Four Emerging Authors and Illustrators to Create Books Inspired by Dr. Seuss’s Unpublished Original Sketches

By Coll Rowe | May 29 2024 | English Language Arts

Dr. Seuss Enterprises (DSE) and Random House Children’s Books (RHCB) have announced the lineup of authors and illustrators who will create the first original books inspired by Ted Geisel’s (aka Dr. Seuss) unpublished sketches and illustrations for Seuss Studios, a new line of books in the Dr. Seuss publishing program at RHCB announced in 2022.

The first lineup of creators are Lala Watkins, Sarah Hwang, Jerrard K. Polk, and Avani Dwivedi. The inaugural title, HELLO, SUN! (Random House Books for Young Readers, ages 3–7, $9.99 US/$13.99 Can.) by Lala Watkins, will release on January 7, 2025, and is available for pre-order now. Inspired by never-before-seen sketches by Dr. Seuss, HELLO, SUN! tells a bright and playful story and encourages imaginative play as a worm, his friends, and the sun itself spend a day doing everything they can think of.

“To have the team at Seuss Studios and Dr. Seuss Enterprises support my dream to create books that inspire eager young readers means so much to me,” says Watkins. “Somewhere, somebody is going to pick up Hello, Sun! and say, ‘Let me read you this story’—and isn’t that delightful?”

Subsequent books in the Seuss Studios line will release in seasons to follow, titles to be announced.

 

Seuss Studios will continue Dr. Seuss’s legacy of inspiring children to develop a love of reading by working with an inclusive community of authors and illustrators, creating books that capture the beloved children’s author’s hallmark spirit of creativity and imagination. The sketches and illustrations that serve as inspiration pieces for Seuss Studios books have been selected from the Dr. Seuss Collection archives at UC San Diego and curated by Dr. Seuss Enterprises and Random House Children’s Books. Each book will include the original sketch or illustration along with a note from the creator on their selection.

Throughout his career, Ted Geisel committed himself to supporting new writers and artists. In 1957, Ted Geisel co-founded the Beginner Books imprint at Random House Children’s Books, the iconic line that includes enduring, bestselling classics like The Cat in the Hat and Green Eggs and Ham. With Beginner Books, Geisel sought not only to create a robust and enriching library for kids, but also to open new doors for creators who were either at the beginning of their publishing careers or who worked in other creative industries. Among the authors and illustrators who launched their children’s book careers at Beginner Books were P. D. Eastman, Robert Lopshire, Roy McKie, Al Perkins, Joan Heilbroner, and Stan and Jan Berenstain.

“Dr. Seuss inspired countless writers, illustrators and artists to make a difference in the lives of children,” said Susan Brandt, President and CEO of Dr. Seuss Enterprises. “The Seuss Studios line is designed to continue that legacy in his name. It is an honor to introduce these new voices and stories with our partners at Random House Children’s Books.”

“We are excited to continue the tradition started with Dr. Seuss’s Beginner Books and work with such talented new voices to create fresh new stories for today’s readers,” says Mallory Loehr, EVP and Publisher, Random House Books for Young Readers. “We could not be prouder to welcome this inaugural group of Seuss Studios creators to our list!”

Mallory Loehr and Martha Rago, VP, Executive Creative Director, RHCB, will oversee editorial and art direction for the Seuss Studios line of books, working with Maria Correa, Associate Editor, and Michelle Kim, Senior Designer.

 

Lala Watkins hails from Jacksonville, Florida. She earned a BFA in graphic design from Ringling College of Art & Design and resides in Florida. She is the illustrator of four picture books, including Sankofa: A Culinary Story of Resilience and Belonging by acclaimed chef Eric Adjepong, and the author-illustrator of the board books Little Boo’s Halloween Party and Little Santa’s Workshop. Before becoming an author and illustrator of picture books and comics, she worked as a product designer for consumer goods brands like Sanrio, Cartoon Network, Punch Studios, and more. Her purpose in life is to add more goodness and playful vibes to the world, and to encourage and inspire people to embrace new beginnings. Find Lala on Instagram at @acaseoflala and Twitter at @WatkinsLala.

Avani Dwivedi grew up in Mumbai, India, and later moved to the United States to pursue her passion of becoming an artist. She lives in Jersey City, New Jersey. Avani graduated from the Maryland Institute College of Art with a BFA in illustration. She is inspired by memories of her sweet childhood, the lived experience of being a South-Asian woman, and her love for creating whimsical art. She aims to create stories and illustrations through which she can share a more diverse perspective of the world. Her debut author-illustrated book, My Bollywood Dream, was named one of School Library Journal’s Best Books of the Year. In her leisure time, you can find Avani trying out new recipes in the kitchen and tending to her houseplants. Find Avani on Instagram at @avanidwivedii.

Sarah Hwang was born in South Korea and moved to the United States at the age of six. Moving to a new country at a young age, she used drawing and creating as a way of communication and expression. She went on to receive a BFA in illustration at the Maryland Institute College of Art, and her goal as an illustrator and writer is to bring happiness and inspire creativity through her work. Sarah made her author-illustrator debut with her much-loved picture book Toasty. Find Sarah on Instagram at @sarah_s_hwang.

Jerrard K. Polk was born and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina, spent many years of his adult life living in Bermuda, and now lives in New York’s beautiful Hudson Valley with his wife and son. With over twenty years of experience, Jerrard’s art is inspired by Bermuda’s natural beauty, as well as jazz and the dapper fashion of its innovators. He loves combining traditional and digital illustration to tell little-known stories of everyday people to encourage children from all cultures, and has used this method in picture books he has illustrated, including A Child’s Introduction to Jazz by Jabari Asim, Black Inventors: 15 Inventions that Changed the World by Kathy Trusty, and The Story of John Lewis by Tonya Leslie. Find Jerrard on Instagram at @jerrardkpolk and on X at @JerrardKPolk.

 

Random House Children’s Books (rhcbooks.com) is the world’s largest English-language children’s trade book publisher. Creating books for toddlers through young adult readers, in all formats from board books to activity books to picture books, novels, ebooks, and apps, the imprints of Random House Children’s Books bring together award-winning authors and illustrators, world-famous franchise characters, and multimillion-copy series. Random House is the longtime home of the beloved and bestselling Dr. Seuss books, which continue to make learning to read fun for millions of children everywhere. Random House Children’s Books is a division of Penguin Random House LLC.

Founded in 1993, Dr. Seuss Enterprises is a leading global children’s entertainment and licensing company focused on promoting literacy, education, self-confidence and the wonderful possibilities of a child’s imagination through the beloved works of Dr. Seuss. All Dr. Seuss Enterprises’ profits benefit charitable organizations that focus on causes such as education, health, animal conservation, and the arts. For more information, visit DrSeussEnterprises.com or follow on Instagram at @drseuss.

Hello, Sun!
978-0-593-64621-2
Inspired by never-before-seen sketches by Dr. Seuss, creator Lala Watkins builds a bright and playful story about a worm in this brand-new beginning reader that is the first in the Seuss Studios line of Beginner Books.
$9.99 US
Jan 07, 2025
Hardcover
48 Pages
Random House Books for Young Readers

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