Penguin Young Readers Group is gearing up to celebrate Roald Dahl Month in September, marking the author’s 93rd birthday and heralding the forthcoming Twentieth Century Fox film based on Dahl’s Fantastic Mr. Fox, slated for release on November 13. The publisher will issue three tie-ins to this stop-motion movie—director Wes Anderson’s first animated film—which features the voices of George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray and Owen Wilson.

Though 2009 is Penguin’s third year celebrating Roald Dahl Month—the late author’s birthday is September 13—the company has “really ramped up” the promotion this year, says Emily Romero, v-p of marketing for Penguin Young Readers Group. “We’ve gotten great traction over the past few years with Roald Dahl Month and this year we wanted to create materials to help bookstores across the country celebrate it. We are also giving an extra push in schools and libraries.”

Penguin’s trade campaign includes two retail floor displays: a 24-copy backlist display, which is available to Borders stores and independent bookstores, and a 21-copy mixed floor display of the Fantastic Mr. Fox movie tie-ins. The publisher has created a Roald Dahl Month merchandising kit that contains a poster calendar with suggested activities, an easelback sign and an educator’s guide.

Penguin's giveaway calendar, which suggests
activities for each day of Roald Dahl Month.

Penguin is partnering with Twentieth Century Fox to conduct a National Golden Ticket Sweepstakes, running from September 1 to October 15, which will be promoted in the merchandising kit, on the movie tie-in floor displays and on the dedicated Web site. Sweepstakes prizes include a private hometown screening of Fantastic Mr. Fox for the winner and 20 guests and a library of 15 Roald Dahl books and four DVDs of movies based on the author’s books.

The publisher has been promoting Roald Dahl Month at recent school and library conferences. Other marketing initiatives include creating an online activity guide for teachers and libraries, binding the poster calendar into the August issue of School Library Journal and distributing a special educator’s version of the Roald Dahl Month kit to librarians via library wholesalers.

Online promotion includes downloadable Roald Dahl Month materials on, which beginning next month will have newly created, U.S.-specific content; and Golden Ticket Sweepstakes promotion on various kid-oriented Web sites.

“In a bigger way than ever, we are reaching out across all channels to promote Roald Dahl Month,” Romero says. “We’ve had a tremendous response from booksellers and librarians. Our overall goal is to raise awareness of all of the author’s books, not just the best known ones. We want to celebrate the whole world of Roald Dahl.”

And with good reason. Penguin has a total of 43 Dahl titles currently in print, and shipped approximately one million copies of his books in 2008 alone.