Sparking the Interest of Young Readers
Cambridge, Mass.-based Candlewick Press was launched 15 years ago as the U.S. publishing arm of London-based children’s book publisher Walker Books. Since its inception, the company has grown into one of the largest independent publishing companies in the world. Today, it boasts nearly 100 employees, more than 3,000 published titles and countless industry awards, including the 2007 Theodor Seuss Geisel Award for “Zelda and Ivy: The Runaways,” by Laura Kvasnosky, and this year’s E.B. White Read-Aloud Award for “Houndsley and Catina,” by James Howe and illustrated by Marie-Louise Gay. Both of these award-winning titles were among the first four titles released in the new Candlewick Sparks series, launched this spring, marking Candlewick’s foray into the early-reader
market. The publisher also entered the graphic-novel arena this year with its release of a graphic-novel version of “Beowulf” by Gareth Hinds, for children ages 10 and up. Candlewick President and Publisher Karen Lotz spoke with Book Business about these new endeavors and how the company continues to find success in the vast world of children’s book publishing.
● What are the challenges in selecting material to publish for children today compared to those of previous generations?
Karen Lotz: It truly seems to me that we are living in a golden age of publishing for children. Technology, changes in values and the phenomenal success of certain titles in recent years have created an alchemical situation that means many more writers and artists are attracted to the field than ever before. [And] other brilliant talents who have been working in the field for decades can find their work showcased as never before. We also can, from a production standpoint, manufacture books of even greater and more innovative quality. The biggest challenge we face is not in finding wonderful and appropriate material to publish, but in selecting the very best books from all the great offerings out there—and, of course, in finding new and better ways to reach young readers with our books in a very volatile marketplace.