A new picture book by Christian Robinson is a noteworthy event, especially since his next release will mark his first publication as both author and illustrator. In Another (Atheneum, Apr. 2019), whose cover is revealed here exclusively for the first time, Robinson plays with the physical format of the picture book in a way he hopes will encourage readers to spin the book around, look at pages upside down, and consider new perspectives—appropriate for a book with a theme of discovery.
“When I think about stories that I gravitated toward as a child, I think of narratives that take you on adventures to other worlds, places in which anything is possible,” Robinson said in a promotional letter he wrote for the book addressed “Dear Observers,” which he says “feels like the most accurate name for someone viewing a wordless book.”
Robinson is among the most decorated illustrators of the past decade, having won a Caldecott Honor for Last Stop on Market Street (Putnam, 2015), the Newbery Medal winner written by Matt de la Peña; a Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor for Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker, written by Patricia Hruby Powell (Chronicle, 2014;) and recognition from the New York Times, which named Leo: A Ghost Story, written by Mac Barnett (Chronicle, 2015) one of its Best Illustrated Children’s Books of the Year.
His first solo effort echoes the adventures of Alice in Wonderland as Robinson’s heroine follows not a rabbit but her black kitty into and down a hole, surfacing in a parallel universe full of wonder, play, and maybe, even a different version of herself.
Growing up, Robinson says he didn’t see a lot of characters who looked like him in the adventure stories he loved, so he set out to create one himself. “I was moved to tell a story about a girl who rarely sees herself as an explorer of new worlds,” he said. “When children see themselves and their experiences reflected in books, they are being sent a message that their story matters and that they matter.”
The book, edited by Emma Ledbetter, will publish on April 2, 2019.