Cover Reveal – Setsuko and the Song of the Sea by Fiona Barker, illustrated by Howard Gray

I’m really excited to be able to reveal for you today, the cover of Fiona Barker and Howard Gray’s new picture book collaboration, ‘Setsuko and the Song of the Sea,’ which will be published by Tiny Tree books on the April 22nd 2021.

So without further ado here it is…

This stunning cover was illustrated by Howard Gray and designed by Howard and James Shaw. For me this intriguing artwork hints at the beautiful tale that lies beneath the cover. I’ve been lucky enough to have an early read and this is truly thoughtful and powerful story which will completely delight its readers with it’s hopeful message. Let’s find out more about what Fiona and Howard have instore for us in, ‘Setsuko and the Song of the Sea‘.

Setsuko loves the sea.

She swims its shallows. She dives its depths.
But she worries that her friends have chosen to abandon her way of life. Then she meets a whale who also fears he is the last of his kind.
In return for giving him hope, he gifts her a song which she uses to remind people of the beauty of the ocean.

The Song of the Sea is a story of friendship and hope in an uncertain world.

This story was inspired by Fiona and Howard’s love for the ocean and by Howard’s amazing skill in capturing its beauty. A proportion of the profits from the book are going to support the work of the Marine Conservation Society. Fiona changed the way she does things after taking part in the MCS Plastic Free July Challenge in 2017. That had to be part of Setsuko’s story.

Setsuko is an ama; a free diver. These incredible women dive without breathing equipment in cold dangerous waters, looking for shellfish. Strong, proud and independent, many of them have been diving all their lives and are now in their 70s and 80s. It is a way of life on the brink, just as the overall health of the ocean and its inhabitants teeters on a knife edge due to human activity and negligence. A heavy subject for a picture book perhaps but, don’t worry, the ending is hopeful if everyone listens to the song and pulls together.

Howard has drawn on influences from traditional Japanese art and updated it with a hint of manga.

Thank you to Fiona and Tiny Tree books for inviting me to host the cover reveal. ‘Setsuko and the Song of the Sea,’ is available to pre-order now online or from any good bookshop. If you can please support your local independent bookshop you can find your nearest one here.

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