Welcome to our fall 2022 Children’s Announcements issue!
In our main feature, we speak with a number of authors who are writing across age ranges and genres about the joys of exploring unfamiliar literary terrain to reach new audiences. We also profile Lambda Literary Award–winning author Sara Farizan, who is making her own foray into new territory with her forthcoming supernatural YA novel, Dead Flip. All this, plus our comprehensive A–Z listings of children’s and YA titles being released between August 1 and January 31.
About Our Cover Artist
Since his 1989 debut, The Trouble with the Johnsons, Mark Teague has published more than 60 books for young readers as author, illustrator, or both. He still finds ways to keep things fresh at this stage in his career. “I feel like my approach is always evolving, sometimes consciously and sometimes unconsciously,” he says. “I’m constantly looking for new challenges and trying to push myself. It makes the work interesting.”
Teague, who grew up in San Diego, Calif., and currently lives in New York’s Hudson Valley, says his love of reading and visual storytelling was encouraged from a young age. “I was a very bookish little kid,” he recalls. “My mom was a great reader and she would take me and my brother to the public library just about every week. I’d come home with a stack of books. I think I taught myself to read by staring at picture books and memorizing the words.” Though he never really planned a career in books, “looking back from this vantage point, I can see it makes perfect sense.”
Those early encounters continue to infuse his work, Teague says. “I’m trying to pull from my own childhood, that sense of wonder I felt. I think a lot of the humor in my books comes from that sense of things being quite strange, which I remember from being a little kid. I play a lot with that in my work.”
This boy’s-eye-view is apparent in his forthcoming picture book, King Kong’s Cousin (Beach Lane, Aug.), about the legendary gorilla’s more diminutive relative, Junior. “That also has an origin in childhood,” Teague explains. “I had a King Kong poster from the original 1930s movie—I don’t know where it came from or who gave it to me. I stared at it all the time in my bedroom. And I dimly remember seeing the movie on television when I was a kid. I was just enchanted. So I had that in the back of my mind for a long time as something I wanted to use as a theme in a picture book.”
Also forthcoming is How Do Dinosaurs Say I’m Mad? (Blue Sky, Sept.), a new entry in the How Do Dinosaurs... series, written by Jane Yolen. Their collaboration has been going on for two decades, and while attending various events together over the years, Teague and Yolen have gotten to be good friends, though they’ve been unable to meet in person since the pandemic began. Teague is looking forward to their reunion this fall at the Chappaqua (N.Y.) Children’s Book Festival.
As for his current projects, “I’m working on writing a story; it may be coming together, or maybe not!” he says with a laugh, which is where so many of his books begin. —E.K.
Children's and YA Authors on Crossing Categories
We spoke with a number of high-profile children’s writers who have branched out from the categories and genres in which they originally found success to reach new audiences.
Sara Farizan: Writing for Her Inner Kid
The critically acclaimed author of three character driven coming-of-age YA novels, including the Lambda Literary Award–winning If You Could Be Mine, branches off in new directions in two upcoming releases.