September 2023

September 5, 2023

 Good News–from East to West 
and everywhere in between!

Image by Rowan Ortins


Happy Book Birthday(s)


 by April Showers

Illustrated by Anthony Conley


April Showers is the founder and CEO of Afro Unicorn ®, an inclusive brand designed to remind children and women of color how unique, divine and magical they truly are. Multiple business owner and single mother of two, April started a movement of like-minded Black Unicorns through apparel and accessories in May 2019. In May 2022, she launched in Walmart as the first Black woman & first Black licensed brand in Party Supplies for a major retailer.

Six original books in total for children of color in this new line of Afro Unicorn™ books, will be released in varied formats in 2023 and 2024 under the Random House Books for Young Readers imprint.

As featured in:

Licensing Hotline
Random House Enters the World of Afro Unicorn
“The brand’s support of people of color extends beyond the fans. ‘”April and the brand are philanthropically minded,” (Sara) Sargent said. “Part of her mission and business philosophy is to empower and uplift people in her community, including creators of color and female entrepreneurs.”’

Afro Unicorn (

As featured in:

“We have the Afro Unicorn stuffed animals, sunglasses, rolling luggage, and wrapping paper, and the only reason we don’t have the t-shirts is because they sold out.  We love the Afro Unicorn brand … and their afro-textured hair.” 
Uplifting Children’s Books About Black Hair | Brightly

Unicorn best friends Magical, Unique, and Divine embrace just how special they are—and just how special you are—in this picture book adventure. Celebrate your inner unicorn with the first Little Golden Book in the Afro Unicorn line!


Which spectacular unicorn are you?

Each Afro Unicorn has superpowers: Unique is the problem solver with the power to heal and protect; Divine cheerleads and uplifts others, possessing super strength; and Magical is the all-knowing one with the power to read minds.

Activities_Afro-Unicorn.pdf (

As seen on 
CBS Mornings

Coming next month:


Happy Book Birthday

#1 NYT-bestselling creators
Kimberly and James Dean

(Harper Collins)

A cool cat spin on a
holiday classic…

A NYT bestseller 
(in the original edition) and one of Whoopi Goldberg’s favorite things for holiday gifting! 

This special edition includes a foil cover, 12 holiday cards—one for every groovy day of Christmas!–and a rockin’ sticker sheet.

Pete the Cat’s 12 Groovy Days of Christmas | Sing-along – YouTube

Happy Book Birthday

(Running Press Adult)

The definitive biography and photographic record of George Hurrell, the famed photographer who shot the most iconic images of classic Hollywood legends—now featuring upgraded images and unseen photos of the biggest stars across more than six decades.
Not only the ultimate showcase of the trailblazing artist’s work but an indispensable treasury of Hollywood lore.

I think it’s fair to refer to this exquisite tome as definitive.
– Leonard Maltin

One of the Best Books About Hollywood

Mark A. Vieira is a filmmaker, photographer, and writer who specializes in Hollywood history. GEORGE HURRELL’S HOLLYWOOD is his 19th book, and the 7th with Running Press.
(Thank you, Cindy Sipala!)

Happy Book Birthday(s) 

The first two releases in the brand new The Legends of Hip-Hop 
board book series…

In this accessible series perfectly crafted for babies (and adult fans), music producer, Pen Ken, and 3x-Emmy Award-nominated animation director Saxton Moore introduce mini emcees to some of hip-hop’s biggest and brightest luminaries with fun facts about each rapper organized by a teachable concept (ABCs, counting, opposites, colors).

Legends of Hip Hop Book Video


in Children’s Rap & Hip-Hop 


Ken takes readers from A to Z through [Queen Latifah’s’] rise to fame. Moore’s digitally animated illustrations take center stage, generating energy through bold color and active design elements. The queen of hip-hop will move children to dream big in this upbeat alphabet board book.

Published in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Hip-Hop

Featured in:

Black Music Month: 25 Picture Books by Black Authors

The newest picture books that spotlight inclusive stories and diverse creators.

Stories That Reflect Every Reader

Stay tuned for 2 more
board books to come!



Happy Book Birthday

by Sarah Lynn Scheerger

(Carolrhoda Lab/Lerner)

Foreign license: Buzz Editora (Portuguese)

Though this is a fictional story, the idea was sparked by Sarah’s own lived experience after she learned that she had the BRCA gene mutation.

A young woman who has lost her mother to breast cancer, and whose family has a history of testing positive for the BRCA gene mutation, struggles with questions of what it really means to live one’s life on the edge.

“An engaging tale of vulnerability and control.”

“[HOW TO LIVE ON THE EDGE] has a strong character arc and can be used as a starting point to talk to teenagers about life choices, identity, and the inescapable reality of life-ending diseases.” 

Discussion and Extension Activities

Editorial Director Amy Fitzgerald shares her thoughts on anxiety and control in a chaotic present …
“The world is chaos” is the new ‘How ‘bout this weather?’ but Sarah’s [HOW TO LIVE ON THE EDGE] explores that reality from a fresh and thoughtful angle.”

Sarah Lynn Scheerger – author of books for young readers and teens, including OPERATION FROG EFFECT (MG), and MITZVAH PIZZA (PB) – works as a clinical social worker with at-risk youth, helping them figure out who they are and who they want to be. She’s constantly inspired by the wisdom of teens in tough situations who not only survive, but thrive.


Happy Book Birthday

by award-winning author
Ana Crespo

Illustrated by Giovana Medeiros


published simultaneously
as a Spanish h/c and p/b bilingual edition


Sorting and geometry come into play when Brazilian twins Lia and Luís receive a puzzle from their grandmother, which they must put together to read a hidden message.

