Like many fathers, Adam Gamble was eager to share stories about the world around him with his children—Miki and Jack, ages six and three. But Gamble went a few steps further than most dads. He created a publishing venture—Good Night Our World of Books—to write and publish colorful board books about New England, where he lives, and other communities throughout the U.S. By the end of the year he will have 28 books in the series, including three general titles on beaches, zoos and America as a whole.
"I had the Good Night Our World of Books board books in mind since Miki was born in 2000," says Gamble, who published the first two, Good Night Boston and Good Night Cape Cod, through On Cape Publications, a regional publishing house he founded a decade ago in 1997. Because of their success, Gamble decided to take the series national and formed a separate publishing program last year. The inspiration, he says, came not only from Margaret Wise Brown's children's classic, Goodnight Moon, but from Peggy Rathbone's Good Night, Gorilla, a Gamble family favorite. "It was clear," says Gamble, "that she was writing it in a genre of good night books." His personal twist on the genre (Gamble writes most of the books in addition to publishing them) means that each describes real places over the course of a day and over the seasons, from spring to winter.
"The main thing for me," says Gamble, 'is creating valuable books for kids and their families. We spend a lot of time making sure the books are authentic, showing them to local people and visiting every place." He also works hard to avoid making them formulaic.
The series is off to a strong start according to Mark Suchomel, president of Independent Publishers Group, which began distributing Good Night Our World of Books last year. "They're doing really well. We're getting them in in big quantities, and we're moving them through. There's really nothing that's a clunker. He's chosen well," says Suchomel. Although the books are selling well in children's stores, he cites them as "one of our stronger gift lines. It's really helped our push into gift stores."
Lindsay Brown, manager of Chicago Kids, Bookstore & More in Wrigleyville, Ill., says that Good Night Our World of Books Chicago is "our biggest seller. We keep it in the Chicago section, the baby section and in the window." She also does well with Good Night America and recently ordered one of each of the other books in the series.
Gamble says that he plans to continue adding more cities and communities in the U.S. and will possibly expand the series beyond. If so, he will likely start with London, which is where his wife, Rachel Gamble, the company's business manager, is from. Other foreign cities on his short list include Paris and Tokyo.