Nigerian-American author Candice Iloh is set to publish a children’s book centering a Nigerian-American boy on the autism spectrum in spring 2026. Titled Emeka, Eat Egusi!, the book will be illustrated by Bea Jackson and published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster.

In Emeka, Eat Egusi!, a Nigerian-American boy on the autism spectrum who only likes to eat jollof rice learns that sometimes different can be good when he spends an afternoon in the kitchen with his mama helping her cook egusi.

We love the way Iloh combines specific aspects of Nigerian food while centering a neurodivergent protagonist in this book! Children’s literature often does not address neurodivergence openly and it is time that children on the spectrum get a chance to see themselves in the pages of books.

Candice Iloh is a queer, first-generation Nigerian-American writer, poet, educator and dancer. Their debut novel, Every Body Looking, was a finalist for the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature and Michael L. Printz Award honor book. Iloh graduated from Howard University and received a Master of Fine Arts from Lesley University, where they studied Writing for Young People and Poetry. Iloh’s poetry has been published by Blackberry Magazine, Blavity, Fjords Review, For Harriet, TheGrio, Insight Magazine, and the Lambda Literary Foundation.

Congrats to Iloh on the forthcoming book!