Exploring Nature through interactive folding books

Published Books

These books are available for purchase in our online shop!

Coral Reefs & Other Colorful Creatures

Explore the 4 largest coral reef systems on earth in this folding book that showcases both the biodiversity and dire threat to our reefs.

24 Hour Flowers

"Fleeting Flora" is the theme of this interactive folding book that focuses on 8 plant species whose flowers last for only 1 day.

The Bee Book

Dive into the a beehive of information with this book featuring twelve bee species, the flowers they are attracted to, and a myriad of fun bee facts.

Handmade Books

These books are handmade to order. Please allow 30 days for book production.

Daisies & Dandelions

Enter a world of folding decagons and explore the intricate geometry of these common wildflowers!

Sunflowers & Moonflowers

This interactive folding book explores flowers that flourish under both the sun and moon, featuring hand-lettering, 8 breathtaking flowers, and a few surprises!

Templates & Activities

DIY Folding Book Template

Try your hand at creating your own interactive folding book with this simple printable template!

Coloring Pages

Download and print these intricate flower illustrations and break out the colored pencils!

Coral Reefs & Other Colorful Creatures

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Exploring the 4 largest reef systems on Earth
Coral Reefs and Other Colorful Creatures is an octagonal book with interactive folding pages that open radially. It has four stacked layers and each layer is made of four pages. One page from each layer focuses on the marine ecosystems of one of the world's largest coral reef systems:

  • The Coral Triangle
  • The Great Barrier Reef
  • The Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System
  • The Red Sea Coral Reef

Together, these four reef areas contain a staggering array of biodiversity that is showcased on the book's first three layers, and as the reader delves into the fourth layer, they can discover more denizens of the deep that live far down in the surrounding oceans.

Interactive folding structures help people engage with scientific information
This video shows the interactive layers of Coral Reefs and Other Colorful Creatures opening and closing. Today's fast-paced society is full of shrinking attention spans, and it takes something truly unique and eye-catching to hold peoples' interest. Our goal is to capture the reader's attention through the innovative structure of the book, and reward them with beautiful depictions and information about some of the most amazing environments on the face of the planet: coral reefs.

The tactile nature of the book makes it an excellent tool for engaging people with information they might struggle to absorb from a traditional book, website, or other source of information. Hands-on learning is not just for kids either - everyone needs to know more about these vitally important ecosystems and how human activity is affecting them, from excessive tourism and overfishing to plastic pollution and climate change.

Education is the first step to making people care about the consequences of their lifestyle, and engaging them with that information in a fun and interactive way can make a big difference.

Over 100 species beautifully illustrated in their natural habitats
Biodiversity is key to the success of coral reefs, and while we cannot come close to fitting in all of the thousands of species that dwell in our oceans, Coral Reefs and Other Colorful Creatures showcases well over 100 different species lovingly illustrated in one or more of the reef regions that they call home. This includes 39 species of ray-finned fishes, 27 species of soft and hard corals, all 7 of the world's endangered sea turtles, and a wide array of other sponges, anemones, seaweeds, sharks, rays, echinoderms, cephalopods, gastropods, polychaetes, crustaceans, cnidarians, and marine mammals.

While the folding pages of the book are all full of scenic illustrations of these colorful creatures, each species is numbered and can be referenced in the accompanying Explorer's Guide, where the reader can discover their common and scientific names and interesting facts about them.

Bringing the plight of coral reefs to the people
For every ravishing reef-scape in Coral Reefs and Other Colorful Creatures, there is an equally eerie effigy of what the marine environment could look like if humans continue unchecked destructive behavior that is destroying reefs. By simply flipping each page over and looking at the back, the reader will see the same coral structures that grace the front, but now they are bleached white, with once-crystalline waters that are murky and polluted, and the plethora of fish and other marine life has disappeared to be replaced with a giant floating mass of plastic and garbage.

Coral bleaching is a phenomenon caused by warming ocean temperatures and other environmental changes, such as fishing and pollution. When corals experience changes to their environment, they become stressed, releasing algae living in their tissue, causing them to turn pale or white and making them more susceptible to disease. As Coral Reefs provide habitats for more than a quarter of all marine life, the fish and other organisms that rely on the reef also become threatened.

This stark contrast drives home the fact that the destruction of coral reef environments is our own fault, and it is only through taking action that we can start amending it. In the back of their Explorer's Guide, the reader will find a call to action: tips on lifestyle choices they can make to reduce their impact, as well as ways to support environmental organizations who are out there doing the heavy-lifting conservation work necessary to stop those haunting images from becoming the future reality of our oceans.

