Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Lalena Fisher signs deal for debut picture book

Congratulations to Austin SCBWI member Lalena Fisher, who has signed a deal for her debut picture book, Friends Beyond Measure! Lalena, who creates infographics for the New York Times, has applied her expertise in this form to devise an innovative picture book. According to the Publishers Weekly announcement, it “tells a friendship story about loss and long-distance connection through the language of infographics.” Tamar Mays at HarperCollins bought world rights to the book; the deal was brokered by agent Lara Perkins at Andrea Brown Literary Agency.

Headshot of Lalena Fisher against abstract pink and yellow design backgroundLalena’s pathway to this publishing deal started out with a different book altogether. “While my wonderful agent Lara and I were focusing on a different book dummy, someone who had noticed my experience in data visualization asked if I might consider creating a book with infographics for kids,” Lalena says. “I wondered if I could come up with something different from what I saw on the market already. I found mostly nonfiction books in a digital graphic style. Instead, what if I worked them into a story as a kid might tell it? Could charts and graphs help convey an emotional arc? This seemed like an interesting challenge.

“At the time, one of my very best friends had just moved away. I channeled my own feelings into my story as a way to process them. And it really helped! Lara encouraged me to share more about myself in our query letter, and I think that helped editors connect with what I was trying to do with this book.”
Lalena joined the Austin chapter of SCBWI in 2011 as an unagented illustrator, “so persistence and patience paid off,” she says. “As did taking advantage of the valuable knowledge shared by my fellow SCBWI members and visiting professionals. I am so excited to work with Tamar Mays and her team at HarperCollins!””

Friends Beyond Measure is scheduled for publication in 2023.