Peter Kuper's INterSECTS Reading List

By NYPL Staff
January 12, 2022
Stephen A. Schwarzman Building

© Betty Russell , 2021

The New York Public Library's exhibition INterSECTS  presents excerpts from artist Peter Kuper’s forthcoming graphic novel, which he developed during his tenure as a fellow at The New York Public Library’s Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers in 2020–21. Finding himself virtually alone in the vast Beaux-Arts rooms and hallways of the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, Kuper began imagining arthropods occupying this unexpectedly and unprecedentedly vacant environment. The exhibition is on display in the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building's Rayner Special Collections Wing through August 13, 2022.

Peter Kuper is an award-winning cartoonist and lifelong insect enthusiast, who has authored over two dozen graphic novels. His comics and illustrations have appeared regularly in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Nation, Mad, and Charlie Hebdo. He lectures widely and teaches cartooning at Harvard University and the School of Visual Arts.

If you enjoyed the exhibition, or have an interest in arthropods in the world, Peter Kuper has recommended a range of titles, which you can find below, for readers of all ages—from his own work to the books that have inspired the art you'll find in INterSECTS. You can learn more about INterSECTS  and access free coloring pages and the exhibition audio guide by clicking here.

Selected Books by Peter Kuper

Ruins, 2015

Diario de Oaxaca: A Sketchbook Journal of Two Years in Mexico, 2009

The Metamorphosis, 2002

Kafkaesque: Fourteen Short Stories2018

Joseph Conrad's Heart Of Darkness2020

World War 3 Illustrated: 1979-2014 co-edited with Seth Tobocman, 2014

Drawn to New York, 2013

The System2012

Suggested Reading

Adventures Among Ants: A Global Safari with a Cast of Trillionsby Mark W. Moffett, 2010

The Ants by Edward O. Wilson, 1990

The Butterfly Effect: Insects and the Making of the Modern World by Edward D. Melillo, 2020

Bug Music: How Insects Gave Us Rhythm and Noise by David Rothenberg, 2013

Buzz: The Nature and Necessity of Bees by Thor Hanson, 2018

Chrysalis: Maria Sibylla Merian and the Secrets of Metamorphosis by Kim Todd, 2007

Edible Insects and Human Evolution by Julie J. Lesnik, 2018

Evolution of the Insects by David Grimaldi and Michael S. Engel, 2005

Extraordinary Insects: The Fabulous Indispensable Creatures Who Run Our World by Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson, 2019

Fine Lines: Vladimir Nabokov’s Scientific Art edited by Stephen H. Blackwell and Kurt Johnson, 2016

Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver, 2012

The Fly Trap by Fredrik Sjöberg, 2004

For Love of Insects by Thomas Eisner, 2003

Four Wings and a Prayer: Caught in the Mystery of the Monarch Butterfly by Sue Halpern, 2001

Half-Earth: Our Planet’s Fight for Life by Edward O. Wilson, 2016

Here by Richard McGuire, 2014

The Human Swarm: How Our Societies Arise,Thrive, and Fall by Mark W. Moffett, 2019

Innumerable Insects: The Story of the Most Diverse and Myriad Animals on Earth by Michael S. Engel, 2018

Insectopedia by Hugh Raffles, 2010

Memoirs of Black Entomologists: Reflections on Childhood, University, and Career Experiences edited by Michelle Samuel-Foo, Eric W. Riddick, Alvin M. Simmons, and Willye W. Bryan, 2015 (on order)

Metamorphosis insectorum Surinamensium by Maria Sibylla Merian, 1705

Monarchs and Milkweed: A Migrating Butterfly, A Poisonous Plant, and Their Remarkable Story of Coevolution by Anurag Agrawal, 2017

The Mosquito: A Human History of Our Deadliest Predator by Timothy C. Winegard, 2019

Nabokov’s Blues: The Scientific Odyssey of a Literary Genius by Kurt Johnson and Steven L. Coats, 1999

Naturalist by Edward O. Wilson, 1994

Poemas solares (Solar poems) by Homero Aridjis, 2010

Speak, Memory: An Autobiography Revisited by Vladimir Nabokov, 1951

Super Fly: The Unexpected Lives of the World's Most Successful Insects by Jonathan Balcombe, 2021

Tears of Re: Beekeeping in Ancient Egypt, by Gene Kritsky, 2015

Thunder & Lightning: Weather Past, Present and Future by Lauren Redniss, 2015

Wicked Bugs: The Louse That Conquered Napoleon’s Army & Other Diabolical Insects by Amy Stewart, 2011

Suggested Books for YA Readers

Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, 1865 

Archy and Mehitabel by Don Marquis, 1927

The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden, 1960

Naturalist: A Graphic Adaptation by Edward O. Wilson, adapted by Jim Ottaviani and C. M. Butzer, 1994

The Way of the Hive: A Honey Bee’s Story by Jay Hosler, 2021

Selected Picture Books

Buzzing with Questions: The Inquisitive Mind of Charles Henry Turner by Janice N.Harrington, illustrated by Theodore Taylor, 2019

The Girl Who Drew Butterflies: How Maria Merian’s Art Changed Science by Joyce Sidman, 2018

The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs by William Joyce, 1996

Maria the Monarch by Homero Aridjis, translated by Eva Aridjis, and illustrated by Juan Palomino,  2017 (on order)

Monarca by Eva Aridjis and Leopoldo Gout, 2022 (on order)

Sam and the Firefly P. D. Eastman, 1958

Two Bad Ants by Chris Van Allsburg,  1988

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle,  1969