Today we’re thrilled to reveal the cover for The Language of Seabirds by Will Taylor! The cover was illustrated by Teo DuVall and designed by Christopher Stengel. The book will be released on May 17, 2022 by Scholastic Press. Preorder the book here.
Jeremy is not excited about the prospect of spending the summer with his dad and his uncle in a seaside cabin in Oregon. It’s the first summer after his parents’ divorce, and he hasn’t exactly been seeking alone time with his dad. He doesn’t have a choice, though, so he goes… and on his first day takes a walk on the beach and finds himself intrigued by a boy his age running by. Eventually, he and Runner Boy (Evan) meet—and what starts out as friendship blooms into something neither boy is expecting… and also something both boys have been secretly hoping for.
Like many queer people, my earliest encounters with love were bittersweet. I was twelve when I first experienced romantic feelings for another boy, feelings that were instantly eclipsed by the terror that I would be caught and found out. From that day on, hiding my real self became a daily practice. I began navigating the world through a mix of code, vigilance, and denial, a painful system that lasted me all the way through college. I wrote The Language of Seabirds because I wanted to go back to that very first day and dream up a different path.
The boys in my story develop a code just like I did, but they use theirs differently. Their secret language becomes a bridge, a way to connect them to the wider world, the world beyond what other people—especially grownups—might think. They use what they create to become more themselves, a model that might have changed everything for me if I’d encountered it back when I was young. My hope is that those kid readers today, queer or otherwise, will find something in this book that helps them trust in their true selves, helps them lean against their own strength amid all the excitement and confusion and changes of those awesome, weird, middle grade years.
Will Taylor is a reader, writer, and honey bee fan. He has a degree in Sacred Architecture, a collection of Peanuts strips where Snoopy is on the phone, and an antique key he’s carried everywhere since he was ten just in case it’s magic. He lives in the heart of downtown Seattle surrounded by all the seagulls and nearly all the books. When not writing, he can be found hawking caramels for a local chocolate company or completely losing his cool when he meets longhaired dachshunds. Over the last few years Will has been volunteer-teaching a picture book course for Freshman English classes at a local high school, and he cannot wait to get more involved helping kids and teens find and develop their voices in storytelling and writing in the future. If you’d like to help kids get more out of their time in the classroom, please check out Will’s favorite nonprofit: DonorsChoose. Will Taylor is also the author of Catch That Dog!, on sale April 5, 2022 from Scholastic Press.