From Candlewick Press and Walker Books comes news of the worldwide publication of Will You Be My Friend?, a sequel to the mega-selling Guess How Much I Love You. Written by Sam McBratney and illustrated with watercolors by Anita Jeram, the book will have a global on-sale date of September 29 in the U.S., U.K., and Australia.

Walker Books Group plans a coordinated worldwide marketing and publicity campaign for the new picture book, which was acquired and edited by Caroline Royds, editorial director emeritus (U.K.), and president and publisher Karen Lotz, and designed and art-directed by Donna Cassanova, character publisher and creative director (U.K.).

In the quarter century since its debut, Guess How Much I Love You, celebrating Big Nutbrown Hare and Little Nutbrown Hare’s bond of unconditional love, has sold 47 million copies in 57 languages, and has spawned a global licensing program that includes clothing, textiles, jewelry, and home décor.

“We continue to be overwhelmed by, and so grateful for, the worldwide embrace of Sam and Anita’s Nutbrown Hares,” said Lotz of the ongoing popularity of the original book and its spin-off products. “We have always hoped that someday they would continue their story, but it’s difficult to imagine what could follow on from Guess How Much I Love You, with its heartfelt simplicity, loving humor, and deeply personal meanings. But here it is—and Sam and Anita have exceeded all expectations!”

In Will You Be My Friend?, Little Nutbrown Hare explores on his own, hopping along the path and through the grass until he reaches Cloudy Mountain, where he discovers a new friend. “This tale of first friendship is the perfect next step—or hop!—for Guess How Much I Love You fans around the world,” Lotz added. “This universal story is sure to become as much of a beloved read-aloud as its predecessor. A picture book about friendship, created by two masters of the form, seems especially welcome as we search for new ways to stay connected to loved ones near and far.