New Year, New Books with a New Illustrator: Jamilla Okubo!

I love it when the universe delivers.
I mean I adore it when the universe comes thruuuuuuu with exactly what you would have wanted
to happen.
It's been happening more and more to me recently and I'm grateful.

My goal for The English Schoolhouse publishing for this year is to publish ten gorgeous new titles. It's a large goal for a boutique publishing house, but I know we can do it and I'm so excited about releasing visually dazzling, relevant, luxury children's literature nearly every month in 2018.

To date I've worked with three illustrators mainly--Howell Edwards Creative, Federico Fabiani & Elena Tommasi Ferroni. In September I met a new friend and brilliant artist, Maya N'Diaye and we'll soon have a book out entitled The King and the Flute. But this illustrator right here...the newest addition to The English Schoolhouse family, I've adored her art for quite some time.

I think I first became aware of Jamilla Okubo's work through the platform for all things Black, cultured and dope AFROPUNK. They featured her work back in 2014. I may or may not have seen it until 2015, but once I did I was smitten. I followed her Facebook page immediately, and later found and followed her on IG. Recently she updated her website, which I invite urge you to check out.

Wisdom lies in sharing what you know.

As a writer and a self-published author (who has recently inked a three book deal with a major publishing house *sips wine* FSG/MacMillan), I often get asked how I find such incredible illustrators. Here's my answer:
1. Follow the work you're really interested in.
2. Share it. Not because you're interested in something coming back to you but because you genuinely want to spread the news about art that moves you.
3. When you're ready, really ready, say something. Approach the artist and shoot 'em straight. Say what it is that's currently residing in your heart that you need their help to make a reality.

Every.single.time I've done this the answer has been yes.

And that's how Jamilla joined the schoolhouse family. And I'm so honored that even though she's clearly on a creative roll incline, and has been tapped by the likes of Dior for her vision and gifts, and has had said work featured all up in The New York Times, she's agreed to make our upcoming book her first project of 2018.

Here are some of my favorite pieces from Jamilla.
I can't wait for her to help the words I've curated come alive through her art.

In the spring we will be releasing a best-selling book for kids:
Jewels from the Ancestors: A Book of African Proverbs.

As you can see, her art is perfect for this project.

I could go on and on but I'll end with Jamilla's lovely pic accompanied by couple of appropriate hashtags.

#blackgirlmagic #blackexcellence

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