Frank Viva, October’s cover artist, has made quite a name for himself in the kidlit world in recent years. Already a noted designer and commercial illustrator (his work frequently graces the cover of The New Yorker), Viva published his first children’s title, Along a Long Road, in 2011, and quickly saw it become a New York Times bestseller. Since then, he’s gone on to produce such storytime favourites as A Trip to the Bottom of the World with Mouse (Little, Brown/Hachette), Young Frank, Architect (MoMA), and this spring’s cleverly designed die-cut extravaganza, Outstanding in the Rain (Tundra Books).
Viva’s most recent work appears in A Celebration of the Seasons (Sterling Publishing), the follow-up to the 2014 lullaby collection Goodnight Songs, based on the writing of Goodnight Moon author Margaret Wise Brown. One of 12 illustrators contributing to the book, Viva opted to provide art for the song “Snowfall,” because “I just thought, I was the only Canadian in the lot – I might as well do snow.” Also up this fall is Young Charlotte, Filmmaker, the latest in Viva’s series for the publications division of New York’s Museum of Modern Art, with each title focusing on one of the gallery’s departments.
Next year will see the publication of Viva’s first middle-grade novel, Sea Change. The heavily illustrated story is loosely based on Viva’s childhood, “which consisted of my parents dumping me in a remote corner of Nova Scotia each summer with relatives. I hate to use the phrase, but it’s kind of a coming-of-age story.”
Though he won’t be quitting his day job any time soon, Viva’s fondness for kids’ books means young fans can look forward to many more titles from the author. “I have a really clear memory of reading as a child,” says Viva. “It kind of never left me.”