Union Square & Co. Acquires Five Books by Worldwide Best-Selling Author Mo Willems

The Pigeon Will Ride the Roller Coaster! to Release September 6, 2022

New York, NY, January 20, 2022 —Union Square Kids, an imprint of book publisher Union Square & Co., today announced that it has acquired five new books from worldwide best-selling and award-winning author and illustrator Mo Willems, starting with The Pigeon Will Ride the Roller Coaster!, to be published September 6, 2022.

The Pigeon Will Ride the Roller Coaster! marks the eighth picture book in the award-winning Pigeon collection, which has sold more than 6 million copies in North America, has been translated into 20 languages and has inspired theatrical productions, museum exhibits and television specials.

“I am a longtime admirer of Mo Willems and his ability to connect so directly with children and families,” said James Daunt, Chief Executive Officer of Barnes & Noble, which owns Union Square & Co. “As a publisher, we look forward to providing Mo with as broad a platform as possible to share his creativity; as a bookseller, what a delight to be able to hand-sell a new Pigeon picture book this fall.”

“We are proud and thrilled to bring the singular creative genius of Mo Willems to Union Square & Co.’s list. Partnering with Mo reinforces our strategic vision as a dynamic trade publisher that focuses on the importance of editorial and artistic talent,” said Emily Meehan, Chief Creative Officer and Publisher, Union Square & Co. 

“Mo has a phenomenal ability to speak to his audience through his work,” said Willems’ longtime editor, Tracey Keevan, Editorial Director of Union Square Kids. “He gives voice and validation to the ups and downs of being a kid in a world built for grown-ups. It’s an honor to publish new books with Mo that continue to celebrate the lives of young readers.”

“I am excited to embark on new publishing experiments while working with a team I’ve known and trusted for over a decade,” said Mo Willems. “The goal is to surprise and delight without losing sight of a fundamental truth: The Pigeon is not going to get to drive that bus.”

The five-book deal for US, Canadian and UK rights was negotiated by Marcia Wernick/Wernick & Pratt Agency, on behalf of Mo Willems, and Emily Meehan for Union Square & Co.


Mo Willems is an author, illustrator, animator, playwright and the inaugural Kennedy Center Education Artist-in-Residence. Willems is best known for his #1 New York Times best-selling picture books, which have been awarded three Caldecott Honors (Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!; Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale; Knuffle Bunny Too: A Case of Mistaken Identity), two Theodor Seuss Geisel Awards, and five Geisel Honors (the Elephant & Piggie series).  

Over the last decade, Willems has become the most produced playwright of Theater for Young Audiences in America, having written or co-written four musicals based on his books in addition to collaborations in dance, puppetry, symphonic music and opera. Mo’s art has been exhibited around the world, including major solo retrospectives at the High Museum of Art (Atlanta), Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh and The New-York Historical Society. 

Willems began his career as a writer and animator on PBS’s Sesame Street, where he garnered six Emmy Awards (writing). Other television work includes two series on Cartoon Network: Sheep in the Big City (creator + head writer) and Codename: Kids Next Door (head writer). His live-action comedy special Don’t Let the Pigeon Do Storytime! currently streams on HBOMax. Upcoming projects include an animated rock opera special based on Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed and an animated series based on his Unlimited Squirrels books. 

His papers reside at Yale University’s Beinecke Library.


Union Square & Co. is a talent-driven publisher whose mission is to promote excellence in contemporary publishing and to honor the vision of our creators by providing best-in-class editorial, design, and production choices. Headquartered in New York City, Union Square & Co., LLC., is a subsidiary of Sterling Publishing Co, Inc., and includes imprints Puzzlewright Press, home to pencil-and-paper puzzles, and Sterling Ethos, home to magic and mystic-driven books and products. For more information, visit unionsquareandco.com.


The Pigeon Will Ride the Roller Coaster!

Words and Pictures by Mo Willems

Union Square Kids | September 6, 2022 | Ages 3–5 | $17.99 U.S. | ISBN 978-1-4549-4686-1

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