Street Noise Books, a new independent publishing house specializing in graphic memoir and illustrated nonfiction for young adults, will publish its first list in January 2020.

Street Noise Books founder and publisher Liz Frances told PW the new publisher will launch with six books with plans to publish six to eight books annually. Frances is a 15-year publishing veteran who has worked as an art director and book designer, most recently at Scholastic. She said her list will focus on books that reflect a radical, feminist, queer, and inclusive social vision.

Frances said she was motivated to launch Street Noise Books by the 2016 presidential election and inspired by the growth of the graphic novel category. “I was really moved by a lot of graphic novel works over the last few years,” she said, specifically pointing to David Small’s Stitches. The new company’s tag line, she said, will be to produce books that are “unapologetic, authentic, and politically relevant.”

“I am launching Street Noise Books to create a means from which truth can be told, a place to share our stories, to foster community,” she said.

Frances is self-financing Street Noise Books, she said, in order “to maintain our independence and integrity and not have to justify the books to a committee.” Street Noise Books makes use of freelance editors and designers. Frances said she is in talks with distributors.

Among the books on the first list are I’m a Wild Seed: Memories of Oppressed Queerness by Sharon Lee De La Cruz, a graphic memoir about the meaning of being queer by a woman of color; and Spellbound: A Graphic Memoir by Bishakh Som, which will explore gender and sexuality, love and memory by a transgender artist. SNB will also release Stupid Black Girl: Essays from an American African Living in New York by Aisha Redux with art by Brianna McCarthy, a collection of narrative essays.

The initial list of titles did not come through agents and Frances is working with authors to develop the list. She found Aisha Redux on Instagram and first saw the work of De La Cruz when she was working at Scholastic and contacted her about forthcoming work. Frances is also planning to publish an as yet untitled work by Native American cartoonist Jim Terry, which she discovered via Indigenous Comic Con, the Native American pop culture festival.

Frances called graphic works a way to “humanize social issues. It’s harder to stereotype people when you know something about them.”