Released in time for the 50th anniversary of the publication of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, is one of our newest titles Rise!: From Caged Bird to Poet of the People, Maya Angelou by author Bethany Hegedus and illustrated by Tonya Engel. In this interview, author Bethany Hegedus talks about her newest title Rise!, how she felt to receive a foreword from Dr. Maya Angelou’s grandson Colin Johnson, and her writing and research process.
We’re excited to celebrate the upcoming release of Rise! From Caged Bird to Poet of the People, Maya Angelou, the first in-depth picture book biography of Maya Angelou, ahead of the fiftieth anniversary celebration of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.
Writer, activist, trolley car conductor, dancer, mother, and humanitarian–Maya Angelou’s life was marked by transformation and perseverance. In this comprehensive picture-book biography geared towards older readers, Bethany Hegedus lyrically traces Maya’s life from her early days in Stamps, Arkansas, through her work as a freedom fighter to her triumphant rise as a poet of the people.
In The Story I’ll Tell a young child asks where he came from. His mother tells him fantastical tales with a kernel of truth that piece together his journey across a wide ocean to his new family. The Story I’ll Tell was released this month and received a starred review from Publishers Weekly which called it “an unabashed love letter. . . [that] many families will treasure.” In this guest post, author Nancy Tupper Ling discusses where the idea for The Story I’ll Tell came from.
Summer is here in full force. It’s the perfect time to curl up pool- or beachside with a good book! Look no further than our new spring and fall releases!
Released in March, Summoning the Phoenix gives readers an inside look into centuries-old Chinese musical instruments and the more recently formed modern Chinese Orchestra. Children of all backgrounds show that traditional Chinese music can be enjoyed by everyone. We asked illustrator April Chu to take us behind the scenes for creating the digital illustrations used in Summoning the Phoenix:
1. Before I do any sketching at all, I will read a manuscript over and over many times. Sometimes I even close my eyes and just brainstorm ideas. This step is important to me because this is when all the initial images and emotions I get from a story start forming in my head. I also start doing research and compiling photos at this point as I did for Summoning the Phoenix: Poems and Prose about Chinese Musical Instruments. Researching is very important to me before I begin a project especially for a nonfictional picture book. In this case, researching on the Internet was not adequate since I needed to have a good detailed look at each instrument. Fortunately, the California Youth Chinese Symphony was kind enough to allow me to take photos during one of their practice sessions. I was able to get a firsthand look at how the musical instruments were played, what they sounded like, and what they looked like in real life. All those elements eventually shaped the final artwork.
In case you haven’t heard, we acquired SHEN’S BOOKS last winter, and we couldn’t be more excited! Shen’s Books published great children’s books emphasizing cultural diversity and tolerance, with a focus on introducing children to the cultures of Asia.
This month, we released the first title under our new Shen’s Books imprint: Summoning the Phoenix: Poems and Prose About Chinese Musical Instruments, and it’s been an amazing journey so far! The title received a starred review from Kirkus Reviews, and author Emily Jiang and illustrator April Chu have been very busy with book events!