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‘Lilo & Stitch’ Director to Release Novel

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Chris Sanders, the director of Lilo & Stitch and How to Train Your Dragon, has partnered with his wife, Jessica Steele-Sanders, to release their first novel Rescue Sirens: The Search for the Atavist.

I’m sure you’ve come across the name before. Chris Sanders has had his name attached to some of the best animated movies. After the success of Disney’s Lilo & Stitch – where he co-directed with Dean De Blois and voiced the cute little alien Stitch – he took his talents to Dreamworks to co-direct How to Train Your Dragon and The Croods. Chris Sanders also appears to be quite the entrepreneur. He started a webcomic Kiskaloo, released several sketch books in paperback and has his own online store of figures and plushes. Now he turns his talents to creating a book. If you follow Sanders on any social media, you’ll soon see that he’s always had a fascination with drawing mermaids, but it was his wife, Jessica Steele-Sanders, who first pitched the idea of a story about mermaid lifeguards.

Steele-Sanders (below) describes on the official website Chris Sanders Art how she came-up with the idea: “People say to write what you know. I know water. Before I moved to California, my jobs in Florida had almost always revolved around getting wet: I helped care for and train dolphins, went diving with sharks for a living, taught marine conservation programs, and spent a summer working as a lifeguard. I got to wondering… what if mermaids worked as lifeguards? Well, then, you’d call them “Rescue Sirens”!


Chris Sanders also explains on his blog how “The first thing was to build the mythology, the landscape, and the characters. Jess handled that while I wrestled with finding the right designs”. The detailed plot of the novel is described below:

For Nim, lifeguarding is more than just a summer job. She and her friends are Rescue Sirens, mermaids sworn to an ancient vow to watch over and protect humans — and the best way to do that in today’s world is by hiding in plain sight as lifeguards. When the Rescue Sirens receive word that a special human — unwittingly possessing the rare power to turn into a mermaid — has made her way to Miami Beach, it’s up to them to find her before she transforms on her own and is either discovered… or lost forever.

Below are just a few images that allow us to take a peek into this new creative world. The designs are exactly what we’ve come to expect from Sanders. They’re so adorable, imaginative, and cheerful that you just want to reach in and hug everything. The designs of the mermaid’s tails are even borrowed from real-life sea-creatures, a clever device that you wonder why it hasn’t been done before. Sanders is also currently busy working on The Croods 2 with fellow director Kirk DeMicco, so to make sure the book was released by its deadline, he asked artist Genevieve Tsai to help out with the illustrations and Edgar Delgado to color the drawings.



Chris Sanders and Jessica Steele-Sanders will be appearing at Comic-Con from July 8 for the Preview Night where you can get a hardcover copy of the book, one-sheet posters, limited edition prints, and more. If you can’t make it, no worries. Rescue Sirens, including signed copies, will also be available online here later this summer. I know I’ll be pre-ordering a copy!

      What do you think? Are you interested in discovering the world of ‘Rescue Sirens’?

Edited by: Kelly Conley

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About MJ Edwards

MJ is a writing and film graduate who loves to relax with scented candles and herbal teas. She is a dog-walker by day and a pie-maker by night. She loves movies starring Christopher Reeve and her favorite animated film is Meet the Robinsons. MJ also loves anything that LAIKA and Tim Burton come out with.