This fall, Sterling added six volumes to its The Twelve Days of Christmas in… series, which presents facts about specific states to the tune of the well-known carol. Each book is written and illustrated by individuals living in the featured locale, and the creators of all the new additions to the series—celebrating Arizona, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, South Carolina and Washington, D.C.—recently visited stores across their home states to promote their books.
Launched in fall 2007, the series now has 16 titles in print. The latest volumes, released in October, are The Twelve Days of Christmas in Arizona by Jennifer J. Stewart, illustrated by Lynne Avril; The Twelve Days of Christmas in Georgia by Susan Rosson Spain, illustrated by Elizabeth O. Dulemba; The Twelve Days of Christmas in Iowa, written and illustrated by Sue Cornelison; The Twelve Days of Christmas in Michigan by Susan Collins Thoms, illustrated by Deb Pilutti; The Twelve Days of Christmas in South Carolina by Melinda Long, illustrated by Tatjana Mai-Wyss; and The Twelve Days of Christmas in Washington, D.C. by Candice Ransom, illustrated by Sarah Hollander. Due in fall 2011 are books set in Colorado and Washington State.
Meredith Mundy, senior editor of Sterling Children’s Books, says that locating regional authors and artists to create these books “is quite a treasure hunt. I put the word out to agents I’ve worked with, contacted the regional sites for SCBWI, and found writers and illustrators through simple Internet searches.” As the series has become better known, the editor notes that many potential contributors have contacted the publisher to request that they be considered as contributors. “It has been a wonderful way to connect with children’s book people from across the country,” she adds.
The series’ contributors are an especially enthusiastic and energetic bunch when it comes to promoting their books, says Mundy. The creators of this fall’s releases reached out personally to booksellers in their states, some created tie-in activities that they posted on Web sites, and one had her teenage son’s a capella group sing the book’s lyrics at a signing. “Every single contributor has jumped in with both feet,” the editor says. “These creative people are not only promoting a book that they’ve written and/or illustrated, but they’re also promoting a place to which they feel deeply connected.