Monday, May 23, 2016

Waiting, Waiting

As Danielle Carnito pointed out just a couple weeks ago, we frequently find ourselves simultaneously working on books will release in different seasons. I recently returned from showing off our new Fall 2016 titles at BEA, and this afternoon I'll be presenting Millbrook's Spring 2017 books as part of our spring launch.

As exciting as the not-yet-launched and (in most cases) not-yet-finished books are, I thought I would highlight a book that will be available within the next few months.



Coming in September is Like a Bird: The Art of the American Slave Song. This book is a fascinating collaboration that began with illustrator Michele Wood, who decided to create paintings inspired by a number of spirituals. The final book features thirteen songs. Accompanying the stunning illustrations is a musical excerpt for each song and text by Cynthia Grady. For most picture books, the starting point is the author's text. But in this case, the text was the final element! Cynthia's text serves as a metaphorical bridge between the art and the music, providing historical context and highlighting key details.

Click to view image much larger--I promise you won't regret it!


If you're thinking this must have been a challenging book to put together, you'd be correct! The music was all rendered by an engraver. (I love that despite the fact it's done digitally, it's still called engraving.) Since no one involved in the project is a musician, we went searching for a consultant to review the music in the book. We were lucky enough to end up finding two consultants, and they commented on both the music and on the historical content of the book. In the end, all of these elements came together beautifully, and I can't wait to see this book take flight. For further inspiration, check out the links to sound recordings from the Library of Congress here.

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