#5towatch in 2018: Exciting PB Authors & Illustrators

Recently, Scholastic's blog came out with a post on 5 Children's Book Authors to Watch in 2018, all picture book authors with delightful and fun books -- but also all white men.

Given the dynamic and diverse community of picture book authors and illustrators working today, I decided to share my own list of #5towatch in 2018. These are authors and illustrators I've come to know either in person or online who have impressed me with their enormous dedication and talent, and whose new works I can't wait to read:

1. Dow Phumiruk

Dow Phumiruk debuted last year as an illustrator with her beautiful book, MAYA LIN: ARTIST-ARCHITECT OF LIGHT AND LINES, by Jeanne Walker Harvey (Henry Holt & Co. 2017)

and her upcoming debut as an author is MELA AND THE ELEPHANT, illustrated by Ziyue Chen (Sleeping Bear Press, April 15, 2018). I've followed her for several years and we featured her in a Kidlit411 spotlight in January 2015

2. Andrea Loney

Andrea Loney won the Lee & Low New Voices Award in 2014. Her winning book, TAKE A PICTURE OF ME JAMES VANDERZEE! illustrated by Keith Mallett (Lee & Low Books) came out last year,

as did her funny book about being true to oneself, BUNNYBEAR, illustrated by Carmen SaldaƱa (Albert Whitman & Co. 2017). Read more about her in the Feb. 2017 Kidlit411 spotlight. We'll have to wait until 2019 for her next book, DOUBLE BASS BLUES, illustrated by Rudy Gutierrez (Knopf).

3. Daria Peoples-Riley

Daria Peoples-Riley debuts as an author-illustrator in a story of a young black girl's dreams of ballet, THIS IS IT (Greenwillow Books, Feb. 6, 2018). I had seen early spreads of story in a critique group we were in together and they were amazing. Check out her Kidlit411 May 2015 spotlight.

4. Vashti Harrison

Vashti Harrison impressed me by the work she was posting on Instagram, and now she has a buzzed-about book that came out in December, LITTLE LEADERS: BOLD WOMEN IN BLACK HISTORY (Little Brown Books for Young Readers, 2017) as well as more books in the works. Check out her Kidlit411 spotlight (June 2017).  

5. Maple Lam

Maple Lam won an SCBWI illustration mentorship for her work in 2012, and since then has seen her career take off. She wrote and illustrated the adorable books, MY LITTLE SISTER AND ME (Harper Collins 2016) and TWO GIRLS WANT A PUPPY, by Ryan (Harper Collins 2015) 

and has a couple new books coming out this year, FRENEMIES IN THE FAMILY, by Kathleen Krull (Crown Books for Young Readers, March 13, 2018) and WHAT CAN YOU DO WITH A TOOLBOX, by John Colaneri and Anthony Carrino (Simon & Schuster, Fall 2018).

I met Maple in New Orleans in 2013 at a weekend retreat with three other amazingly talented illustrators, who are also ones to watch: Jen Betton, Lisa Anchin and Brooke Boynton Hughes.

Bonus One to Watch: You Byun

And because I couldn't stop at five:  You Byun is an author-illustrator and illustrator who's entrancing illustrations captivated me with her picture book, DREAM FRIENDS (Nancy Paulsen Books, 2013) 

and LITTLE BABY BUTTERCUP, by Linda Ashman (Nancy Paulsen Books, 2015). I interviewed her on this blog in 2013. Looking forward to seeing future work from her.

There are so many others to watch in 2018. Who are some of your #5towatch?