Adeola curates star-studded anthology celebrating Black joy for Two Hoots

Adeola curates star-studded anthology celebrating Black joy for Two Hoots

Two Hoots has signed a star-studded illustrated anthology “celebrating Black joy in a kaleidoscope of different ways”, curated by illustrator Dapo Adeola with a foreword from Patrice Lawrence.

Aimed at readers aged 11 and over, the collection of new stories, poems and essays is called Joyful Joyful and features 40 contributors including authors Malorie Blackman, Dorothy Koomson, Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé, Koleka Putuma, Jeffrey Boakye, Trish Cooke and Alex Wheatle. The illustrator line-up includes Ken Wilson Max, Denzell Dankwah, Dorcas Magbadelo, Kofi Ofosu, Rahana Dariah and Jess Nash.

Two Hoots said: “A young girl who wants to be a boxer like her hero, Muhammed Ali; an ode to South African children's games; a message from a future world beyond race; and memories of making Jollof rice for the first time, along with a simple recipe, will all feature within the book.”

World rights were acquired by senior editor Helen Weir from Sallyanne Sweeney at MMB Creative. Rights for individual stories and illustrations were bought from individual agents, authors and artists.

Adeola said: “When I entered the UK children’s publishing world in 2018 one of the first things I noticed was the scarcity of Black authors and illustrators within it. Not only were there very few authors, but there were only two Black British illustrators on the scene, with myself being counted as one of them even though I was unpublished at the time.

“I immediately set about trying to find more talent which resulted in the pitching of this anthology back in 2019. I wanted to create an opportunity for the many joyful and different voices and stories within the Black diaspora to be told and heard by members of the same diaspora. As I grew, so too did the concept, to the point where it’s now become this beautiful, colourful and multi-layered book of discovery and wonder that gives an insight into how varied our storytelling talents are within the global Black diaspora. To say I’m proud of what we’ve put together here would be an understatement.”

Weir added: “We are publishing this stunning collection with the intention of showcasing many of the astonishingly talented Black artists and writers working today in the UK and across the world, in this richly illustrated treasure of a book.

“I first met Dapo back in 2018 when he joined the Macmillan Children’s Books list to illustrate My Dad Is a Grizzly Bear (written by Swapna Haddow) and we went on to collaborate on an event for aspiring Black British illustrators, so it’s a real pleasure to now be able to bring Dapo’s vision to the Two Hoots list with this unique, ambitious anthology, and to get the opportunity to work with such a wealth of incredible artists and writers is a huge privilege.”

Belinda Ioni Rasmussen, m.d. at Macmillan Children's Books, commented: “We are really proud to be working with Dapo Adeola on this new anthology where he brings together such a wide range of brilliant new and established voices in one book, alongside engaging and impactful illustrations. This is the perfect book for children and young readers to dip into and enjoy over and over again, and an essential for every home and school library.”

Joyful Joyful will be published in hardback in autumn 2022.