China Children’s Press and Publications Group (CCPPG), the largest children’s book publisher in China, has recruited veteran Canadian children’s publisher Patsy Aldana to launch a new international imprint in September.
Announcing the new collaboration, Aldana, who recently stepped down from her position as publisher of Groundwood Books, which she founded 35 years ago, said in an statement that she is “honored and excited by this opportunity to bring the very best of the world to Chinese children.”
Li Xueqian, president of CCPPG, said in the announcement that he is “delighted by this new undertaking. The purpose of the cooperation between us is to take CCPPG to the international market and introduce the world to Chinese kids.”
Aldana, who is a former president of the International Board on Books for Young People and the current president of its foundation, told PW that with the yet-unnamed imprint she will be responsible for bringing an international list of books to CCPPG for the Chinese market. “The company, she said, has been buying highly commercial titles from North America but wants a more varied list. She plans to publish high-quality books from many different countries, particularly those of Africa, Latin America, and Asia. “I know people from around the world and I get to find books from around the world, so it’s perfect,” she said. She expects to publish six to 10 titles each year, starting in the spring of 2014.
Another aspect of her role will be helping CCPPG join the international publishing markets and community. “I will do some workshops with their editors and I will also help introduce them to people at the big book fairs,” she said.
CCPPG is a state-owned publisher, but Aldana says she will be “free to be the kind of publisher I am. Otherwise I wouldn’t want to do this.” Some of the books she chooses may be fairy tales, she said, but as the Groundwood list shows, she has an ongoing interest in publishing books about the real lives of children around the world even if they live in poverty or conflict zones. “My career as a publisher and in IBBY has been dedicated to the idea that children everywhere need books that are mirrors and books that are windows,” she said.
She added that she has great respect for Li Xueqian, who will be the next president of IBBY China. “He has invested a lot of energy and effort in the publishing company,” she said.
CCPPG publishes more than 400 original new titles every year, Aldana said, including original children’s novels, picture books, comic books, and popular science books. And the company reprints more than 1,000 backlist titles each year. Many international classics are on CCPPG’s list, such as The Adventures of Tintin and the Pippi Longstocking books. Total annual sales amount to more than 30,000,000 copies.