Sparking the Interest of Young Readers
… Over the past seven years, we have made a significant investment in our U.S.-produced publishing program that has really hit with great acceptance, for which we are very grateful. But it all comes down, at the end of the day, to the great talent of the authors and artists we work with.
● Candlewick has an unusual ownership model (with employees, authors and illustrators sharing in profits and dividends). How does this model complement or influence the publishing end of the business?
Lotz: It allows the creative mandate of the company to continue to lead the way, through up years and down years. More than 150 of our authors and illustrators are indeed part “owners” of the company, and we refresh this list as we grow.
● Candlewick recently published its first graphic novel for children, “Beowulf.” What drove your decision to enter into this area, and do you see this area expanding within Candlewick’s catalog?
Lotz: Gareth Hinds, the author-
illustrator of “Beowulf,” had the vision for the book, and we loved what he did. We believe that graphic novels are a vibrant literary genre with an enormous amount of untapped potential, and we will continue to publish them as new and intriguing projects come along.
● How did the new Candlewick Sparks series for early readers come about? What was the goal behind creating a series bearing the Candlewick name?
Lotz: Candlewick Sparks has been in the works for some time. We were encouraged by the warm reception that our “Mercy Watson” early readers received from booksellers, educators, parents and kids, but the real momentum to start the series came from our authors and illustrators who were excited to create early readers. … At this particular point, we felt we had enough critical mass to enter the more traditional side of the genre with some flair and innovation.