Here’s the latest on my next picture book – the one about bees.
--It has a new name! Please welcome…ARE WE STILL FRIENDS?
Why the change? From the get-go, Tracy Mack, my wonderful editor at Scholastic, felt like Bees in the Trees didn’t fully describe what this book is about. Yes, it tells the important environmental story of the crucial bond between honey bees and apple trees. But ARE WE STILL FRIENDS? is mainly the story of Beatrice and Abel, neighbors whose long-time friendship gets tested and ultimately endures. Taken together, these two tales tell a much bigger story and about how important it is to have friends, and the work it sometimes takes to keep them. This bigger story is especially today, when people of all ages seem quicker than ever to get angry and build walls.
--It has illustrations! And a cover! And publicity material!
Blanca Gomez has done an amazing job of envisioning Beatrice (a roly-poly bear) and Abel (a slightly skittish mouse). She has given them adorable side-by-side homes, filled with the sorts of details I loved to search for in picture books – and still do! She has painted the passage of seasons in lovely, lush colors. And she has given at least one of the bees the sort of hipster hat I imagine every cool insect in her hometown of Madrid must sport. Wrap all this up in Marijka Kostiw’s lively book design, and it’s truly a feast for the eyes, crisp like an apple and sweet like honey. I can’t show you any of it just yet, so you’ll just have to take my word for it. For now. Which brings me to my last item…
--It has a publication date!
Or, a month, anyway. March 2017. Which may sound like a long time, but is really just 11 months away. Let the countdown begin!