Cover Reveal! Not Done Yet: Shirley Chisholm’s Fight for Change by Tameka Fryer Brown; Illustrated by Nina Crews
It's Women's History Month and today we are happy to reveal the cover of a new picture book about the trailblazing icon Shirley Chisholm!
Not Done Yet: Shirley Chisholm's Fight for Change is written by KidLit in Color author Tameka Fryer Brown and illustrated by Nina Crews. It will be released on November 1, 2022 by Millbrook Press.
Lisa Stringfellow talked with Tameka and Nina about their book, which was edited by Carol Hinz and designed by Danielle Carnito and Nina Crews.
Lisa: Thank you Tameka and Nina for sharing your gorgeous new book with us. Tameka, can you share how this wonderful story came to be?
Tameka: In 2017, author Kristy Dempsey alerted me to the tweet of a certain editor who had requested a picture book manuscript on Shirley Chisholm. At the time, though I knew it was an outstanding idea, I was convinced that fictional stories were my lane. Still, every now and again I would think about it, what my approach might be if I were to make the attempt. Two years later, after reading her autobiography, reviewing other books and articles, and watching hours of video footage, I felt like I knew and understood Mrs. Chisholm much more intimately. I focused on channeling her no-nonsense, can-do spirit, and that’s when I finally figured out how to enter the story.
While I was apprehensive about writing nonfiction at first, I’m so glad I decided to give it a try. I am exceptionally proud of this book.
Lisa: Nina, tell us about about the art in the book! What was your inspiration for the cover? What was the process you used in developing your ideas?
Nina: Tameka’s wonderful writing and Shirley Chisholm herself were the inspiration for this image. The cover is always the last illustration to be created. This is good, because by the time I get to it, I’ve got the overall look of the book figured out. This is the first non-fiction book that I have illustrated, and I began by combing the internet for images of Shirley to use as reference. Her energy, intelligence, passion, and humor really shine in those photographs. My challenge was to reflect that in my digital collage illustrations.
The cover is a collaboration with the art director and editor, and we went through a bunch of ideas. First the art director sent me some suggestions. Then I sent back a few ideas of my own. We knew the image needed to reflect how Shirley Chisholm used her voice to fight for change. This is a central theme of this book. Each exchange brought new thoughts about what image to use and how to design the title type. The finished illustration is based on sample art I created to be considered for this project. What a delight to have my first response to Tameka’s manuscript transform into the final cover art!
Lisa: And here is what we've been waiting for! Cover reveal time!
Lisa: Tameka, what were your thoughts when you first saw the cover?
Tameka: I thought, Oh my goodness! This is GORGEOUS! I love it so much! WOW! I love it, I love it, I love it!!
That’s pretty much an exact transcription of my thoughts…the first time I saw it and all the times I’ve looked at it afterwards. I couldn’t be happier with Nina’s art, both on the cover and the interior spreads. Nina’s passion for Mrs. Chisholm—her character, her impact, and her legacy—shine through in every illustration. The bright colors and bold graphic design channel Mrs. Chisholm’s spirit perfectly. It’s the type of cover that will grab a kid’s attention. I absolutely love it.
Lisa: And Nina, now that we’ve seen your beautiful work, can you share any advice for aspiring illustrators?
Nina: Get inspired! Spend time looking at other illustrators’ work. If you’re interested in creating books, dedicate some time to reading picture books cover to cover in your local bookstore or library. Pay attention to blogs and follow folks you admire on social media. Remember that there’s a lot more out there than gets shelf space at the major bookstore chains.
And be sure to play! The best work we make comes from the joy we bring to it. So, look for ways to find joy in your practice. Experiment! I’ve found that ideas I play around with can show up in paying projects down the road. The time taken to explore new ideas is never wasted and keeps me inspired.
Lisa: Tameka, what would you like everyone to know about this picture book?
Tameka: Not Done Yet: Shirley Chisholm’s Fight for Change is written as a narrative free verse poem with themes and details that are accessible to younger and older readers alike. The back matter, including an extensive timeline and a diverse list of additional resources, make it the perfect book for all ages to learn about this trailblazing icon. Between the lyrical text and the vivid illustrations, Not Done Yet is both educational and captivating, which makes it a worthwhile title for every collection.
I truly love this book. I hope you will too.
Lisa: Thank you Tameka and Nina for sharing the inspiration and work behind your upcoming book!
Not Done Yet: Shirley Chisholm's Fight for Change will be released on November 1, 2022 from Millbrook Press and is available for pre-order from Bookshop, Amazon, and other retailers.