Cartoonist Niki Smith is back with a new graphic novel, The Golden Hour. First announced last year, Smith’s latest is due out in October, and today The Beat is proud to present a first look at the cover for the forthcoming book.

Niki Smith The Golden Hour

Here’s how publisher Little, Brown describes the book, released under their main Books for Young Readers imprint:

Struggling with anxiety after witnessing a harrowing instance of gun violence, Manuel Soto copes through photography, using his cell-phone camera to find anchors that keep him grounded. His days are a lonely, latchkey monotony until he’s teamed with his classmates, Sebastian and Caysha, for a group project.

Sebastian lives on a grass-fed cattle farm outside of town, and Manuel finds solace in the open fields and in the antics of the newborn calf Sebastian is hand-raising. As Manuel aides his new friends in their preparations for the local county fair, he learns to open up, confronts his deepest fears, and even finds first love.

The Golden Hour is the latest graphic novel from Smith, who has also contributed to publications from The Nib to Beyond: The Queer Sci-Fi & Fantasy Comic Anthology, among many others. Smith’s first graphic novel, Crossplay, was released by Iron Circus Comics in 2018, and her most recent book, The Deep and Dark Blue, was published by Little, Brown in January of last year; among other accolades, the book was recently included on this year’s ALA Rainbow Book List of the top 10 titles for young readers.

The topic of children dealing with the aftermath of gun violence is, sadly, one that’s become increasingly relevant over the past several years, and it sounds like just one of many themes that Smith will be exploring in the new book. The cartoonist has also shared a couple of teasers for the book via Instagram, and the interior artwork looks wonderful.

The Golden Hour is due out from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers on Tuesday, October 26th, 2021.