She wins Oscars! She gets away with murder! She...writes books? In a recent statement to PEOPLE, award-winning actress Viola Davis discussed her authorial debut: a new installment in the classic Corduroy series. Titled Corduroy Takes a Bow, the upcoming book sees the titular bear visit the theater with his human companion, Lisa, for the first time. Davis took to Twitter to reveal the cover and fall publication date, which will mark the series' 50th anniversary.
For Davis, the book was more than a cute story for kids—it offered much-needed representation in the mostly-white world of children's literature. In what she referred to as a childhood of “abject poverty and dysfunction,” a young Davis found comfort and inspiration in the depiction of Lisa, the story's black heroine.
“When I was a little girl, it wasn’t often that I found myself reflected in the pages of a book,” she told the magazine. “Corduroy was an exception, and I adored flipping through it.”
I am thrilled to share the cover for my first book, and writing for the iconic Corduroy Bear. The book comes out in September and I can’t wait for you all to read it. #CorduroyTakesABow #CorduroyBear https://t.co/Mi60R54WNx pic.twitter.com/HtjK2J4ye0— Viola Davis (@violadavis) March 14, 2018
Created by Don Freeman in 1968, Corduroy has since been voted one of School Library Journal’s “Top 100 Picture Books” of all time. Set in an upscale department store, the story follows a teddy's search for his missing button after a young girl, Lisa, is not allowed to purchase him due to the defect. Though Corduroy never does find his button, Lisa returns the next day, buys Corduroy with her piggy bank savings, and sews him a new one. Freeman also wrote several follow-up books, including A Pocket for Corduroy and Corduroy Lost and Found.
As for the bear’s latest adventure, Davis says she’s eager to give other young readers the same experience she had: “To be able to introduce a new generation, including my daughter, to this character that was so special to me in my childhood is an incredible honor.”
You can find Corduroy Takes a Bow wherever books are sold on September 4, 2018.
Revisit the story that started it all, and then pre-order Corduroy Takes a Bow!
Featured photo of Viola Davis: Alchetron