Scholastic announced the acquisition of a new book by Caldecott Medalist Brian Selznick, Big Tree, an illustrated novel due out in April 2023. Described in a release as a “love letter to the natural world,” Big Tree is about two sycamore seeds trying to save the world, while in search of a safe place to grow.

Big Tree began as a concept from film director Steven Spielberg, with guidance from Illumination founder and CEO Chris Meledandri. Selznick expanded upon the idea and brought it to life within the book. Illumination, which is responsible for the Despicable Me, Secret Life of Pets, and Sing franchises, owns the film rights.

“Creating this book was a great joy and an even greater challenge because I was telling a story about nature from nature’s point of view.” Selznick said in a statement. “It grew into a narrative I’m very proud of, one that reminds us to stop and listen to the world around us, and to help those who need to be helped. These themes seem to grow more and more urgent with each passing day.”

Selznick’s longtime editor Tracy Mack, v-p and publisher of the Scholastic Trade Book Group, told PW, “Over the course of our 27-year collaboration, I’ve had the great pleasure and privilege of watching Brian challenge himself creatively in ways I’ve never seen before in another artist. The seeds of his success were evident in his early award-winning picture books, and they blossomed in his genre-defying novel in words and pictures, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, which put the scope of his genius on full display. But Big Tree is Brian’s crowning achievement. Not only does his storytelling dexterity reach new heights, he has created a book that is truly for everyone, imbuing us with wonder, love, and a profound sense of hope for our shared future on the planet.”

The book will be released in hardcover and ebook formats in the U.S, U.K, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand simultaneously. It will be 528 pages and will feature nearly 300 pages of Selnick’s illustrations.