Arthur's current staff grew up with Harry Potter.
It wasn't just the books, it was the community of readers that made these books special to Weslie.
Harry Potter made being a good person cool. It showed in action what it meant to be a good person.
As someone who grew up being a called a goody two shoes, Weslie really appreciated that.
When publishers say "own voices" they are speaking to characters of marginalized backgrounds where the writer shares at least one aspect of that character's identity. Own voices started out as a hashtag, but it's now a term used in publishing conversations. But Weslie also points out that there's a balance of an identity the writer knows and of some she or he does not.
Weslie is hage fan of sci-fi-and speculative fiction. Key to such books is strong immersive world building.
At its heart it's about civic engagement and not in a way that's dry and boring, but in way that a kid can empathize that there is something wrong with this world and wanting to do something about it.
Weslie says she wants to publish revolutionary children's books, and the rest of her team cries out, "Yes!"
The Case for Loving is about Loving v. Virginia and Mildred Loving, Richard Perry, and their three kids. It was was written by an interracial couple. It draws from the creators' experience. "I consider love revolutionary. This is also a revolutionary picture book."
Daniel Jose Older's Shadowshaper books are ones with revolutionary and social justice elements.
The Cleo Edison Oliver books are about a black, female, adopted entrepreneur. It's a book that Weslie saw herself in.
As the group talks about Mike Jung's Unidentified Suburban Objects, Weslies says it's more than the best book of it's kind, it's the only book of it's kind.
Sparrow is a book Weslie has been waiting 10 years to read. A book that authentically portrays an authentic resonate experience and has a beautiful unique literary voice.