Robot 6

Francoise Mouly inks deal with Candlewick

When Francoise Mouly started the Toon Books line two years ago, she set it up as an independent publisher because no one was willing to buy into the notion of comics for preschoolers. When I spoke to her at the American Library Association meeting last June, she recalled talking to the publisher from one major house who loved the books but balked at investing the time and money necessary to create a new category.

So Mouly did it herself, publishing the Toon books as an imprint of RAW Junior, a small publishing company she runs with her husband Art Spiegelman. Until Oct. 1, when Toon Books will become an imprint of Candlewick Press, which is based in Somerville, Massachusetts. This means that both current titles and the backlist will be distributed by Random House, rather than Diamond Book Distributors, and Toon will continue to release four or five new books per year.

Full press release after the jump.

TOON Books Partners with
Candlewick Press

We are very excited to announce a momentous step for TOON Books: our new partnership with Candlewick Press. As of October 1, 2010, TOON Books will operate as an imprint of Candlewick Press, and our award-winning titles will be distributed by Candlewick and the Random House network. Candlewick will bring on board TOON’s acclaimed backlist, including 2010 Theodor Seuss Geisel Award winner Benny and Penny in the Big No-No! by Geoffrey Hayes; two Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Books: Little Mouse Gets Ready by Jeff Smith and Stinky by Eleanor Davis; and eight additional TOON Books favorites. The new imprint will publish four to five new titles each year. In spring 2011, TOON will release Silly Lilly in What Will I Be Today? by Agnès Rosenstiehl, and Patrick in A Teddy Bear’s Picnic and Other Stories by Geoffrey Hayes.

“We’re thrilled to partner with Candlewick, which is renowned for its passion for publishing only outstanding art and text,” said Françoise Mouly, publisher and editorial director of TOON Books. “TOON Books’ radical approach, putting to use all the sophisticated tools one can find in good comics to hook kids on reading, could only find support at a house that is as daring and comfortable in its own groundbreaking track record as Candlewick is. Joining forces, we will publish the new classics, the visually literate books that will tickle the fancy of, delight, inspire, and inform the children of the twenty-first century.”

Of the new imprint, Candlewick’s senior vice president of sales, John Mendelson, said, “Since its founding in the fall of 2008, we have admired TOON Books and how the list has been received by booksellers, librarians, and teachers. TOON’s mission to get kids reading through the accessible vernacular of comics paired with Candlewick’s deep sales and marketing relationships within the children’s books community will bring a renewed focus to the imprint in the both the retail and school and library channels.”

Françoise Mouly launched TOON Books in spring 2008. She is the art editor of The New Yorker, as well as the publisher and editorial director of RAW Junior, the childrens’ book branch of RAW Books & Graphics. The TOON Books, which are leveled books for emerging readers, are vetted by educators. The books feature original stories and characters created by veteran children’s book authors, renowned cartoonists, and new talents.

Candlewick Press is an independent, employee-owned publisher based in Somerville, Massachusetts. Candlewick publishes outstanding children’s books for readers of all ages; including books by award-winning authors Kate DiCamillo, M. T. Anderson, and Laura Amy Schlitz; the widely acclaimed ‘Ologies and Judy Moody series; and favorites such as the Where’s Waldo? and Maisy books. Candlewick’s parent company is Walker Books Ltd., of London with additional offices in Sydney and Auckland.

For further information, contact Ngoc Huynh at (315) 559-0072 for TOON Books (ngoc.toon@gmail.com), or Laura Rivas at (617) 588-4445 for Candlewick Press (laura.rivas@candlewick.com)

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All images (c) RAW Junior, LLC. All rights reserved.

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