Rhiannon Giddens to Publish Children's Books with Candlewick Press

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Rhiannon Giddens has announced the first two of four planned picture books she will publish with Candlewick Press and the Walker Books Group. Representing her publishing debut and showcasing the illustrative talents of emerging Black artists Monica Mikai and Briana Mukodiri Uchendu, the new picture books—Build a House (2022) and We Could Fly (2023)—will extend her artistic project to young readers and their families. "I'm so excited to get to explore a different way to tell the stories I’ve been trying to highlight with my songs and my music," Giddens says. 

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Rhiannon Giddens has announced the first two of four planned picture books she will publish with Candlewick Press and the Walker Books Group. Representing Giddens’s publishing debut and showcasing the illustrative talents of emerging Black artists Monica Mikai and Briana Mukodiri Uchendu, the new picture books—Build a House and We Could Fly—will extend Giddens’s artistic project to young readers and their families. You can sign up to receive e-mails about the projects here.

Giddens says: "I'm so excited to get to explore a different way to tell the stories I’ve been trying to highlight with my songs and my music. Candlewick has already shown that they are a perfect publishing partner, with a strong vision and incredible artistic support. I look forward to seeing our partnership develop and grow as they help me be the best children’s book author I can be!"

Karen Lotz, president and publisher of Candlewick Press and managing director of the Walker Books Group, said: “As in her music, with these two first books Rhiannon gives voice to Black Americans against the landscape of history and with resonance for the present day, centering on girls and women whose stories were never publicly valued during their own time. This history needs to be known, understood, learned from, and made sacred. But children, like adults, need beauty, too. In Rhiannon’s poetry, there is courage, hope, and joy, empowering readers to live their lives with pleasure and affirmation. We at Candlewick Press and Walker Books are honored to be part of these books’ journey into the hands of young readers."

Scheduled for publication in the fall of 2022, Build a House is based on the song of that title, which Giddens wrote in 2020 for the 155th anniversary of Juneteenth and originally performed with Yo-Yo Ma. The picture book, to be illustrated by Monica Mikai, illuminates for young readers the song’s message of Black courage and perseverance in the face of enslavement, violence, and appropriation.

The second scheduled book, We Could Fly, is slated for publication in fall 2023 and is based on Giddens’s song “We Could Fly,” written with Dirk Powell (from her 2017 Nonesuch album, Freedom Highway), a powerful and affecting dialogue between mother and daughter drawing on African folklore and celebrating resilience and love. It will be illustrated by Briana Mukodiri Uchendu. Two more titles will follow.

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Rhiannon Giddens 2021 by Ebru Yildiz gld
  • Thursday, June 24, 2021
    Rhiannon Giddens to Publish Children's Books with Candlewick Press
    Ebru Yildiz

    Rhiannon Giddens has announced the first two of four planned picture books she will publish with Candlewick Press and the Walker Books Group. Representing Giddens’s publishing debut and showcasing the illustrative talents of emerging Black artists Monica Mikai and Briana Mukodiri Uchendu, the new picture books—Build a House and We Could Fly—will extend Giddens’s artistic project to young readers and their families. You can sign up to receive e-mails about the projects here.

    Giddens says: "I'm so excited to get to explore a different way to tell the stories I’ve been trying to highlight with my songs and my music. Candlewick has already shown that they are a perfect publishing partner, with a strong vision and incredible artistic support. I look forward to seeing our partnership develop and grow as they help me be the best children’s book author I can be!"

    Karen Lotz, president and publisher of Candlewick Press and managing director of the Walker Books Group, said: “As in her music, with these two first books Rhiannon gives voice to Black Americans against the landscape of history and with resonance for the present day, centering on girls and women whose stories were never publicly valued during their own time. This history needs to be known, understood, learned from, and made sacred. But children, like adults, need beauty, too. In Rhiannon’s poetry, there is courage, hope, and joy, empowering readers to live their lives with pleasure and affirmation. We at Candlewick Press and Walker Books are honored to be part of these books’ journey into the hands of young readers."

    Scheduled for publication in the fall of 2022, Build a House is based on the song of that title, which Giddens wrote in 2020 for the 155th anniversary of Juneteenth and originally performed with Yo-Yo Ma. The picture book, to be illustrated by Monica Mikai, illuminates for young readers the song’s message of Black courage and perseverance in the face of enslavement, violence, and appropriation.

    The second scheduled book, We Could Fly, is slated for publication in fall 2023 and is based on Giddens’s song “We Could Fly,” written with Dirk Powell (from her 2017 Nonesuch album, Freedom Highway), a powerful and affecting dialogue between mother and daughter drawing on African folklore and celebrating resilience and love. It will be illustrated by Briana Mukodiri Uchendu. Two more titles will follow.

    Journal Articles:Artist News

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