Here's some info and images about James Dunbar and The Universe Verse. You can download high-resolution versions of any or all of the documents and images from the gallery below using this link.

Contact me to learn more.

The Universe Verse Info

Story and Illustrations by James Lu Dunbar | Full color illustrations throughout 

ISBN 978-1-888047-25-7 | $24.95 | Hardcover Case Binding 

110 pages | Ages 10 and up | Distributed by James and Kenneth Publishers | Publication Date: September 2014

2140 Shattuck Avenue #2406, Berkeley CA 94704 • Phone: (800) 784-5531 •


Oakland, CA — This scientifically accurate, rhyming comic book explains the origins of the universe, life on Earth and the human race. It introduces most of the major milestones in the history of our existence in a format that is engaging and appealing for young children and adult scientists alike.

WARNING! This book contains graphic depictions 

of scientific knowledge which may lead to decreased 

ignorance and heightened sensations of awe and wonder.

The richly detailed illustrations are filled with visual metaphors that help communicate remarkably complex and abstract scientific concepts, providing the ultimate big-picture view of our place in the universe and tying together most of human scientific knowledge in a single story. No one that reads this book will be able to think that science is boring.

Scientific literacy is becoming more important every day, so it’s vital that our children learn to love science from an early age.

- Many of the best jobs of the future will be in STEM fields (Science, Technolory, Engineering and Math).

- New levels of science will be required to address complex global problems like climate change and antibiotic resistant bacteria.

- The scientific story of our origins provides a rational basis for an empathic connection with all other humans, animals and life on Earth.

- Children are naturally curious and easy to raise into life-long science-lovers.

The Universe Verse was originally published as three individual books. 

Book 1: BANG! is about the origin of the universe, Book 2: It’s Alive! is about the origin of life on Earth and Book 3: Great Apes! is about the origin of the human race.

Thanks to the support of over 350 backers on Kickstarter all three individual books have been combined into this single hardcover version.

The Universe Verse is also available as a video and an audiobook.

Topics include:
Energy, space, time, the four fundamental forces, matter, particles, atoms, elements, fusion, stars, E=MC2, supernovae, galaxies, planets, solar systems, Earth, planetary crust, atmosphere, water, life, variation, reproduction, survival, evolution, cells, DNA, genes, sex, biodiversity, the food web, bacteria, photosynthesis, extinctions, respiration, eukaryotes, endosymbiosis, chloroplasts, mitochondria, multicellular organisms, tissues, organs, perception, nerves, brains, aquatic, terrestrial, flying creatures, fossils, dinosaurs, mammals, primates, humans, consciousness, language, agriculture, civilization, math, writing, books and science!

Review copies available upon request


James Lu Dunbar Bio & Sample Interview Questions

James Lu Dunbar is an artist and science-enthusiast who loves to make books.  James Dunbar lives in Oakland, CA where he was born and raised.  

At Berkeley High School Dunbar co-authored the school newspaper’s comic strip and as a project for his AP Calculus class senior year he wrote a children’s book about how to calculate derivatives: Gordy McGranite Grapples with Gradients (A Calculus Story), which he would later re-illustrate and publish.  

Dunbar has also spent many summers working as a white-water rafting guide on multi-day expedition trips down the Salmon and Snake rivers in Idaho. During this time he wrote 7 River Riddles, a book of original, rhyming riddles accompanied by ink drawings that provide clues to the answers. 

After college he travelled around the Pacific and Asia for 6 months before  spending a year in Boston where he researched and wrote the first draft of The Universe Verse in the public libraries.  After Boston he moved back to Oakland where he has lived ever since, having spent the past several years editing and illustrating The Universe Verse

The Universe Verse was originally released as three separate books – Book 1: BANG! (published in 2009), Book 2: It’s Alive! (published in 2011) and Book 3: Great Apes! published in 2014, when all three books were also combined into a single hardcover book, and published with help from a very successful Kickstarter campaign.


This is an excerpt from an interview with Mark Turner, comic-book journalist for the Oakland Examiner:

Mark Turner: What inspired you to take up the project of creating a science comic book?

James Dunbar: I’ve always enjoyed writing, drawing and making books, and I’ve always enjoyed science.  I love learning how things work and sharing that understanding with others, especially children.  I think most children have an innate curiosity towards the workings of the natural world, and that it’s incredibly important that we support and encourage that curiosity.  Too many children (and adults) think they don’t like science because they have not enjoyed the way it’s been presented to them in school.  

That’s why I wanted to make a book that presents the most important concepts in science in an engaging and entertaining way.  I know that this book deals with some intellectually challenging topics, but I’ve worked very hard to make it as approachable as possible, in the hope that even very young children will be interested in hearing the story, and will be able to take something from the experience of hearing it.

Mark Turner: Any previous experience with sequential art (background/ and did you grow up exposed to comics)? Do you follow comics at all (if so an particular titles, artist or writers)?

James Dunbar: In high school I wrote and illustrated a couple of children’s books, one about racial discrimination and one about calculus.  I also wrote and illustrated the comic strip for our school’s newspaper with a friend.  Those were my only experiences with comic-book style illustrations, with panels and text bubbles.  I didn’t actually read a lot of comic-books growing up, though when I began illustrating BANG! I made an effort to look at some different children’s book and comic book illustration styles.  

My real hero though is Dr. Seuss.  His books inspired me to get into the world of children’s books, and I aspire to someday make stories like The Lorax, The Sneetches, Yertle the Turtle and The Butter Battle Book.  These are all entertaining and wonderfully well-written tales that are fun to read but also communicate a powerful commentary on society.  And they’re on subjects that most people would consider unfit for a children’s book.  But Dr. Seuss’ presentation is so engaging that children love them, despite the fact that they’re about environmentalism, discrimination, totalitarianism and the Cold War.