Welcome to our Fall 2020 Children’s Announcements issue! Our first feature offers a look at how children’s booksellers are preparing for the coming season amid uncertain times. Next, we speak with a number of editors and agents who are also published authors about juggling their professional and creative lives. Finally, we profile Caldecott Medalist Uri Shulevitz, whose forthcoming middle grade debut, Chance, chronicles his perilous childhood escape from the Holocaust. All this, plus our comprehensive A–Z listings of children’s and YA titles being released between Aug. 1, 2020, and Jan. 31, 2021. Happy reading!
About Our Cover Artist
Author-illustrator Oge Mora feels “unbelievable gratitude” for her early success. “The coolest thing is that people care about what I do—my books and the stories I write,” she says. “Kids and adults identify with them.”
Mora’s 2018 debut picture book, Thank You, Omu!, itself a tale of being grateful and celebrating community, received widespread acclaim: a Caldecott Honor, the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Award, the Ezra Jack Keats Book Award, and selection as a New York Times Notable Book and Editors’ Choice. She was also chosen as a PW Flying Start for the book, which originated as a final project at the Rhode Island School of Design.
Mora still resides in Providence, R.I., where she says she has been comforted during the pandemic by her work (“That’s what’s really keeping me going”) and her natural surroundings. Describing her neighborhood walks, she says, “Beauty is nearby.”
The daughter of Nigerian immigrants, Mora pays tribute to the everyday moments that bring family together in both Thank You, Omu! and her second solo book, 2019’s Saturday. As she told PW during her Flying Starts interview, “I really love that I could combine Nigerian and American traditions and create a book that exists in a third space like I myself do.”
Among the artists she admires are Jacob Lawrence, Faith Ringgold, and Aminah Robinson, whose influence can be seen in Mora’s cut-paper collage. “I think what draws me to collage is I get to combine a lot of things,” she says. “Being an assemblage of different styles, it allows me to bring all that I love onto the page.” She is also a “gigantic picture book fan, always looking at everybody’s work.”
Mora is currently illustrating her fourth book, Everybody in the Red Brick Building by Anne Wynter, which is due out from Balzer + Bray in fall 2021. “It’s a fun bedtime story,” she says.
During Mora’s school visits, which for the moment have pivoted to a virtual format, she encourages children by saying, “You have stories that are beautiful that you need to share with the world. And you don’t have to wait for someone to assign you as an author or say you’re an artist. You’re a real artist right now.”
And speaking for her fellow author-illustrators who create work to inspire young readers, Mora asks, “Aren’t we so lucky?”—E.K.
PW caught up with reps from five children’s bookstores, who shared how they are keeping an eye on books due out this coming season amid the coronavirus.
Children’s Writers Who Wear Multiple Hats
We spoke with a number of children’s editors and agents who also write for young readers about their creative journeys, from balancing the demands of their professional and artistic lives to navigating publishing and personal relationships.
Uri Shulevitz on Memoir and Memories
In his middle grade debut, Chance, Caldecott Medalist Uri Shulevitz chronicles his perilous childhood escape from the Holocaust.