Akashic Books Introduces Black Sheep and Launches GAME WORLD and CHANGERS BOOK ONE: DREW

Game World
by C.J. Farley

Game World is a fast-paced thrill ride for middle-grade readers that tells the story of video gamer Dylan Rudee; whose skills unlock a real-life fantasy world inside the video game Xamaica. Dylan is swept up into an adventure along with his sister Emma, his best friend Eli, and the privileged daughter of the game's creator. This remarkable novel has already received glowing advance reviews from bothPublishers Weekly and Kirkus, which calls it, "Exhilarating, thought-provoking and one of a kind." Reggae icon Ziggy Marley praises the novel as "A great read for all!"

Author (and Wall Street Journal Senior Editor) C.J. Farley is a passionate advocate for the need for diversity in children's literature. Only around three percent of children's books feature black protagonists, with equally low numbers for Hispanic and Asian protagonists. Despite the increasingly diverse makeup of our country and our schools, kids' books have remained stubbornly homogeneous. Game World proudly bucks this trend.

Changers Book One: Drew
by T Cooper & Allison Glock-Cooper

Changers Book One: Drew, by award-winning authors (and husband-and-wife team) T Cooper and Allison Glock-Cooper, is the first in a four-part series. The novel opens on the eve of Ethan Miller's freshman year of high school in a brand-new town; when he wakes to begin school the next day, he finds himself to be a girl. Ethan is promptly informed by his parents that he is a Changer, a member of a little-known, ancient race of humans who live out each of their four years of high school as a different person. In a starred review, Publishers Weekly raved that Changers is "a thought-provoking exploration of identity, gender, and sexuality ... an excellent read for any teens questioning their sense of self or gender."

Cooper and Glock-Cooper's central message is one of empathy, an extremely important message in a culture of reality TV, devices that can record our every move, social media programs that can disseminate them, and the explosively popular trend of "selfies" (Merriam-Webster's 2013 "word of the year"). The series is supported by a website, WeAreChangers.org, where the authors have founded an empathy project. The website features polls, exercises, and a gallery of user-submitted "unselfies," all geared toward giving young adults a break from their intense personal scrutiny and a new way to look outside of themselves.

About Black Sheep

Akashic Books has long been recognized for its mission to publish authors whose work is likely to be ignored by mainstream publishing. Our motto-reverse-gentrification of the literary world-is a tongue-in-cheek assessment of the publishing industry's tendency toward sameness. Another way to describe our mission is to say that we've adopted a black sheep's perspective, and this is the name we've given our new imprint for young readers. Black Sheep's life circumstances lead them to view the world from a unique perspective. They learn to welcome those who won't welcome them, and welcome those whom others won't. Individuated by circumstance, they are uniquely positioned to challenge the institutions and mores and cliques and clichés of the herd. Leading by example, they celebrate the plurality of the whole.

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