked best were the ones where he was both author and illustrator.
Other Books to Explore
“Tutankhamen’s Gift” emphasizes the importance of art. It tells the story of King Tut, though the ending is a little sudden and contains some glossed over facts. The artwork makes a reader feel like they are looking at the walls inside a pyramid.
“Saint Valentine” informs the reader about a doctor named Valentine and the difficulties of being a Christian in the Roman world. The story is fairly interesting and gives some background to Valentine’s Day. The artwork is all mosaics.
“Arthur and the Sword” tells the traditional legend of Arthur. The focus of each page is the illustrations that look like stained glass windows. The story is fairly interesting andthe last page of the book gives further details of the legend and when information about when Arthur first appeared historically.
*New York Public Library Best Children's Book of the Year -1990
*Children's Book Council Best Children's Book of the Year-1990
* Magic Reading Award, Parenting magazine-1992
*Hungry Mind Review Children's Book of Distinction designation-1992
* Boston Globe/Horn Book Honor Award-1994
* Gold Medal, Dimension Illustration Awards-1994
*The Meggendorfer Prize (best paper engineering)-1998, 2000, 2002
*Bookseller’s Choice Award-2001
*Young Hoosier Book Award Nominee-2002
*ALA Notable Book-2004
*Quill Award Nominee-2006
*Michigan Notable Books-2006
Final Thoughts and Fun Facts
A lot of engineering goes into Mr. Sabuda’s pop-up books. Tornadoes, reindeer, etc. take a lot of time and practice to get just the right effect for the reader.
Finding out information about his current personal life was rather difficult. I do two author studies a month with my first-fifth grade students, and I have never had such trouble finding basic facts before on an author.
One website reported that Mr. Sabuda does not want his work to be simple to recognize as being his. This statement is certainly true for his picture books, though many of his pop-up books seem fixated on mice. Some of Sabuda’s early work in children’s books was as a linoleum block printmaker. Robert Sabuda has also published a pop-up book under the pseudonym Thomas Beach.
Award Winning Books by Robert Sabuda. (n.d.). Retrieved January 27, 2016, from
Mccormick Books - Rare, used, and out-of-print books. (n.d.). Retrieved February 03,
_______2016, from http://www.mccormickbooks.com/?page=shop/flypage
Robert Sabuda-Biography. (n.d.). Retrieved January 27, 2016, from Robert Sabuda
_______(1965–) Biography - Personal, Addresses, Career, Member, Honors Awards,
Robert Sabuda. (n.d.). Retrieved January 31, 2016, from http://nccil.org/experience/
Sabuda, R. (n.d.). Robert Sabuda. Retrieved January 20, 2016, from
Baum, L. F. (2000). The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. New York City: Simon & Schuster.
This pop-up book was created by Robert Sabuda for the 100th anniversary of the original book. It is meant for children age 4-8.
Sabuda, R. (1994). The knight's castle: A pop-up book. New York: Random House.
This pop-up book is meant for children age 4-7. It is a mouse's viewpoint as he travels through a castle.
Sabuda, R. (1994). The mummy's tomb: A pop-up book. New York: Random House.
This pop-up book is very similar to "The Knight's Castle." The story is told by a mouse exploring a tomb.
Sabuda, R. (2015). The White House: A pop-up of our nation's home. London: Orchard Books.
The book shows a tour of the president's home throughout the last two centuries. It is meant for children age 6-8.
Sabuda, R. (2005). Winter's Tale. New York City: Simon & Schuster.
The book focuses on winter wildlife. It is a part of the Classic Collection Pop-Up series.