US Patent No. 9,914,070

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24 Hour Flowers

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Inside of an old, rusty clock thrive 8 species of flowers that all have one thing in common: their blooms only last for one day! Prepare for a journey full of new botanical knowledge and breathtaking illustrations. As you explore four families of fascinating yet fleeting flora growing thick through the clock gears of this 12-sided book, you will learn new facts about each one, what makes them the same, and what makes them different.

24 Hour Flowers is a celebration of fleeting flora, but it also functions as an educational tool to learn about plant taxonomy, or how plants are arranged into families. First, the book divides bilaterally into monocotyldons on the left and dicotyldons on the right-- the most basic distinction in classifying plants. These two sections are each sub-divided into two families, a garden grows amongst clock gears, and within each family two species are featured for a total of 8 blooms growing from the center of the book. The interactive design of the book also makes it fun to read as a group. Share it with your friends and family and you can take turns reading as you explore the wonderful world of flowers.

US Patent No. 9,914,070

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The Bee Book

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The Bee Book has a hexagonal structure inspired by the shape of honey-combs, and its pieces flip out and unfold into different layers of hexagons and diamonds. The layers, acting as pages, contain colorful, realistic illustrations of the six families of bees found in North America and the flowers they are attracted to. Included along with the illustrations are fun facts which describe how these bees go about pollinating flowers, why they are drawn to specific flowers in particular, and how different flavors of honey occur naturally based on the kinds of flowers involved in the process. The Bee Book is the first published book in The Foliage Library series.

Given the recent severe decline of the bee population in the United States, it is important for everyone, especially the younger generation, to learn about bees and why they are so important to our ecosystem – bees are responsible for pollinating the plants that provide the majority of the world's fruits and vegetables. The Bee Book will rest in a honey-comb shaped box (for easy transport, storage, and protection) and information about our current bee crisis will be located on the inside cover of the box lid.

US Patent No. 9,914,070

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Daisies & Dandelions

Daisies & Dandelions is a 10-sided book that shows amazing beauty can be found even in the most common wildflowers. When unfolded, its pages bud and bloom into 5 species of Daisiy and 5 species of Dandelion. Information included among the flowers includeds biological processes such as photosynthesis and anemochory, as well as a varitey of ways in which these flora are helpful. When the triangular pages at the center are opened, the seeds of a dandelion puff disperse.

US Patent No. 9,914,070

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Sunflowers & Moonflowers

Sunflowers & Moonflowers is an interactive artist book and the first book in The Foliage Library. It is built in an octagonal structure inspired by the eight phases of the moon. The layers act as pages and contain whimsical illustrations of four types of sunflowers and four types of moonflowers, as well as the sun and moon; although the illustrations incorporate abstract patterns, they are based on real species of flowers. Included along with the illustrations are the common and scientific names of the flowers as well as short descriptions of each flower group, all written in hand-calligraphed blackletter.

US Patent No. 9,914,070

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Work For Hire

This section is coming soon!

The Foliage Library

Matt Holbein

Emily Brooks

Founded in 2015 by Matt Holbein and Emily Brooks, the goal of The Foliage Library is to promote environmental and botanical education through illustrated geometric folding books with forms that relate conceptually to their content. In addition to this, the very structures of their books present a learning opportunity as they incorporate a great deal of geometry and mathematical thought. By seeing how basic shapes move and fold in space, the brain will be more apt to understand how two-dimensional shapes relate to the physical world. The books incorporate elements of art, geometry, engineering, and environmentalism and can help awaken interests in these topics in both children and adults.

"Oaks of North America," a book by Matt Holbein that inspired The Foliage Library.
"Organic Geometries," a book by Emily Brooks that showcases her love of nature and patterns.

When Emily and Matt work together, the best aspects of their work as individuals come to light. They will conceptualize a book together, then Matt will design the geometric structure of the book while Emily creates beautifully detailed illustrations to fill it. While both artists have assigned roles in the creation process, they both help make artistic and design decisions on all aspects of the book so that the end result is truly collaborative.

Matt and Emily met in 2010 during their freshman year at the Rochester Institue of Technology and bonded over their love of plants and the outdoors. At RIT they both took book-making classes and became interested in the varying aspects of book illustration.

Intrigued by each other’s work, they decided to collaborate on a book in the spring of 2014. Matt made several octagonal dummy books out of paper, experimenting with the arrangement of layers and their proportions. Once a final layout was agreed upon, Emily began creating the illustrations to fill it using a brush and ink. Scanning and editing the images as she went along, she sent the digital files to Matt for him to color using Adobe Illustrator. Within a week they created Sunflowers and Moonflowers, an octagonal folding book about sunflowers, the sun, moonflowers, and the eight phases of the moon. Since then, they have applied their knowledge of illustration and design to create a growing series of geometric folding books called The Foliage Library.