This Is a Story by John Schu and Lauren Castillo

Publishers Weekly announced my debut picture book yesterday. I am THRILLED and EXCITED that Caldecott Honor artist Lauren Castillo will illustrate it. Thank you, Lauren! 

SOMERVILLE, MA – September 26, 2018 – John Schu, children’s book expert and librarian extraordinaire, will make his publishing debut with the forthcoming picture book This Is a Story. Candlewick Press announced today that president and publisher Karen Lotz acquired World rights in a two-book deal. Seven publishing houses participated in the auction, conducted by Schu’s agent, Molly O’Neill of Root Literary. This Is a Story will be illustrated by Caldecott honoree Lauren Castillo, who was represented by Paul Rodeen at Rodeen Literary Management; the book is set to publish globally in 2022. 

About the acquisition, Lotz said, “We are so proud to be chosen as the publisher who gets to welcome John to the author’s side of the table. His warm and inspiring story about the beauty and power of books reflects everything he has learned about capturing young imaginations while presenting to kids all around the world – he’s shared books with more than 62,000 young readers in the past year alone!” A lyrical exploration of books, humanity, and the need for connection, This Is a Story invites readers to imagine the possibilities of stories and contemplate the power of books to bring understanding — a message more relevant today than ever before. 

“Publishing a picture book with Candlewick Press that is edited by Karen Lotz and illustrated by Caldecott Honor artist Lauren Castillo is the biggest honor and pinch-me moment of my life. This is a Story contains everything I believe in about the power of stories and libraries. It is my heart in picture book form. I cannot wait to see how Lauren brings her beautiful and generous heart to this project,” Schu said. 

John Schu has built a career out of advocating for the people and things he cares about most: kids, books, and the libraries — and librarians! — that connect them. During the thirteen years he spent as a classroom teacher and school librarian, he was named a Library Journal Mover and Shaker for his dynamic interactions with students and his passionate adoption of new technologies as a means of connecting authors, illustrators, books, and readers. 

Over the past decade, he has served on numerous American Library Association committees, including the prestigious Newbery Award selection committee; inspired a new generation of librarians as a part-time lecturer at Rutgers University; shared his love of reading with countless educators and students as the Ambassador of School Libraries for Scholastic Book Fairs; been commended by Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden; and contributed greatly to the promotion and celebration of countless contemporary children’s authors, illustrators, and their books via the energetic community of educators and book lovers that he has built through social media, particularly his popular blog. Based in Chicago, he travels the country as a public speaker and book evangelist, spreading the message to tens of thousands of students and literacy professionals that libraries are the heart and soul of learning communities and that every child deserves to read books that they love. This Is a Story is a testament to his belief in the power of stories to change lives and empower kids to transform the world through their own passions. 

Lauren Castillo has illustrated many books for children, including Imagine by Juan Felipe Herrera, the illustrations for which were described as “perfect” by The New York Times Book Review, and Yard Sale by Eve Bunting. Castillo is also the author-illustrator of the Caldecott Honor-winning book Nana in the City. She lives in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. 

About the project, Castillo said, “I could not be more honored to illustrate John’s first picture book. Not only is it incredibly exciting to collaborate with a dear friend, but more importantly I will have a hand in creating something very special: a story that celebrates the wonder of books.” 

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  1. Three Cheers Mr. Schu! Can't wait to see your book out in the world!


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