Starting in fall 2011, Simon & Schuster’s Atheneum imprint will publish the first two books in William Joyce’s new series, The Guardians of Childhood, which will present the histories of such childhood icons as Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, the Sandman, and the Easter Bunny. The series will consist of 13 books—seven chapter books and six picture books—with the first two titles, The Man in the Moon (a picture book) and Nicholas St. North and the Battle of the Nightmare King (a chapter book coauthored by Joyce and Laura Geringer) releasing this fall.

Atheneum publisher Justin Chanda and editorial director Caitlyn Dlouhy negotiated the book deal, which includes translation and audio rights, with Michael Siegel of Michael Siegel & Associates, Inc. Geringer will edit the Guardians picture books and Dlouhy the chapter books.

A second crop of three books are due in fall 2012 to coincide with the release of Rise of the Guardians, a DreamWorks Animation film that will be directed by Peter Ramsey with Joyce co-directing. DreamWorks recently announced that actors Chris Pine (Jack Frost), Hugh Jackman (Bunnymund aka the Easter Bunny), Jude Law (Pitch aka the Boogeyman), Alec Baldwin (North aka Santa Claus), and Isla Fisher (Tooth aka the Tooth Fairy) will voice the lead roles in the film.

“I’ve been working on a unified mythology for the icons of childhood since my daughter was born in 1991,” said Joyce in a release. “As a parent I felt that Santa Claus, the Man in the Moon, all of them had become a little diminished. They deserve to be thought of as grand. Heroic. Epic. If Spider-Man has an origins mythology then why not the characters we actually believed in? Their stories became my mission. It’s great to see it finally taking shape.”

In addition to authoring children’s books including George Shrinks, Dinosaur Bob and His Adventures with the Family Lazardo, and Santa Calls, Joyce is the Emmy-winning creator of the Rolie Polie Olie series as well as the feature films Robots and Meet the Robinsons.