Independent children's book publisher Lee & Low will launch a new imprint, Tu Books, in fall 2011. Tu Books will publish multicultural science fiction and fantasy for middle-grade and teen audiences. "Increasing our offerings in both the MG and YA markets is something Lee & Low has wanted to do for some time," said Lee & Low publisher Jason Low. "Our customers have asked for books for older readers with the same emphasis on cultural diversity that we have applied to our picture books."
Tu Books is the brainchild of Stacy Whitman, a former editor at Mirrorstone (the YA imprint of Wizards of the Coast). She will serve as editorial director for the imprint, editing all of its titles (the imprint is currently slated to publish three books per season). Whitman has already relocated from Utah to New York City and is reviewing manuscripts under consideration.
Tu Books has its origins in Tu Publishing, an independent publisher that Whitman was working to launch last year, via the fundraising Web site Kickstarter. Even the name Tu fits in with Whitman's multicultural vision for the types of books she plans to publish. According to her Kickstarter pitch, "The word 'tu' means 'you' in many languages, and in Ainu (the language of Japan's native people), it means 'many.' "
Whitman amassed more than $10,000 in donations via Kickstarter, which caught the attention of Low, who found her site via a link from a blog and signed with Whitman in early February (the donations will be returned). "What was most attractive about Tu was the common mission we share in focusing on and promoting diversity in children's books," Low said. "For Lee & Low it was important to connect with someone who understood our mission. In effect, Stacy already spoke our language."