Welcome to our spring 2023 Children’s Announcements issue!
In our lead feature, we speak with a number of publishers about how they are adapting to ongoing challenges posed by the pandemic. In addition, we present an excerpt from historian Leonard S. Marcus’s forthcoming book, Pictured Worlds: Masterpieces of Children’s Book Art by 101 Essential Illustrators from Around the World. We also profile Caldecott Medalist Dan Santat, who is venturing into a new format with his debut middle grade graphic memoir, A First Time for Everything, and has several projects on the horizon. All this, plus our comprehensive A–Z listings of children’s and YA titles being released between February 1 and July 31. Happy reading!
About Our Cover Artist
Author-illustrator Duncan Tonatiuh lives in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, where he was raised and where he finds the inspiration that infuses his books for young readers. Mixing the ancient and the modern, his art often features flat, iconographic figures shown in profile against textured backgrounds made from digital collage.
The creator of more than a dozen picture books, Tonatiuh is the recipient of several awards, many of which are in recognition of his portrayal of Mexican and Mexican American history and culture. Such accolades include multiple Tomás Rivera and Américas Awards, a Pura Belpré Illustration Award for Diego Rivera, a slew of Belpré Illustration Honors, and two New York Times Best Illustrated awards, for The Princess and the Warrior and Funny Bones.
This past January, Tonatiuh received yet another Belpré Illustration Honor—for his newest picture book, A Land of Books: Dreams of Young Mexihcah Word Painters. “It’s a big honor,” he says. “I’m very proud of that book.” A Land of Books explores the intricately painted manuscripts, or codices, created in Mesoamerica long before the Spanish conquest.
Tonatiuh recalls how he was first drawn to this ancient style of art after attending Parsons School of Design in New York City. “I began to miss things that were around me growing up in Mexico: the food, the music, different traditions,” he says. “And I really got interested in Mexican and Mixtec artwork.” He is also informed by his lifelong love of American comic books and Japanese manga.
He first considered the possibility of creating children’s books when his professor, impressed by Tonatiuh’s final project, a sort of “modern-day codex,” connected him with Howard Reeves, who became his editor at Abrams. Passionate about writing his own stories as well, he worked with Reeves on his author-illustrator debut, Dear Primo: A Letter to My Cousin (2010). “That opened this world of making picture books,” Tonatiuh says. Next up for the artist is Día de Muertos: Números, a counting book for younger readers coming in May from Abrams Appleseed. He’s also at work on a picture book titled Game of Freedom, about the evolution of capoeira, an Afro-Brazilian hybrid of martial arts and dance.
“What I love about making picture books,” Tonatiuh says, “is that I get to learn about things I care about. And then I try to distill all that information into a visually interesting story.” He’s also committed to inclusivity. “One thing that is important for me is representation—to have books that better reflect the diversity of children in the United States. Because when kids do see themselves reflected in stories, it lets them know that their stories are important, that their voices matter.” —E.K.
Children's Publishers Adapt
This time last year, a range of issues were top of mind for most children’s publishers—supply chain and shipping problems, schedule delays, the price of paper, return to in-office work. As 2023 begins, we asked a number of children’s publishers to reflect on how these issues have been resolved (or not), how they’ve adjusted, and what they predict for the year ahead.
A Brief History of Picture Books
We present an excerpt from the introduction of 'Pictured Worlds: Masterpieces of Children’s Book Art by 101 Essential Illustrators from Around the World,' by historian Leonard S. Marcus.
Dan Santat Is One Busy Guy
Caldecott Medalist Dan Santat has several books due out this year, including his debut middle grade graphic memoir, 'A First Time for Everything.'
Spring 2023 Children's Announcements: Publishers A-E
Spring 2023 Children's Announcements: Publishers F-L
Spring 2023 Children's Announcements: Publishers M-Q