Introducing Lia & Luís: Puzzled!


The companion book to
winner of the 2021 Mathical Book Prize for pre-K.


Also available in English and Spanish/English bilingual editions.

Coming in 2024

by Ana Crespo

and André Ceolin

(Neal Porter Books/Holiday House)

Introducing Saudade

Happy Book Birthday

Book #1 in a
new early reader series

illustrated by Shiho Pate

Shiho Pate’s Illustrator Highlight

written by bestselling author
Tommy Greenwald
and debut author Charlie Greenwald

Tommy Greenwald and
Shiho Pate @ TLA

Two misfit shelter dogs await adoption in this story about friendship, family, and home.

“Charming … Readers will root for Moose, who has one eye, and Bear, who has three legs, from the first page … Pate’s soft illustrations capture the heart of the story and are a perfect match to Greenwald’s sweet text… Budding readers will devour this series opener and be eager for more. A highly recommended new addition to the beginning chapter book section.”

“Warm and snuggly.”

A gentle and sweet start to a new chapter book series … (with) adorable, soft-toned illustrations (that) show emotions and playful action equally well.  Readers will love the instant connection between the two dogs, especially the funny conversation they have about how neither of them resemble their animal name.”
—Youth Services Book Review

“Shiho was the perfect choice to illustrate these stories—her funny, poignant and heartbreakingly sweet drawings make you fall in love with these characters. She also weaves in countless little details into the images, so when you’re reading the book, keep an eye out!”
—Charlie Greenwald

Stay tuned for Book #2

Tommy, Charlie & Shiho – ALA

Here’s to “finding (our) home” with publisher Angus Yuen-Killick…

and creative director
Mike Yuen-Killick!

Scroll down to bottom…


Happy Book Birthday 

by Darshana Khiani

Illustrated by
Award-winning Dow Phumiruk

(Eerdmans Books
for Young Readers)

“Phumiruk creates dreamy scenes with soft hues of color… a stirring story of perseverance.

When your village floats on stilts in a bay, it’s hard to find a place to play soccer. Hard, but not impossible, as this inspiring story of the boys who worked hard to create their own floating soccer field can attest!

Best New Books in September 2023 for Kids and Teachers

“Told in quick-moving prose that evokes movement and sound, this story is coupled with crisp illustrations that match the spirit and the straightforward action of the text.  The boys of Koh Panyee … invite the readers to think about what lengths people can go to make their dreams come true.”

From the author, Darshana Khiani:
I love Dow’s dreamy soft-colored illustrations. My favorite spread is the one which gives a birds-eye view of the village: a storefront selling clothing, a fisherman paddling in with his day’s catch, and the boys rushing over to watch the game at Uncle Hemmin’s cafe.

Writing and Illustrating (

Here’s a shout out to Kathleen Merz – it’s been a delight to work with you!

at ALA

Happy Book Birthday

 A spine-chilling MG novel
by NYT-bestselling,

Stacia Deutsch

(Arcadia Children’s Books)



(week of 9/16)


in Children’s Mammal Books

(board book: 9/25)


September Illustrator Highlight


click here




September Fall-into-a-BOOK NEWS and REVIEWS


Celebrating Hispanic Heritage…

with award-winning Alexandra Alessandri


…with Pura Belpré winner Ernesto Cisneros and Quill Tree Books/HC…

…with Paralympic athlete Patty Cisneros Prevo and Lee & Low.


Celebrating Z. B. Asterplume

Your light is shining – it’s an “honor,” indeed!


…and East West was in the house!


Celebrating Rosh Hashanah…

with Megan Hoyt and TZIMMES FOR TZIPPORAH (Apples and Honey Press)

…an Association of Jewish Libraries’ pick for the best Jewish holiday children’s book of Fall 2023

Stay tuned for Megan’s newest PB biography coming out next month:


“A suspenseful account of the vaccine’s human trials …
an inspiring profile of a scientist making history.”


Celebrating World Rhino Day…

with Gianna Marino and Philomel Books


Stay tuned for the board book upcoming next year!


Celebrating National Dog Day…

with Shiho Pate and Red Comet Press

Speaking of dogs … Shiho to the rescue!
Meet Olive, who has now found her forever home with Shiho and her family…



Celebrating World Rivers Day…

with Sibert Honoree Patricia Newman and Carol Hinz of Lerner



Celebrating Books UNBANNED…

with Sarah & Ian Hoffman and Albert Whitman…

and Magination Press


New PB in the “Jacob” series coming soon from Imagination Press – announcement to come!


Here’s to spooky season…

with Karen Kilpatrick & German Blanco and Henry Holt


For fans of The Book with No Pictures and The Monster at the End of This Book, this funny and interactive picture book showcases a word-eating monster and the (adorable) surprise behind this frightful creature—a hilarious fourth-wall breaking PB from the award-winning author and illustrator duo of the 
WHEN PENCIL MET ERASER trilogy of picture books.



Here’s to celebrating Christmas in September…

with Erin Dealey and Sleeping Bear Press!

Dealey’s … holiday parade of boats will delight young nautical fans as they count one to 10 in rhyme, and Stark’s watercolor-style illustrations seem to shimmer and shine like strings of Christmas lights …
A harbor full of happy holidays.



In Brief: (


Stay tuned for the newest board book in the “Learning with Llama” series next month:


Ravenous for RAMEN…

with Shiho Pate



Making magic…

with Afro Unicorn founder, April Shower



Celebrating “girl power”…

with Megan E. Freeman and Nicole M. Hewitt

In further reference to Nicole M. Hewitt (as above),
stay tuned for her debut MG…




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