Aug. 20, 2020

by Hue editors

Looking for a diverting read in this era of social distancing and global uncertainty? Look no further: FIT faculty, staff, and alumni have authored and illustrated numerous books of all kinds. The following books, written for a general audience, were published within the past three years.

Have you written a book? If so, reach out to FIT Authors, an initiative of the Gladys Marcus Library to showcase the scholarship and creativity of the FIT community and promote library collections.


Shortlisted for the 2020 Women’s Prize for Fiction and a Good Morning America Book Club Pick, Dominicana (Flatiron Books, 2019) by Angie Cruz, Fashion Design ’94, tells the harrowing story of a young Dominican woman who immigrates to New York City apart from her family. Read an excerpt here.

Andrea Kleine, a cataloguing associate in the Gladys Marcus Library, moonlights as a writer and performance artist. Her second novel, Eden (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018), is a thriller about a woman searching for her sister to testify against the man who abducted them 20 years earlier.

#1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Kerri Maniscalco, Communication Design ’04, vaulted into literary success with her Stalking Jack the Ripper series of young adult gothic thrillers. Her new series will begin with Kingdom of the Wicked (JIMMY Patterson Books, 2020), a fantasy set in 19th-century Italy that follows a witch seeking answers in her sister’s murder, and the demon prince tasked with finding a bride for his master.

The latest novel by English and Communication Studies faculty member Richie Narvaez, Holly Hernandez and the Death of Disco (Piñata Books, 2020), is “a Puerto Rican Nancy Drew YA mystery.” Set in Brooklyn in 1979, two Latinx teenagers investigate a murder at their elite high school and end up in a high-stakes disco contest. Kirkus Reviews praised the book for “examining gender inequality and social injustice and providing an interesting look at the history of disco as a safe place for queer people and people of color.”

Hue Managing Editor Jonathan Vatner’s first novel, Carnegie Hill (Thomas Dunne Books, 2019), explores the marriages and friendships of the residents and staff in an exclusive Upper East Side co-op. People magazine called it “entertaining and profound.”


The 12th book by cake whisperer (and Fashion Design grad) Rose Levy Beranbaum ventures into chillier, creamier territory. Rose’s Ice Cream Bliss (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2020), dropped in July. Read more here.

Scan Artist: How Evelyn Wood Convinced the World That Speed-Reading Worked (Chicago Review Press, 2019) by Marcia Biederman, a longtime instructor in the Center for Continuing and Professional Studies’ ESL and Fashion Business summer programs, describes the woman behind the speed-reading craze of the ’60s and ’70s and the junk science that she used to promote it. Wood used support from prominent leaders—including Senator Edward Kennedy and President Jimmy Carter—as well as preconceptions about women, to hoodwink the media in a way that mirrors the recent Elizabeth Holmes/Theranos scandal.

Leslie Blodgett, Cosmetics and Fragrance Marketing ’85, is best known as the founder of Bare Escentuals, the parent company of makeup phenomenon bareMinerals. Her entertaining (and modestly titled) career advice book, Pretty Good Advice: For People Who Dream Big and Work Harder (Abrams, 2020), contains 97 actionable insights for getting ahead. For example: “Ramble. Sometimes” and “Write taglines for fun.”

Activist artist and writer Molly Crabapple ’04 illustrated and co-wrote Brothers of the Gun: A Memoir of the Syrian War (One World, 2018). The book the coming-of-age story of Marwan Hisham, who joined the first protests of the Arab Spring and witnessed the Syrian war ravage his country. The memoir was longlisted for the National Book Awards.

The Hidden History of American Fashion: Rediscovering 20th-Century Women Designers (Bloomsbury, 2018), edited by Nancy Deihl, is an in-depth exploration of largely forgotten female designers such as Jessie Franklin Turner and Zelda Wynn Valdes, who defined American fashion in its emerging years and helped build an industry with global impact. The book, geared toward scholars and curators as well as any lover of fashion, includes chapters by Special Collections Associate April Calahan ’09; fashion historian and faculty member Daniel James ColeLourdes Font, professor of History of Art and chair of the Fashion and Textiles graduate program; historian, curator, and faculty member Natalie Nudell; and Jan Glier Reeder ’87, a curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Film and Media faculty member K. Meira Goldberg’s Sonidos Negros: On the Blackness of Flamenco (Oxford University Press, 2019) examines how the politics of blackness are figured in the flamenco dancing body, and asks what flamenco dance can tell us about the construction of race in the Atlantic world.

Julia Jacquette, chair of Fine Arts, wrote and illustrated Playground of My Mind (Prestel, 2017), a graphic memoir of her childhood in Manhattan in the ’60s and ’70s, through the lens of the modernist adventure playgrounds created by noted architects including her father. The book was published in association with a solo exhibition at the Wellin Museum of Art at Hamilton College, Julia Jacquette: Unrequited and Acts of Play, which occasioned a 2018 monograph by the same name.

Lust on Trial: Censorship and the Rise of American Obscenity in the Age of Anthony Comstock (Columbia University Press, 2018), is History of Art Professor Amy Werbel’s cultural and social history of America’s most famous censorship peddler. The Times Literary Supplement called it “A richly detailed, deeply researched and lavishly illustrated account of Comstock’s career and legacy.” Read more here.

