My taste in picture books was very much shaped by my work with the great Mo Willems. I was fortunate to edit a bunch of Elephant & Piggie books, a couple of Pigeon titles, a Knuffle Bunny project, even an adult coffee-table book. Mo's slightly subversive sense of humor, his expert use of spare text, and his respect for his young readers still influence my picture-book acquisitions--see Ben Clanton, Mike Boldt, Ashlyn Anstee, and Jessie Sima, for example, as well as my own picture books.
But every now and then, I go for something very different. The Night Gardener was unlike any book I'd ever acquired and also one of the most rewarding experiences. Same goes for Ada's Violin, which is one of the best stories I've ever heard...and it's true!
Add to that short list The Remember Balloons, the debut picture book by Jessie Oliveros. It's easily one of the most powerful picture-book manuscripts I've ever read, taking on a subject matter--dementia--rarely seen in the market. I'm so happy that Dana Wulfekotte is doing the art. She conveys so much emotion with her illustrations, and there's a brightness to her palette that feels right for Jessie's story.
This is my first deal with both Mike at Dystel & Goodrich and Sean at Sean McCarthy Literary. I've known Sean since his days at Sheldon Fogelman Agency...when I was working on Mo Willems's books.