The character of Jeremy Jackrabbit was inspired by Rodney’s little brother Jeremy,who had a poster on his bedroom wall that read: “Jeremy Jackrabbit Juggles Jumbo Jelly Beans.” Ever since he was a child, Jeremy has always loved the color green. As champions of the nation’s first mandatory rainwater harvesting ordinance, Rodney and his wife Sasha decided a children’s book would be an enjoyable and worthwhile way to educate students about the importance and ease of rainwater harvesting. “Jeremy Jackrabbit” came to life in the spring of 2010 with the distribution of 15,000 free copies of Jeremy Jackrabbit Harvests the Rain throughout Southern Arizona.
In 2012, Sasha and Rodney shared the concept for their second Jeremy Jackrabbit book with Superintendent Tim Ham from the Madison Elementary School District, friends of the Phoenix Public Library, and the Caliber Group—who all offered to collaborate. That Fall, over 100,000 young people throughout Maricopa County were invited by the Phoenix Public Library, City of Tempe Public Library, and local school districts to submit illustrations for selections of Sasha and Rodney’s book. This resulted in the distribution of over 56,000 free copies of Jeremy Jackrabbit Recycles the Can to more than 50 elementary school districts across Arizona.
With the success of their second book, commitments from additional corporate sponsors, an enhanced partnership with Arizona State University, and the publication of Jeremy Jackrabbit Captures the Sun, the Jeremy Jackrabbit book series was born. Because every 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 consistent version of Jeremy to promote the book. The Caliber Group, Catalina Rankin, and the dozens of children who illustrated these pages have donated their time and talents to this important educational project. After months of dedication, the finished piece is not only a children’s book about water conservation, but also a work of art by the community for everyone to enjoy!