Sandra Magsamen and Scholastic’s Cartwheel Books imprint are releasing a new series of Let’s Play! interactive board books centered on simple childhood games, starting with six titles in May.
Magsamen has been working with Scholastic for 25 years on more than 50 interactive board books, with a total of 10 million copies in print. She was talking with her team at Cartwheel about how much she enjoyed playing with the young students during school visits, and that prompted the idea for a series of books that combine reading, game time, and imaginative play.
All of Magsamen’s books with Scholastic include novelty elements that support the theme and extend the message in a 3D interactive way, but the Let’s Play! titles take that a step further. “We’ve been doing this all along, but we thought, let’s be more deliberate and disciplined to create a line of books about play,” she told PW. “Play has always been part of the journey, but now it’s evolved to this.”
The first list of Let’s Play! Board Books will include two titles each for three different games or play patterns. Each book includes a game board, pieces, and/or other interactive features that provide the platform for the game play, with each spread containing a poem and a new iteration of the game. Let’s Play: I Love Farm Animals and Let’s Play: I Love School include a viewfinder with die-cuts to show different images, while Bingo: Dinosaurs, Bingo: Love Bug, Tic-Tac-Toe: Monsters on the Go, and Tic-Tac-Toe: I Love You So all include a game board and pogs. Siblings of different ages can play together, and the books open up new conversations between children and their parents or caregivers, Magsamen said.
She pointed out that play is a form of love since the players are choosing to spend time together. Play is also an opportunity to learn concepts such as communication, taking turns, following directions, problem-solving, and how to lose. “All the important developmental milestones happen as a result of play,” Magsamen said. The logo for the Let’s Play! series includes the phrase “Learning through play every day!”
Like all of Magsamen’s work, the books center on themes including love, acceptance, curiosity, identifying your dreams, and friendship. “All my work focuses on connecting one heart to another, no matter the medium,” said Magsamen, who is a therapist as well as an author and artist. “It’s that shared connection, whether it’s pottery or children’s books or greeting cards. I’m always trying to move that idea forward as a therapist, a writer, and a mother.”
More Let’s Play! titles will follow the initial list. Meanwhile, Magsamen’s other novelty board book series with Scholastic are ongoing as well. She also continues to work with Sourcebooks on picture books, which are adapted into board book and personalized editions, and with a variety of partners on licensed products including quilted fabric book kits, yoga and play mats, greeting cards, flower arrangements, and bamboo children’s tableware, among others.
Magsamen garners more than 75 million impressions per month through her retail presence, website, media attention, and Instagram, according to Scholastic. Support for the new Let’s Play! line will include “play dates” with the author, both online and in-school, as well as displays at Barnes & Noble stores.