At Lantana, we say that our books open up the world for young readers. Our stories offer windows onto other cultures and mirror back our common humanity. But what you might not know is how each book is the product of an intercultural and global collaboration, and this opens up our world, too. Join us on a quick trip around the world as we take you behind the scenes of the production of our upcoming title, Kaya’s Heart Song!
First stop, London!
British summer weather is famously fickle, but editor Alice Curry remains steadfast as she steers the production of Kaya’s Heart Song from manuscript to book. Written by first-time author Diwa Tharan Sanders and set in the jungles of Malaysia, this joyous story about mindfulness and listening to your heart made our hearts sing. We believe that pairing an author with an illustrator from another culture enhances the global qualities of the story, while the author’s voice keeps the experience authentic. Alice approached Argentinian illustrator Nerina Canzi, whose stunning work on The Ammuchi Puchi put her at the top of the list. Who better than Nerina to bring Kaya’s magical journey in the vibrant Malaysian jungles to life?
To Argentina for some winter lemons
While Alice enjoys (sometimes) sunny weather, Nerina gathers winter lemons from the tree in her garden. Alice, Diwa and Nerina coordinate via email (in Spanish and English!), sharing photos and Pinterest boards until they come up with a look that inspires them. Nerina works her magic while keeping cosy in her artist’s studio.
Then, to a beach island in Sri Lanka
“Sunny blue skies and a steady ocean breeze fill me with lots of energy to write,” Malaysian-born author Diwa says. Under the warm tropical sunshine, Diwa reads some notes from Alice and polishes her manuscript. “I love writing outdoors and being close to nature. Because I’m relaxed, the words flow easily.”
And finally, to snowy New Zealand
Katrina Gutierrez, our communications and project manager, coordinates publicity and events with Alice and the London team all the way from New Zealand. With Alice and Katrina at opposite ends of the earth working with a list of authors and illustrators from around the globe, Lantana is truly a publishing house with diversity at its heart.
Kaya’s Heart Song will be out in the Spring and is available for pre-order here. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram for up to date news about this and our other books!
The Lantana Team
The week is drawing to a close, but we are still on a birthday high! We thought it would be great to round off our celebrations by sharing 3 of our best accomplishments.
1. Our 10 inclusive and diverse books!
We are thrilled to have created 10 visually stunning, high-quality books that children from all over the world enjoy. What’s more, we are proud that all of our books are products of intercultural collaborations. To date, our small team, authors and illustrators come from almost 20 countries. This creative cultural exchange, wherein we tell the same story from different cultural perspectives, continues to energise and motivate us.
Around the world with Lantana’s books
We are especially proud of the success of A Wisp of Wisdom: Animal Tales from Cameroon, a charity fundraiser and preservation project that sought to give children in Korup, Cameroon 2000 books. Together with Tom Moorhouse and 10 fabulous authors (including Abi Elphinstone, Piers Torday and Gill Lewis), illustrator Emmie van Biervliet and the conservation charity WildCru (Oxford University), we created a special collection of tales. The project raised more than £13,000 for the Korup children.
2. Awards and accolades!
Last year Chicken in the Kitchen won Best Book at the Children’s Africana Book Awards and was made a White Ravens Honour Book. The book’s illustrator Mehrdokht Amini earned a Kate Greenaway Medal 2017 nomination for her stunning work. She is also 1 of only 17 UK entrants in the Biennial of Illustration Bratislava Awards – one of the most important awards in book illustration. Amongst our awards and accolades are:
Mehrdokht Amini (illustrator), Alice Curry and Nnedi Okorafor (author) in Washington DC for the Children’s Africana Book Awards
We are also amazed to have been 1 of 5 publishers – and the only one from the UK – shortlisted for Best Children’s Publisher of the Year (Europe Category) at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair 2017. Finally, our founder and director Alice Curry received recognition this year for her amazing leadership and clear vision. She was shortlisted for the Young Stationers’ Prize and won the Kim Scott Walwyn Prize, which celebrates women of promise in publishing.
3. Hello, USA and Canada!
Chicken in the Kitchen, The Tigon and the Liger, Sleep Well, Siba and Saba and The Wooden Camel have had a wonderful welcome in the USA, already receiving starred reviews from Kirkus Reviews and high praise from Publisher’s Weekly, the SLJ and book bloggers like HereWeeRead. We are very excited that more children in the USA and Canada will have a chance to read our books. Our books are distributed by Lerner Publishing Services.
Hardcover US editions!
And there you have it, our magic number 3.
We couldn’t have done it without you. THANK YOU for cheering us on these past 3 years. We look forward to many more years of championing inclusion and representation in children’s books.
Because all children deserve to see themselves in the books they read.
Watch this space and our social media channels for news on our exciting new books, special offers and discounts!
The Lantana Team