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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Dual Cover Reveals from Denene Millner Books, the Imprint That Brought You Crown . . .

We are upping the game. Not content to have a single cover reveal, I am cranking this blog up to 11 and presenting TWO cover reveals in a single post. Why the change?  Because today is momentous.  But stop a moment. Take a breath. Let’s give it the proper lead up.

In the year 2017 a book was published from the Denene Millner Books imprint of Agate Publishing that took the world by storm. Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut, penned by Derrick D. Barnes, illustrated by Gordon C. James, wasn’t like any other book out there. And before you could blink an eye it had won an Ezra Jack Keats Award, numerous Coretta Scott King Awards and Honors, a Newbery Honor, and a Caldecott Honor (leading me to write a post about a problem we’d all love to have, Where Do I Fit All My Medals?). As the awards started pouring in, everyone was wondering the same thing: What did Denene Millner have up her sleeve next?

In terms of 2018, just a board book. What Is Light? by Markette Sheppard was released earlier this year and meanwhile Ms. Millner has been writing New York Times articles and being interviewed by Horn Book Magazine.  So what will 2019 look like for her?

Today, we have our answer. Two books slated for release in 2019. And we’re doing their cover reveals today.

First up, coming to you in June of 2019:


Thick luscious paints and a boy who dreams up space adventures on a rainy day. Here’s the description that I was sent:

“[The boy] uses everyday household items to make a rocket to launch into outer space. Ultimately, he lands on a new planet called X-Y-Z, also known as his B-E-D, in a far off galaxy called the land of Zzzzs. Similarly to Crown, this book features and celebrates black boy joy, encouraging boys to dream and use their imaginations.”

Written by Markette Sheppard and illustrated by Charly Palmer this book reminded me of that classic picture book about a black child in space Blast Off by Linda C. Cain and Susan Rosenbaum, ill. Leo and Diane Dillon (circa 1973 and included in my post on Out-of-Print African American Picture Book Classics). It would also pair well with Brian Pinkney’s Cosmo and the Robot (praised here). That said, Sheppard and Palmer’s book has a distinctly irresistible look that doesn’t resemble any other space adventure out there.

But wait! There’s more! Also on the roster, but for May of 2019:


Don’t be surprised if the name Alice Faye Duncan sounds familiar. Aside from penning this year’s well-lauded Memphis, Martin, and the Mountaintop, I had the pleasure of debuting her upcoming picture book biography A Song for Gwendolyn Brooks not too long ago.

With this book, Ms. Duncan touches on something we see mentioned far too rarely in our picture books today. As the description reads it . . . :

“… celebrates the love and the bond shared between children who live with their grandparents, foster parents, and a host of other caring guardians who offer them kindness and care when their parents cannot. The narrative follows Carol Olivia Clementine, who lives with her grandmother Mama Rose. Carol misses her parents, but learns to surrender to the love that is present and concludes that she loves Mama Rose ‘just like a mama’.”

You may have noticed that the illustrator is Charnelle Pinkney Barlow. Any relation to the famous Pinkney clan of Jerry, Andrea, and Brian? Hard to say, though I do know that Brian once dedicated the book Seven Candles for Kwanzaa to his nieces, nephew, and goddaughter and that one of the nieces was named “Charnelle”. In any case, be sure to check out her Instagram page as well as her website, if you have a chance. Though she’s done a lot of work with fabrics and designs in the past, this marks her picture book debut.

Many thanks to the good folks at Agate for the reveals. Looking forward to getting my hands on these in the near future.

About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.


  1. Charly Palmer’s Instagram feed is, hands down, the best thing about the internet. Regular access to his incredible paintings.

  2. This is sooooo exciting!! What an incredible story to share with children. It’s all too true that sometimes children don’t live with there parents, but rather grandparents, aunts, and uncles or foster care. It is so very difficult, but it happens. Denene Millner has this beautiful way of crafting stories for children and I am looking forward to reading these two books. And the Pinkney legacy still marchers on and I am excited to hear that Jerry’s granddaughter is following in his footstep! Happy sighs of joy and contentment!