California-based publisher Cameron + Company, has launched a children’s imprint, Cameron Kids, to build upon its previous line of picture books. Founded in 1964 by photographer and publisher Robert W. Cameron in San Francisco, the press, known for books with a focus on photography, art, food and drink, and regional interest, was purchased by Cameron’s granddaughter, Nina, and her husband Chris Gruener in 2009, when Cameron died. The Cameron Kids imprint will be led by Nina Gruener – a children’s book author herself – and veteran children’s book editor Amy Novesky.
Some of Cameron + Company’s previous kids’ books include Kiki & Coco in Paris, Smarty Marty’s Got Game, and I Carry Your Heart with Me, an adaptation of the e.e. cummings poem. The Cameron Kids imprint will publish two to three new children’s titles each season, beginning with How Do I Love Thee?, the second book in the company’s series of picture book poetry (June); Love Is a Tutu, first in the Love Is series (Aug.); and Henry’s Bright Idea, the first title in the new Walnut Animal Society series (Aug.).
In 2017, Cameron Kids will publish Kiki & Coco’s Guide to Paris, a follow-up travel booklet to Kiki & Coco in Paris; Pied Beauty, an illustrated adaptation of the Gerard Manley Hopkins sonnet; and Ode to an Onion, a picture book celebrating Pablo Neruda.
“Our plan is to do two books per season,” said publisher Chris Gruener. “But it might be more like three books a season because we have so many good projects in the pipeline we may not be able to help ourselves.”
In his words, “We want them to be titles that hopefully have classic potential, the Red Balloon feel to them, as if they could have been produced 50 years ago.” He added that while the company’s “wheelhouse is absolutely picture books,” the imprint will issue its first chapter book in spring 2017.
As a small publisher, Cameron + Company hopes to creatively acquire books for its children’s imprint. Without large budgets and advances to offer, the team is looking for first-time authors and illustrators, as well as poems in the public domain that can be matched up with illustrators.
Novesky, who got her start at Chronicle Books and has been editing children’s books for more than 20 years, said, “One of the things we talk about a lot when looking for projects, is ‘Do we love the project?’ It’s not about ‘should’ or ‘have to’; we are really only taking on books we all love and want to do.” With only four to six titles a year, she said they “have to be picky and curate the list. That helps because we always have to come back to the rule that it’s a book we all have to love.”