Record-breaking sports and cultural moments, groundbreaking inventions and discoveries, pivotal military battles, and dinosaur discoveries are some of the phenomena spotlighted in This Day in History for Kids:1001 Remarkable Moments and Fascinating Facts, published last month by Hearst Home Kids in partnership with the History Channel.

Written by Dan Bova and illustrated by Russell Shaw, this visual compendium follows the calendar year, chronicling multiple events that occurred on that date in history, and features original art and archival photos. It is the first-ever book for young readers from the History Channel, which is a division of A+E Networks, a joint venture between Hearst and the Walt Disney Company.

“When we decided to get into the middle-grade history market, we began talking to the team at the History Channel about how we could extend our relationship into the print space,” Jacqueline Deval, v-p and publisher, Hearst Books and Hearst Specials, explained. “We knew that the History Channel was the ideal brand to help us enter the history market in the right way to bring the subject to life for kids.”

The Team Behind the Book

According to Deval, Nicole Fisher, deputy books director at Hearst Books, had the initial idea for This Day in History. Deval emphasized that creating the book “was very much a collaborative effort, with Nicole taking the lead on the day-to-day editing, and me diving right in, given my deep interest in history, which was my major in college. And the experts at the History Channel team gave the book a close read as well.”

Deval praised Bova and Shaw for their complementary contributions to the book, noting, “Dan and Russell both hit all the right notes, and brought a light tone and touches of humor to the book, which is so important to kids as an entry point, and makes history come alive for them.”

The author and illustrator, who previously collaborated on Hearst Home Kids’ Popular Mechanics: The Big Little Book of Awesome Stuff (2023), concurred from the start that a compilation of historical facts for middle graders called for a balanced perspective. “While we wanted to have it packed with fun, wacky, and inspiring moments, we agreed that it should cover important and serious topics as well,” Bova said. “From there, I began my research and created a detailed outline. I was very lucky to have access to the History Channel’s archives and the assistance of fact-checker Nate Barksdale, who was enormously helpful.”

After completing the manuscript (much of which Bova wrote at a bowling alley in the Bronx while waiting for his son’s school team’s practice to end, with constant interruptions by bowlers asking him to reset their pins), the author handed Shaw “a gigantic pile of words and said, ‘Good luck buddy!’ ” The illustrator did not disappoint.

“I was absolutely blown away by how Russell put it all together,” Bova recalled. “He has great instincts for what needs to be illustrated, what can stand alone as text, where we wanted a silly caption, and where to play it straight.”

Shaw noted that his past work experience with Bova and advice from a photo expert smoothed his way. “Dan and I had a good enough rapport and sense of the work to divide and conquer,” Shaw said. “I did several passes to select a lot of the photography, but I also had a really great photo editor, Cinzia Reale-Castello [a staffer at Hearst Books], who did an amazing job helping push back on certain photos, find other ways to highlight the same idea, or track down a good historical reference image.”

Thinking Forward

Deval reflected on the path that Hearst Home Kids, launched in 2019, is following to grow its list. “As the children’s market relies on trusted brands, we are exploring three key opportunities,” she said. “We’re continuing to grow our own brands’ presence in the kids’ market, including Car & Driver, Country Living, Delish, Food Network, Good Housekeeping, Popular Mechanics, and Road & Track. Our brands’ audiences have a huge appetite for kids’ books.”

The imprint is also actively seeking other brand partners, like the History Channel, to help them express their brands in print. And Hearst Home Kids, as its parent company has done successfully on the adult side, is open to licensing its own brands to publishing partners who have expertise in a category that the children’s imprint might not have, such as children’s fiction.

Deval highlighted several stars on the Hearst Home Kids backlist, all of which have returned to press multiple times: Food Network Magazine Big Fun Kids Cookbook by Maile Carpenter and Liz Sgroi (2020); Good Housekeeping’s Amazing Science by Aubre Andrus and Rachel Rothman (2021); Delish: The Delish Kids (Super–Awesome, Crazy-Fun, Best-Ever) Cookbook by Joanna Saltz and the editors of Delish (2021); and Road & Track Big Fast Cars by Dan Bova and the editors of Road & Track (2022).

On the horizon for Hearst Home Kids are Funtastic by Amanda Kingloff and the editors of Country Living, a compilation of 175 boredom-busting indoor and outdoor activities for kids, due in June. Following in August is In Your Feels by Emily Eldynn, featuring a foreword by Good Housekeeping’s parenting editor Marisa LaScala, a guided journal to help kids identify their feelings and cope with stress, which marks the imprint’s first foray into emotional wellness and character development. And planned for 2025 is Delish How-To Cookbook for Young Foodies.

This Day in History for Kids: 1001 Remarkable Moments and Fascinating Facts by Dan Bova, illus. by Russell Shaw. Hearst Home Kids, $25 Mar. ISBN 978-1-958395-79-0