Photo sourced from MMBcreative website.

Nigerian-British author and illustrator Dapo Adeola signs a six-figure deal to publish five children’s books with Puffin Books, a prestigious children’s paper back publisher under Penguin USA. The books include two picture books and a three-book magical young fiction series, the first of which is titled Aniyah and the Dragon.

His debut Aniyah and the Dragon will be published in 2025 and the rest of the books will be published by Puffin all the way till 2030. Adeola commented on the news with enthusiasm:

Not only am I very excited about exploring this next stage in my writing and illustrating career but I couldn’t have asked for a more supportive team to do it with than the one I have at Puffin. If the things we’ve achieved during the first stage of my career are anything to go by, then it’s going to be an absolute blast working together on these new books.

Aniyah and the Dragon is Adeola’s debut project where he will be both author and illustrator. The book begins with young Aniyah’s perspective as she has always been told by adults that “the forest which surrounds her village is dangerous, full of “magical who knows-what.” Ever since Aniya’s mother went missing, her father has been more strict about the girl staying away from the forest. But when Aniya encounters a lost baby dragon looking for help, she sets off on an adventure. Geared toward readers aged 7-9, the book is inspired by African mythology.

Colthurst said he has been a fan of Adeola’s illustrations for many years. He added:

Like many publishers I have watched with enormous admiration as Dapo’s career has soared in just a few short years from being a debut picture book illustrator to one of the most recognisable voices in the UK children’s book scene. Dapo’s talent and drive are rare and extraordinary.

Dapo Adeola is a Nigerian-British illustrator and writer. Adeola illustrated the space science book Look Up!, written by Nathan Bryon, which won the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize in 2020. He was Illustrator of the Year at last year’s British Book Awards and headlined the 2023 London Book Fair.

Congrats to Adeola on the upcoming books!