Welcome to our spring 2020 Children’s Announcements issue! Our first feature offers a look at the proliferation of political kids’ books hitting shelves in time for the November election. Next, we speak with a variety of publishers about their growing IP programs. We also profile author Pam Muñoz Ryan, whose forthcoming middle grade novel, Mañanaland, blends magical realism and topical themes relating to immigration. Finally, we ask editors to share recent books they admire and wish they’d published themselves. All this, plus our comprehensive A–Z listings of children’s and YA titles being released between Feb. 1 and July 31, 2020. Happy reading!
Election Year Children’s Book Bonanza
November may seem far away, but political titles for young readers are already hitting shelves.
A Commitment to Proprietary IP
Children’s publishers are taking control by developing new intellectual property and retaining ownership.
Pam Muñoz Ryan: Illuminating a Timeless Struggle
Today’s news inserts itself into Pam Muñoz Ryan’s forthcoming middle grade novel, ‘Mañanaland.’
A Tip of the Hat
We asked editors to tell us about a recent book for young readers that they didn’t publish but greatly admire.
Long Live the Bestseller Kings
Scholastic and Penguin Random House continue their dominance of PW’s children’s lists.
About Our Cover Artist
Readers familiar with the work of author-illustrator Raúl Colón may recognize the bridge in the background of this issue’s cover as a recurring motif. Shown from a different perspective, the Brooklyn Bridge features prominently on the jacket of Colón’s wordless picture book Imagine! (S&S/Wiseman), in which a boy crosses over that iconic structure from Brooklyn to Manhattan, where he visits the Museum of Modern Art for the first time. The bridge also appears on Colón’s poster for the 2019 Brooklyn Book Festival.
“To me,” Colón says, “it represents crossing into the imagination. Reading does exactly that. We’re able to enter another world without having to physically go anywhere.”
The illustrator has made his share of journeys. Born in New York City, he moved to Puerto Rico with his family as a child, and to Florida as an adult in the late 1970s. “That’s where I developed a lot of my portfolio,” he says. In Florida, he worked at an educational TV station with other graphic artists, doing production work, building sets, designing puppets, and animating short films. “This gave me all the confidence and knowledge to pursue what I wanted to do: illustrate.”
Colón later moved back to New York to launch his career in picture books. He is the recipient of an SCBWI Golden Kite Award, a Pura Belpré Award, an International Latino Book Award, and both a gold and silver medal in the Society of Illustrators’ Original Art Show. He now lives in Rockland County, N.Y., which he says offers an energizing color palette of “green, green, green.”
Due out this season are two lyrical books illustrated by Colón: Child of the Universe, by astrophysicist Ray Jayawardhana (Make Me a World, Mar.), and Already a Butterfly by Julia Alvarez (Holt, June). He is currently finishing illustrations for Margarita Engle’s picture book A Light for All (S&S/Wiseman, 2021) “about immigration and the Statue of Liberty, specifically the torch and how it informs the young people who come to this country.” The duo previously collaborated on Miguel’s Brave Knight: Young Cervantes and His Dream of Don Quixote (Peachtree).
Bridging together his work, Colón says, “The number one thing I try to get across in my books is imagination. I always quote Einstein: ‘Imagination is more important than knowledge.’ It’s great to have knowledge, but if you don’t have imagination, it doesn’t lead anywhere.” Echoing the invitations embedded in his titles Draw! and Imagine!, Colón adds, “I hope people keep dreaming.”