The character of Jeremy Jackrabbit was inspired by a poster that hung on Rodney’s little brother’s bedroom wall that read, “Jeremy Jackrabbit Juggles Jumbo Jelly Beans.” Not only is his brother’s name Jeremy, but ever since he was a child, Jeremy has always loved the color green. As the champion of the nation’s first mandatory rainwater harvesting ordinance, Rodney and his wife, Sasha, decided it would be an enjoyable and worthwhile community project to write a children’s book educating students about the importance and ease of rainwater harvesting. In the spring of 2010, Jeremy Jackrabbit came to life with the distribution of 15,000 copies of Jeremy Jackrabbit Harvests the Rain throughout Southern Arizona.
Sasha and Rodney shared their concept for their second children’s book, Jeremy Jackrabbit Recycles the Can with friends from the City of Phoenix Public Library, Superintendent Tim Ham from the Madison Elementary School District, and the Caliber Group, who all offered to collaborate on making the couple’s new vision a reality. During the fall of 2012, over one hundred thousand young people throughout Maricopa County were invited by the Phoenix Public Library, City of Tempe Public Library, and local schools to submit illustrations of various sections of the text that Sasha and Rodney had written.
Over one thousand drawings were received and reviewed by a panel of artists, teachers, and librarians to bring Jeremy Jackrabbit to life. Since each page of the book is illustrated by a different student artist, Sasha and Rodney called on their friend and Southern Arizona artist, Catalina Rankin, to illustrate a formal version of Jeremy that could be used to promote their children’s book and provide additional continuity. The Caliber Group, Catalina Rankin, and the dozens of children who illustrated the book donated their time and talents to make this project a success. After months of work, what resulted was not simply a children’s book on recycling, but rather a piece of community artwork for everyone to enjoy!