Author | Illustrator
A. J. Atlas
A.J. Atlas is the creator of the Travels with Zozo… illustrated children’s book series. The adventures follow an adorable pet bunny as she vacations around the world with her human family.
Writing a series with each story as completely unique as the place it’s set in is a challenge Atlas enthusiastically embraces. Whether readers meet flamingos and viscachas on the Bolivian salt flats, elephants and baboons near Zambia and Zimbabwe’s great waterfall, or Icelandic horses under the Northern Lights, the widely differing settings provide a backdrop for readers to meet diverse characters and rich cultures.
Atlas’ extensive travel experiences in nearly fifty countries and throughout all fifty U.S. states provide firsthand insight into the settings for the books. From there, Atlas’ whimsical sense of humor, active imagination, and creative storytelling abilities bring to life the emotions and adventures of the series’ main character, a “hoppity, floppity, huggable, snuggable” pet bunny named Zozo. The series focuses on themes of making friends and strengthening family bonds while growing self-reliant and emotionally self-aware.
Though the first fourteen books of the series burst onto the scene all-at-once, the creation of Zozo developed slowly, over decades. It began with Atlas being a pet lover at heart who had long been denied a furry friend because of severe allergies. Throughout childhood, stuffed animals and a notebook helped channel this love toward storytelling. Then a zest for adventure travel took Atlas to wildly interesting places in adulthood, and the notebook filled with heart-warming stories blossomed further. Currently, Atlas continues to travel and write new stories while advising on the illustrations and production of the completed books in the series.
Atlas collaborates closely with award-winning illustrator Anne Zimanski. Together, they create rich, full-color 32-page books filled with bright, colorful, imaginative worlds, bursting with personalities, action, and emotion.
Likewise, Atlas works with publisher ImaginOn Books as they strive to make Travels with Zozo… their best travel series for young readers. Atlas’ personal experiences combine with the publisher’s extensive research on the landscapes, plants, and animals to create a rich sense of place in each book. The series explores Alaska’s coastal islands, Norway’s fjords, Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, Bolivia’s salt flats, Zambia and Zimbabwe’s waterfall, ancient cities of Nara, Japan, and Istanbul, Turkey, Argentina’s Andes Mountains, Iceland’s Northern Lights, Belize’s river caves, islands in Greece and the Eastern United States, Europe’s Flemish and Basque regions, and many more places.
Anne Zimanski is the illustrator of the Travels with Zozo… children’s book series. The adventurous tales follow an adorable pet bunny and her human family as they visit people and places throughout the world.
Drawing the ever-changing, real-life locations, animals, and action in each book is an opportunity Zimanski wholeheartedly welcomes because it allows her expert skills as a freehand digital artist to broaden. Whether it’s the intricacies of the natural world or the complexities of architectural marvels, Zimanski uses her keen eye for composition and a creative use of lighting to create bright, colorful settings. Upon these beautiful landscapes, Zimanski brings to life a sweet, lovable pet bunny, Zozo, and her animal friends. Zimanski’s labor of love fills the series with an abundance of charm and heart, action and emotion, and a plentiful dose of whimsical humor.
Zimanski enjoys working with fun-loving writer A.J. Atlas. The collaboration brings out their healthy, competitive spirits as each tries to outdo the other in dreaming up one funny idea after the next. To date, Zimanski’s favorite humorous gag is of a bear cleverly disguised in a hollow tree trunk stealing a sandwich, while Atlas leans toward the hilarious first flight of three baby birds, from their first, confident leaps out of the nest, followed immediately by the struggling, funny faces of gravity taking hold. But whether it’s cute crabs golfing, sweet viscachas doing yoga, or goofy, pickpocketing baboons, each reader will enjoy the multi-dimensional illustrations in each 32-page book.
With the help of publisher ImaginOn Books, Zimanski has done extensive research for each book. The abundance of local plants and animals, as well as vibrant landscapes in each story, ensures that Zimanski always has something new and exciting to share with readers.