Welcome to our Spring 2016 Children’s Announcements Issue! Since the issue of diversity is such a timely topic, we spoke with a number of booksellers about how best to stock and sell diverse books, despite challenges presented in more homogenous neighborhoods. In another feature, we take a look at a survey revealing how kids read and buy books today.
We also profile author Sherman Alexie, who has written his first picture book—his first book for young readers since The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. All this, plus our comprehensive A-to-Z listings of titles being released by children’s and YA publishers between February 1 and July 31. Happy reading!
About Our Cover Artist
“I had an amazing line of really crappy jobs,” Zachariah OHora says of his life before he became a full-time illustrator. Particularly formative for the artist was a stint working as a sign painter in San Francisco. He was 20 at the time, and many of his colleagues were in their 40s. “They encouraged me to go back to school for art,” he recalls.
After art school, OHora began tackling a range of projects, from cover albums to editorial illustration, and finally to children’s books. “I’ve always thought of myself as an artist and illustrator first,” he says, though he finds that writing frees him to think up his own characters.
OHora’s illustrations are wholly distinctive, showing flat, blocky characters with textural details, made primarily with acrylic paint on paper. “I also sometimes do ink, and then I Photoshop things,” he adds. German expressionists were a big influence on the artist, which led him to study abroad in Germany. He also notes the impact of comics on his style, saying, “I was always into flat pictures with heavy black and expressive lines.” OHora credits two picture books in particular with inspiring him to create for young readers: Father Fox’s Pennyrhymes by Clyde Watson, illustrated by Wendy Watson, and Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith’s The True Story of the Three Little Pigs.
OHora is staying plenty busy this year. Horrible Bear!, his collaboration with Wolfie the Bunny author Ame Dyckman, is due out this spring, and he’s working on two more picture book projects as well as a nonfiction project, still in its early stages. Whatever’s down the road for OHora, readers can be sure that it’ll be a solid mix of playful and just a little bit of strange. “I like to do books that have a lot of heart but are kind of weird,” he says.How Independent Booksellers Hand-Sell and Merchandise Diverse BooksFor Kids, Print Books Are the ThingThe Absolutely True Story of Sherman Alexie’s First Picture Book Spring 2016 Children's Announcements: Publishers A-GSpring 2016 Children's Announcements: Publishers H-MSpring 2016 Children's Announcements: Publishers N-SSpring 2016 Children's Announcements: Publishers T-ZFall 2016 Children's Sneak Previews