Malorie Blackman, author of the bestselling Noughts & Crosses series, and Dapo Adeola, illustrator of the Waterstones Book Prize winning picture book Look Up!, are collaborating on a picture book: We’re Going to Find the Monster.
Out with Puffin this September, the book follows a brother and sister as their imaginations transform their home into a wild wonderland, taking them on an epic adventure. PRH Children's describes it as "full of funny, relatable characters" and "a contemporary celebration of creativity, fantasy and family, with a clever twist in its tail".
Editorial director Joe Marriott acquired world rights in the text from Hilary Delamere at The Agency and the illustrations from Sallyanne Sweeney at MMB Creative. The news was shared on Tuesday (26th January) in a live webinar presenting PRH Children's highlights for the year ahead, attended by more than 300 people.
Marriott said: "It’s long been my dream to work on a picture book with legend Malorie Blackman. And to have the chance to pair her words with Dapo Adeola’s incredible artwork is frankly mind-blowing. This timeless story about how imagination can make the everyday extraordinary is destined to become a must-have for every child’s bookshelf. We’re also thrilled that this book will contribute to the growing number of picture books featuring Black characters front and centre."
Design manager Monica Whelan said: "At Puffin we knew that Dapo was a star from the moment we saw early illustrations from his Waterstones-Prize-winning debut, Look Up! Malorie Blackman’s text is such a pleasure to read aloud and Dapo is the perfect illustrator to help her characters jump from the page – Malorie and Dapo are a dream team!"
Blackman commented: "I am thrilled to be working with Dapo Adeola on our picture book, We’re Going to Find the Monster. He has brought such ideas, life and joy to my story, for which I’m truly grateful. I’ve long been a huge admirer of his work so it’s a dream come true to be working with him on our first collaboration together. I sincerely hope it won’t be our last."
On the pairing, Adeola said: "I’m gonna need someone to pinch me because I’m still low-key dreaming. I’m still very much at the beginning of my career and I get to not only work on a picture book with one of the most iconic people in the literary world, but also one of the most amazing people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. Malorie’s magic can be felt in every word written in this book, and I’m honoured that I get to help bring them to life as we introduce her words to a whole new generation of children."
Adeola also announced his own author debut picture book with Puffin, Hey You!, which will be an inspirational, lyrical and personal exploration of race. As an active advocate for Black illustrative talent, his book will contain artwork from 18 Black illustration talents, alongside Adeola's own work, to help bring the story to life. The book is scheduled for June 2021.
The final instalment of the Noughts & Crosses series, Endgame, is coming from Blackman in summer 2021, which marks the 20th anniversary of the first book in the YA series.