Jon Klassen and Candlewick have reason to celebrate. Just two and a half years after the author-illustrator made his solo children’s book debut in 2011 with I Want My Hat Back, that picture book and its companion, 2012’s This Is Not My Hat, have reached a combined worldwide in-print tally of one million copies. Edited by Candlewick editorial director and associate publisher Liz Bicknell and designed by art director Ann Stott, the two books have been translated into a combined total of 22 languages, including Japanese, Hebrew, Catalan, Finnish, Greek, and Tetum (spoken on the island of Timor).
In addition to registering brisk sales – I Want My Hat Back spent 48 weeks and This Is Not My Hat 43 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list – the books garnered an impressive roster of accolades. The first title was named a Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Book, a New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Book of the Year, and a PW Best Children’s Book of the Year, and won an E.B. White Read-Aloud Award in the picture book category. This Is Not My Hat, which received six starred reviews, won the 2013 Caldecott Medal for Klassen. It was also designated a New York Times Notable Children’s Book, and made it onto several Best of the Year lists, including PW’s.
“We are thrilled that sales of these books continue at such a strong pace, and are gratified to celebrate this one million-copy landmark with him,” said John Mendelson, Candlewick’s senior v-p and sales director, in a statement. “The extraordinary support the books have received from booksellers and readers is a testament to Jon Klassen’s immeasurable talent, as he continues to win new fans every day.”
Klassen is quick to share the credit for his books’ success – and his gratitude. “A huge heartfelt, humbled, amazed, deeply-grateful, crazily-lucky, kind-of-suspicious-it’s-all-a-trick, but-hoping-never-to-find-out thank you to everybody who helped with the making of, the editing of, the distribution of, the promotion of, the displaying of, the talking-about of, the recommending of, the selling of, the buying of, and the sitting-down-and-reading of these books,” he told PW. “I wish we could all go bowling or something together.”