A handful of children’s publishers have arrived at BEA eager to announce and celebrate anniversaries of books, characters, or imprints. The Reluctant Dragon; Lafcadio, The Lion Who Shot Back; Sammy the Spider; and Harry Potter all reach milestones in 2013, as do several children’s lines. Here’s a look at some of the celebrations underway at the booths.
Holiday House (booth 721) is marking the 75th year of The Reluctant Dragon, a collaboration between children’s book titans Kenneth Grahame and Ernest E. Shepard, with an anniversary gift edition due in September. The book features an introduction and appreciation by children’s book historian Leonard Marcus. He relates how in 1938 Helen Gentry, cofounder of Holiday House, discovered the story “The Reluctant Dragon” in Dream Days, Kenneth Grahame’s 1898 collection of essays about childhood. Recognizing it as a work that would resonate with children, Gentry lined up Shepard as illustrator and published the story for young readers. Attending BEA to help celebrate this poetry-loving dragon, Marcus will sign copies of the anniversary edition tomorrow, noon–12:30 p.m., at Table 7.
Half a century has passed since the late Shel Silverstein published his first book, Lafcadio, the Lion Who Shot Back. Featured at the HarperCollins Children’s Books booth (2039) is the publisher’s 50th anniversary edition of this fable, which sports the original, full-color 1963 cover with a celebratory gold foil sticker. When the book is released in September, the publisher will kick off anniversary celebrations. These will be followed by commemorations of more Shel Silverstein milestones in 2014, when Don’t Bump the Glump, A Giraffe and a Half, and The Giving Tree also turn 50, and Where the Sidewalk Ends has its 40th anniversary.
Twenty-year-old Sammy Spider is the toast of Kar-Ben Publishing’s booth (2456), where visitors can peruse Sammy Spider’s First Book of Jewish Holidays by Sylvia A. Rouss, illus. by Katherine Janus Kahn. This is the 20th title and the first board book starring the spider, who learns about concepts as well as Jewish customs, holidays, and values. Also due in the fall is Sammy Spider’s First Yom Kippur. The publisher will release downloadable materials on its Web site this summer to help its customers celebrate Sammy Spider’s birthday.
Fifteen years ago, Harry Potter made his first splashdown—obviously a big one—on these shores, and Scholastic is celebrating the anniversary of the young wizard’s arrival with new Special Edition U.S. trade paperbacks of the seven installments in the series. These Arthur A. Levine releases feature new cover art by Kazu Kibuishi, author of the bestselling graphic novel series Amulet. The new editions will also be available as a boxed set. History suggests that Harry is well poised to attract new fans among readers just discovering the enchantments of Hogwarts: since the fall 1998 publication of the first book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, there are more than 150 million copies of the series in print in the U.S. alone—and worldwide sales top 450 million copies. Kibuishi will sign limited edition lithographs featuring the new cover art from the debut novel at the Scholastic booth (1638–1639) today at 10 a.m.
At booth C1281, Free Spirit Publishing celebrates 30 years of issuing books aimed at fulfilling the company’s mission “to help children and teens think for themselves, succeed in life, and make a difference in the world.” In 1983, founder Judy Galbraith published two books that grew out of her master’s thesis: The Gifted Kids’ Survival Guide and The Gifted Teen Survival Guide, which have more than 300,000 copies in print and have spawned additional survival guides. A landmark for the publisher was the 2000 release of the antibullying book, Hands Are Not for Hitting by Martine Agassi, illus. by Marieka Heinlen, which launched the Best Behavior series and has more than 500,000 copies in print. In honor of its 30th anniversary, the publisher is relaunching four of its most popular survival guides under the newly branded Free Spirit Survival Guides for Kids line. These include a revised and updated edition of The Survival Guide for Kids with Behavior Challenges: How to Make Good Choices and Stay Out of Trouble; The Survival Guide for Kids with ADHD; The Survival Guide for Gifted Kids: For Ages 10 and Under; and The Survival Guide for Kids with Autism Spectrum Disorders (And Their Parents). Visitors to the Chronicle Books booth (739) can pick up a poster—and munch on cookies—staffers are giving out in honor of the company’s 25th year of publishing children’s books. Launched under the aegis of editor Victoria Rock, the first children’s list included many imports from other countries, including Bus Stops by Japanese author Taro Gomi, which has remained in print for a quarter-century. One of the house’s top sellers, Mama Do You Love Me? by Barbara M. Joosse, illus. by Barbara Lavalee, was published in 1991 and currently has close to two million copies in print. And the imprint’s first book to reach the New York Times bestseller list was 2009’s Duck! Rabbit! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, illus. by Tom Lichtenheld.
And at booth C1585, Sleeping Bear Press is marking the 15th anniversary of the first book ever published by the house, The Legend of Sleeping Bear by Kathy-Jo Wargin, illus. by Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen. The company, which was acquired by Cherry Lake Publishing in 2012, has published numerous alphabet books, including one spotlighting each state; Tales of Young Americans, a line of historical fiction picture books; Courtney Sheinmel’s Stella Batts early chapter book series; and the I Am a Reader series of beginning chapter books. Today at 4 p.m., cake will be served to celebrate the anniversary, and a drawing will be held for pieces of original art by Kate Sullivan, author of On Linden Square, and Dana Sullivan, illustrator of Ozzie and the Art Contest. The first 50 partygoers to arrive will receive Stella Batts tote bags containing two novels.
A toast to all anniversary celebrants!