COVER REVEAL: Xavier’s Voice!
Author: Ashley Franklin (@ashleyfranklinwrites)
Illustrator: Tatiana Gardel (@gardeltatiana)
Publisher: The Innovation Press
Publication Date: October 8, 2024
The Highlights Foundation is honored to celebrate our friend Ashley Franklin by revealing the cover for her next picture book!
Ashley was part of the Highlights Foundation Muslim Storytellers Fellowship from 2012-2023. She has attended numerous Highlights Foundation courses and has published a few works including Disney’s THE LITTLE MERMAID: MAKE A SPLASH and NOT QUITE SNOW WHITE, and her middle-grade short story “Creative Fixes” from the anthology ONCE UPON AN EID. Ashley is an Arkansas-based author who writes books featuring characters with big hearts and even bigger imaginations. She is also an adjunct college instructor and proud mom.
She says: “During one of our first open mic nights at the Muslim Storytellers Fellowship, I shared XAVIER’S VOICE. I had only recently submitted the final draft to my editor. The irony was not lost on me that I was nearly terrified to read my picture book about a kid with anxiety, and I am an adult who dreads speaking in front of others. It wasn’t until we were asked to (voluntarily) do video blurbs expressing the sentiment of “What I Found @highlightsfound” that I later opened up about my own struggles with anxiety.”
Now, reflecting on the community she found here, she says: “I miss Chef Amanda’s sparkle, the delightful chatter of the van drivers, and the comforting sense of belonging that radiates throughout the campus. Honestly, I miss my Highlights family. I’m glad for the opportunity to stay connected.”
From The Innovation Press:
Xavier wishes his small voice was bigger and the anxious feeling he gets when trying to make friends was smaller. He makes many attempts to be louder, but he still isn’t able to connect with any of his classmates. As Xavier withdraws into the world of his sketchbook, he wonders will he ever be able to make friends with such a small voice?
Congratulations Ashley, and we can’t wait to see kids enjoying and learning through your book!