Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) has acquired Imagine, a picture book featuring the lyrics of John Lennon‘s iconic song and illustrated by the award-winning French graphic artist Jean Jullien. The book follows a young pigeon on a journey to spread a message of peace and tolerance and will be published in partnership with Amnesty International, the human rights organization, which has more than eight million supporters worldwide. Amnesty International will receive a portion of the proceeds from every copy of the book sold.
The North American edition of the picture book, published by HMH’s Clarion Books imprint, will launch simultaneously with the United Kingdom and Australia editions on September 21, 2017, the International Day of Peace. More than 10 additional countries are expected to publish the picture book in 2017. Frances Lincoln Children’s Books, an imprint of the Quarto Group, is the originating publisher.
Jean Jullien is a French graphic artist based in London and Los Angeles. His practice ranges from illustration to photography, video, costumes, installations, books, posters and clothing to create a coherent yet eclectic body of work. He is the illustrator of several celebrated books for children, including This Is Not a Book and Hoot Owl, Master of Disguise. Originally from Nantes, France, Jullien currently resides in London.
John Lennon was a founding member of the Beatles, the most commercially successful band in the history of pop music. In 1970, he embarked on a solo career. “Imagine,” released in 1971, which Lennon composed in one session sitting at his piano, is just 22 lines long but has become a worldwide anthem of unity, hope, peace and tolerance.
It ranks number three on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time; countless artists including Madonna, Stevie Wonder, Joan Baez, Elton John, Liza Minnelli, Peter Gabriel, Diana Ross, Willie Nelson, Lady Gaga, and the New York Philharmonic have performed cover versions; and for nearly a decade, the song has been played before the New Year’s Eve ball drop at New York City’s Times Square. A tribute to John Lennon, in the Strawberry Fields section of New York City’s Central Park, is a mosaic of the word “Imagine.”