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My lord, do I love announcing debut books! Writers and illustrators strive for so long towards the goal of getting published, and it’s a huge moment in their lives when that is finally, officially going to happen.

Allen R. Wells has worked diligently for thirteen years to reach this moment. He’s developed his craft, honed his ideas, networked like crazy, volunteered his time, found a cohort, and done a whole lot of listening. The result is this: DANTÉ PLAYS HIS BLUES, a picture book in which a boy affected by housing insecurity discovers the power of expressing his feelings in music. The incredible Shamar Knight-Justice will illustrate, with Tamar Mays at HarperCollins editing, for release in summer 2024.

This story is so moving—and also so full of family and joy! I cannot wait for you to read it.

Huge congratulations, Allen!


—Erin