It's been almost a month since we announced that Penny Candy Books is up and running. We have two books in the hands of our talented designer Shanna Compton, who also owns and runs the independent poetry press Bloof Books. We've been posting sneak peeks of The Not in Here Story by Tracey Zeeck, illus. by David Bizzaro, and A Gift from Greensboro by Quraysh Ali Lansana, illus. by Skip Hill, but we can't resist two more, so here they are:
The Hunt is ready to go to the printer! Unbelievable. So what are we doing with our days? Well, for starters, we are reading amazing submissions and proposals for our next round of books, slated for spring 2017. Send us something via our Submittable page! We're getting Advance Readers ready to send out to reviewers. We're writing press releases and sell sheets and devising PR campaigns. And, we're doing our taxes...apparently, that's part of being in business too.
Second, we are, as always, thinking a great deal about our mission, and the assumptions of privilege that might hinder our mission if we're not careful. I'd like to share a personal story with you. Several months ago, a student in the after school writing program in which I teach wrote this:
"I refuse to be a caged bird tricked into thinking I'm flying free because you took me out of a cage and put me into a habitat of your creation."
My creation. Chad and I have talked a great deal about these words from this young, black man and how, as two white people creating a publishing house whose mission it is to celebrate diversity and disrupt dominant narratives, we need help. Sometimes we simply won't see past our perspectives without consulting people who have different perspectives. We need to make certain that our choices are not being guided solely by the narrow assumptions of privilege, that we never try to create habitats for anyone, rather that we give space and voice to already existing worlds. To that end, Penny Candy Books is developing an advisory council--a diverse group of people to whom we can turn for wise council, who have agreed to help us check our assumptions. We'll be announcing the members of our council in the coming months.
We hope that our Advisory Council will help us shape our growing catalog into something wide-ranging and lasting--a catalog that sees the world from many different perspectives. That student and I made an agreement too. He explains to me where he wants to take a piece of a writing, and rather than imagining for him where it might go, I help him get to his chosen destination.
Finally, please remember that you can pre-order The Hunt now, and if you do, you get free shipping! This is such a powerful book about how art and creation can overcome the impulse to destruction so prevalent in our culture. It's also a badass feminist manifesto, as The Hunt's heroine, a young girl, beats some serious odds. We like people who beat long odds.