Annette Bourland

At Thursday's "Trends in the Christian Children's Market" panel at BookExpo America, publishers agreed that the historic obstacles to getting their books into ABA stores matter less these days. Consumers "are buying them everywhere-mass market stores, chains," said Laura Minchew, publisher of Tommy Nelson, now a part of HarperCollins Christian Publishing. The panel, moderated by Mary Manz-Simon, a children's book author and a specialist in the market, also included Annette Bourland, group publisher of Zonderkidz (and part of HCCP); Dan Lynch, publisher of B&H Kids;

HarperCollins' new Christian division, comprised of Zondervan and the newly acquired Thomas Nelson, has announced the creation of a single fiction team, featuring books from both publishers and headed by Daisy Hutton, formerly vice president and publisher of fiction at Thomas Nelson.

"This is an era of unprecedented challenge and opportunity for fiction publishing," Hutton said. "The Thomas Nelson and Zondervan brands each have a rich heritage. We intend to build on that heritage by developing more distinctive, stronger identities for each brand."

Zondervan has announced a collaboration between Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and New York Times best-selling author and illustrator, Nancy Tillman. The pair has signed on to create a unique picture book based on the creation story from Tutu's highly successful Children of God Storybook Bible.

The picture book will feature Nancy Tillman's whimsical and imaginative illustrations bringing to life Archbishop Tutu's heartwarming narration about God's wonderful creation. Zondervan holds world rights to the project and plans to release the premium picture book in Spring 2014.

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