Art Books

The Box (Bruno Gmuender, 2017), a collection of photographs of the nude male figure by Professor Ron Amato, uses a series of boxes as visual metaphors to reflect his development from adolescence to adulthood, a journey of self-discovery and community building.

After the death of Arlene Gottfried ’72 in 2017, the street photographer’s 2008 collection was reissued in paperback. Sometimes Overwhelming (powerHouse Books, 2018) contains 100 photographs that capture the gloriously seamy side of New York City life in the ’70s and ’80s. The cover image came about while Gottfried was roaming the unofficial clothing-optional area of Jacob Riis Park in Queens. She spotted a Hasidic man standing on the beach when a naked bodybuilder approached and said, “Take my picture—I’m Jewish too.” Read more about Gottfried here.

The 2019 exhibition at The Museum at FIT, Paris, Capital of Fashion, also spawned a companion book. Museum Director and Chief Curator Valerie Steele edited Paris, Capital of Fashion (Bloomsbury, 2019) and wrote an introduction about how and why Paris became known as the world’s leading city for fashion.

Arsho Baghsarian: A Life in Shoes (Schiffer Publishing, 2019) centers on the woman shoe designer whose work—but not her name—was used in the collections of Christian Dior, I. Miller, and Stuart Weitzman. To create the book, Helene Verin, adjunct assistant professor and counselor of Career and Internship Services, drew from the full-page sketches, prototypes, and production pairs that the designer, known for her sculptural heels and use of exotic materials such as snakeskin, crystal, and Lucite, donated to FIT. Read more here.

Jessica Wynne, Associate Professor of Photography, has received major media attention for Do Not Erase (Princeton University Press, 2021), her upcoming collection of photographs of theoretical mathematicians’ chalkboards. Read about the project here.


The Needle (Harry Tankoos Books, 2020) is the latest poetry collection by Regan Good, adjunct instructor of English and Communication Studies. Poet Sean Singer called the work “textured, muscular, and driven by the idea that the natural world is the last parcel of moral ground we have.”

The third book of poetry by Amy Lemmon, chair of English and Communication Studies, The Miracles (C&R Press, 2019), offers glimpses of Lemmon’s children and their father, who died in a senseless accident. Read more here.

Invasive species (Nighboat Books, 2019) by Marwa Helal, an adjunct faculty member in English and Communication Studies, is a hybrid of poetry and prose that strips bare the United States’ stance on foreigners and immigrants as one of racism and white supremacy. Read more here.

Poet, narrator, and translator Madeline Millán, assistant professor of Modern Languages and Cultures, published an anthology of her Spanish-language poetry, Que el mar no me falte [May the sea not miss me] (Isla Negra, 2019). Millán drew from six previously published books for this anthology.

Children’s Books

Across the Bay (Penguin, 2019), a picture book by Fashion Illustration faculty member Carlos Aponte about a boy who visits San Juan in search of his father, won the American Library Association’s Pura Belpré Award, given to a Latino/Latina writer and illustrator whose work best portrays the Latino cultural experience. Read more here.

Sam Kalda, MFA Illustration ’14, made the charming illustrations for When We Walked on the Moon (Wide Eyed Editions, 2019), which brings the story of the Apollo missions to a new generation of explorers. Kalda created an animated feature for this issue of Hue. Read about another of his books, Of Cats and Men, here.

Get Up, Stand Up (Chronicle Books, 2019) is a picture book adaptation of the iconic Bob Marley anthem, written by the singer’s daughter Cedella Marley and illustrated by alumnus and faculty member John Jay Cabuay. Its message is simple and timely: to counter injustice, lift others up with kindness and courage.

Hue contributor Liz Starin, MA Illustration ’09, who has created picture books for Farrar, Straus and Giroux and Simon & Schuster, most recently provided her trademark witty and cheerful drawings for Captain Monty Takes the Plunge (Kids Can Press, 2017), about a pirate captain who can’t swim.

Chris Eliopoulos, Advertising Design ’89, has illustrated a series of bestselling children’s books, written by thriller author Brad Meltzer, called Ordinary People Change the World. These books emphasize traits in historical figures that kids can aspire to. The 21st book in the series, I Am Benjamin Franklin (Dial Books, 2020), debuts in October.

When the octopus Grandma is cooking gets the upper hand, it’s up to young Ramsey to save her. Octopus Stew (Holiday House, 2019) is the most recent of more than 30 books by Adjunct Assistant Professor Eric Velasquez, an award-winning Afro-Latino artist and author. The book celebrates creativity, heroism, family, and Latinx culture—and it contains the Velasquez family recipe for octopus stew.

Faculty member Annie Won created lifelike illustrations for In the Quiet, Noisy Woods (Doubleday Books for Young Readers, 2019). The story follows a pair of wolf pups who hear many other animal noises as they find their way back to the pack.

Nina Mata, Illustration ’08, drew adorable, inclusive illustrations of school kids for LeBron James’s #1 best seller, I Promise (HarperCollins, 2020). The book motivates readers to work hard and be true to themselves; the illustrations help children see themselves in the characters.