In 1999, when Cate Monroe and Bob Holtzman founded Moon Mountain Publishing in Kingston, R.I., they decided to focus on children's picture books, like Leslie Bulion's Fatuma's New Cloth, illustrated by Nicole Tadgell, which received the 2003 Children's Africana Book Award from the African Studies Association. "For the past two years, we've been looking for a niche. The general trade children's area is so competitive we needed something to supplement it," Holtzman, who handles sales and marketing, told PW.
The niche turned out to be right under their feet—the Ocean State itself. Beginning in January, Moon Mountain will concentrate on regional Rhode Island titles in a broad range of formats. "Rhode Islanders have a strong sense of being Rhode Islanders. They want to read books about themselves. We're talking with booksellers, librarians, historians, people in the tourist trade market. We've identified dozens of books the market will respond to," said Holtzman.
Going forward, Moon Mountain's publishing mix will be predominantly nonfiction titles for both adults and children. The inaugural Rhode Island list includes two children's titles: a picture book on the black regiment of the American Revolution and Boats and Ships of Rhode Island, a coloring book/field guide for ages five to 10. During the coming year, Moon Mountain plans to accelerate its publishing schedule to six books a year, up from four. Starting October 1, its books are distributed to the trade by National Book Network.