Rhiannon Giddens Reveals Debut Picture Book Cover for 'Build a House'

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Submitted by nonesuch on Tue, 02/01/2022 - 08:00
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Rhiannon Giddens has revealed the cover for her debut picture book, Build a House, ahead of its October 11 publication on Candlewick Press; you can pre-order the book now. "I released this song on Juneteenth in 2020 with the great Yo-Yo Ma," Giddens says. "We made a socially distanced recording (very—there was an ocean between us!) and put it out on socials and that was that. A few days later, someone said the lyrics would make for a great children’s book. Fast forward two years and that children’s book is almost here! It has been an absolute honor and pleasure to work with my fantastic publisher Candlewick on this book, and a revelation to see what gifted artist Monica Mikai has done with this story." Build a House is the first of four children’s books that Giddens has planned with Candlewick Press. 

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Rhiannon Giddens has revealed the cover for her debut picture book, Build a House, ahead of its October 11, 2022, publication on Candlewick Press. You can pre-order the book at Parnassus (with signed bookplates while supplies last), Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indiebound, and Bookshop.

Written as a song to commemorate the 155th anniversary of Juneteenth, Build a House is illustrated by painter Monica Mikai, and tells the story of a people who would not be moved and the music that sustained them. Steeped in sorrow and joy, resilience and resolve, turmoil and transcendence, this dramatic debut offers a proud view of history and a vital message for readers of all ages: honor your heritage, express your truth, and let your voice soar, even—or perhaps especially—when your heart is heaviest.

"I released this song on Juneteenth in 2020 with the great Yo-Yo Ma," Giddens explains. "We made a socially distanced recording (very—there was an ocean between us!) and put it out on socials and that was that. A few days later, someone said the lyrics would make for a great children’s book. Fast forward two years and that children’s book is almost here! It has been an absolute honor and pleasure to work with my fantastic publisher Candlewick on this book, and a revelation to see what gifted artist Monica Mikai has done with this story."

Build a House is the first of four children’s books that Giddens has planned with Candlewick Press. The second scheduled book, We Could Fly, is slated for publication in fall 2023 and is based on “We Could Fly,” written with Dirk Powell, 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.

This announcement follows Giddens' recent professional opera debut as Bess opera debut as Bess in the Greensboro Opera’s production of Porgy and Bess, and the news of her two Grammy Award nominations with her partner Francesco Turrisi: Best Folk Album for her 2021 Nonesuch album They’re Calling Me Home and Best American Roots Song for the album track "Avalon." Giddens is now an eight-time nominee and won in 2010 for Best Traditional Folk Album for Genuine Negro Jig with Carolina Chocolate Drops. They’re Calling Me Home has been widely celebrated by the New York Times, NPR Music, NPR, Rolling Stone, People, Associated Press, and far beyond, with No Depression deeming it “a near perfect album … her finest work to date.”

Giddens also recently detailed a 2022 that includes the long-awaited world premiere of her opera, Omar, at the upcomign Spoleto Festival, and the very first tour of the Lucy Negro Redux ballet for which she composed the score. Omar is based on the life and autobiography of enslaved Muslim American Omar Ibn Said, forcefully brought to Charleston, South Carolina, from Africa in 1807. You can read more about Omar in these pieces in the New York Times and Garden & Gun. Lucy Negro Redux is a ballet based on a book of poetry by Nashville writer Caroline Randall Williams that explores a character referred to as the "Dark Lady" in Shakespeare's sonnets.

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Rhiannon Giddens: 'Build a House' [book]
  • Tuesday, February 1, 2022
    Rhiannon Giddens Reveals Debut Picture Book Cover for 'Build a House'

    Rhiannon Giddens has revealed the cover for her debut picture book, Build a House, ahead of its October 11, 2022, publication on Candlewick Press. You can pre-order the book at Parnassus (with signed bookplates while supplies last), Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indiebound, and Bookshop.

    Written as a song to commemorate the 155th anniversary of Juneteenth, Build a House is illustrated by painter Monica Mikai, and tells the story of a people who would not be moved and the music that sustained them. Steeped in sorrow and joy, resilience and resolve, turmoil and transcendence, this dramatic debut offers a proud view of history and a vital message for readers of all ages: honor your heritage, express your truth, and let your voice soar, even—or perhaps especially—when your heart is heaviest.

    "I released this song on Juneteenth in 2020 with the great Yo-Yo Ma," Giddens explains. "We made a socially distanced recording (very—there was an ocean between us!) and put it out on socials and that was that. A few days later, someone said the lyrics would make for a great children’s book. Fast forward two years and that children’s book is almost here! It has been an absolute honor and pleasure to work with my fantastic publisher Candlewick on this book, and a revelation to see what gifted artist Monica Mikai has done with this story."

    Build a House is the first of four children’s books that Giddens has planned with Candlewick Press. The second scheduled book, We Could Fly, is slated for publication in fall 2023 and is based on “We Could Fly,” written with Dirk Powell, 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.

    This announcement follows Giddens' recent professional opera debut as Bess opera debut as Bess in the Greensboro Opera’s production of Porgy and Bess, and the news of her two Grammy Award nominations with her partner Francesco Turrisi: Best Folk Album for her 2021 Nonesuch album They’re Calling Me Home and Best American Roots Song for the album track "Avalon." Giddens is now an eight-time nominee and won in 2010 for Best Traditional Folk Album for Genuine Negro Jig with Carolina Chocolate Drops. They’re Calling Me Home has been widely celebrated by the New York Times, NPR Music, NPR, Rolling Stone, People, Associated Press, and far beyond, with No Depression deeming it “a near perfect album … her finest work to date.”

    Giddens also recently detailed a 2022 that includes the long-awaited world premiere of her opera, Omar, at the upcomign Spoleto Festival, and the very first tour of the Lucy Negro Redux ballet for which she composed the score. Omar is based on the life and autobiography of enslaved Muslim American Omar Ibn Said, forcefully brought to Charleston, South Carolina, from Africa in 1807. You can read more about Omar in these pieces in the New York Times and Garden & Gun. Lucy Negro Redux is a ballet based on a book of poetry by Nashville writer Caroline Randall Williams that explores a character referred to as the "Dark Lady" in Shakespeare's sonnets.

    Journal Articles:Artist News

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