Tag Archives: new releases

Illustrator April Chu Takes Us Behind the Art of Summoning the Phoenix

April ChuReleased 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:

Illustration Process

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.

Continue reading

Upcoming Releases from SHEN’S BOOKS

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 Reviewsand author Emily Jiang and illustrator April Chu have been very busy with book events!

Continue reading

Scary New Releases: KILLER OF ENEMIES and THE MONSTER IN THE MUDBALL!

Just in time for Halloween, we’re excited to announce the release of two new novels from our science fiction and fantasy imprint, Tu BooksKiller of Enemies, a post-apocalyptic retelling of an Apache monster slayer legend by award-winning Native American author Joseph Bruchac, and The Monster in the Mudball, a hilarious supernatural mystery set in England.

Killer of Enemies coverIn Killer of Enemies, seventeen-year-old Apache hunter Lozen hunts monsters to ensure the protection of her family from the Ones, maniacal warlords who rule in a post-apocalyptic Southwest. Fate has given Lozen a unique set of survival skills and magical abilities. Soon she realizes that with every monster she takes down, Lozen’s powers grow, and she connects those powers to an ancient legend of her people. It soon becomes clear to Lozen that she is not just a hired gun. As the legendary Killer of Enemies was in the ancient days of the Apache people, Lozen is meant to be a more than a hunter. Lozen is meant to be a hero.

Continue reading

Cover Design 101: Killer of Enemies

Stacy Whitman photo We’re thrilled about the upcoming release of our new YA fantasy Killer of Enemies! In this post, Tu Books Editorial Director Stacy Whitman guest blogger icondiscusses how she and designer Isaac Stewart came up with the final cover concept:

I’m so excited to finally reveal the cover of Joseph Bruchac’s latest speculative fiction book for teens, Killer of Enemies, which comes out in September. The book is post-apocalyptic Apache steampunk (well, steampunk-adjacent), about a monster-hunting teen who has some pretty awesome powers. It’s an action-packed read about which people are saying things like:

Killer of Enemies is a wild teen adventure-fantasy that starts fast, gets faster, and never touches the brakes. A mind-bending fantasy that smashes across genre lines to tell a story about survival, courage, and lots of monsters. Joseph Bruchac brings serious game. Highly recommended!”—Jonathan Maberry, New York Times bestselling author of Fire & Ash and Extinction Machine

For the Killer of Enemies cover, I wanted to be sure we saw how awesome (and kind of terrifying) Lozen’s world was, and I wanted to be able to see her face. We needed a model who looked Native American (and as Apache as possible—though Lozen’s ancestry is a little mixed), and we wanted an action shot. Finding a stock photo that did everything we needed it to would be like finding a needle in a haystack.

Instead, I reached out to a friend of mine, Joleen Begay. Joleen is Navajo, and she has family and friends in the Native communities of Arizona and Utah. Since my designer, Isaac Stewart, was located in Utah as well, I wondered if she knew anyone who might have a teen daughter who fit the description of Lozen. Perhaps we’d be able to do a photo shoot.

Continue reading