Bestselling author Hill Harper, who portrays Dr. Sheldon Hawkes on CSI: NY, is launching a multicultural children’s publishing house, Harper & Wells Books, with teen author Pamela Wells in February.
“I’ve been wanting to have my own multicultural children’s book publishing imprint for some time,” said Harper, who is the author of Letters to a Young Brother and Letters to a Young Sister, among others. “My focus is on publishing books about black issues. I have always wanted a children’s book imprint that represents our voices. This is an extension of my belief that you manifest your own destiny in life.”
First up is Harper’s The Wiley Boys, a middle-grade novel about three sports-obsessed, adopted brothers who become junior agents at the Sports Bureau of Investigations, which is due out later this month. In June, Harper & Wells will publish Wells’s Willow Fedler’s Rules for Girls, about a 12-year-old “Oprah” who shares experiences and advice. In addition, the new press will publish two more books in Wells’s bestselling The Heartbreakers series, previously published by Scholastic, later this year. A movie based on the series, Hot Mess, featuring actress Selena Gomez, is due out in 2013.
Harper plans to contact celebrity friends, including NBA stars, to write books with positive messages for young people. The press will be distributed to the trade by New Leaf Sales and Distribution Services in Lithia Springs, Ga. “We are thrilled to be working with Harper & Wells to see that their books get thorough exposure in all appropriate markets,” said New Leaf CEO Alim Thompson.