Bloomsbury is folding its Walker Books for Young Readers imprint into the larger Bloomsbury Children’s Books. As a result of the consolidation, Emily Easton, publisher of Walker Books for Young Readers, will be leaving the company. The decision to fold Walker into Bloomsbury Children’s Books comes less than one year after Bloomsbury refocused Walker as a “boutique imprint” with most of its list of 18 books coming from Easton. Walker had been publishing about 40 books annually. At the time of the restructuring, several Walker staffers were moved to Bloomsbury Children’s Books, which expects to release 100 to 125 titles this year.
Bloomsbury acquired WBYR in 2005 when it bought parent company Walker and Company. The WBYR name will be phased out with titles released on the Bloomsbury name. Easton has been with Walker for more than 20 years. “Helming the Walker children’s list has been a privilege and sacred trust for me,” commented Easton, whose books have won a Caldecott Honor, the Pura Belpré medal, and landed spots on five New York Times bestseller lists. “Now is the perfect time to set off for new adventures. I’m thankful for all the incredibly smart and dedicated people here who have helped me to create such amazing books, and I look forward to finding a new home base where I can continue to create wonderful books that will impact young readers' lives.”
The move to consolidate the two children’s imprints comes less than a week after Peter Ginna confirmed to Publishers Lunch he will leave as publisher and editorial director of Bloomsbury Press. Bloomsbury USA publishing director George Gibson will serve as publisher of Bloomsbury Press.