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It is such a privilege to get early glimpses of the work of Caldecott Honor-winning illustrator Brian Lies. He has a remarkable imagination and his art is incredible. When he sent me a new book dummy earlier this year, I was astounded to see him take on an underwater setting in a picture book—and in a way that wasn’t at all cold or dark, as I imagine the deep ocean world to be.

DIFFY is a story about a fish, a rock, and stories—stories that connect us in ways that might be more obvious to us land-dwellers, but soon come clear to an underwater community, too.

Christy Ottaviano at her imprint at Little Brown snapped up this one—and a second untitled book—in a preempt. Christy has long been a fan of Brian’s, and already I can see how rich their working relationship will be. I can’t wait to see this one in 2024, and see what follows!

Huge congratulations, Brian!

—Erin