Moshi Monsters, the online virtual world for children licensed by Mind Candy, has expanded its U.S. publishing program. Penguin Young Readers Group will serve as the master licensee, with plans including sticker/activity books, pick-a-path chapter books, 8x8s, and guidebooks, among other formats.

The first three to four titles will roll out in fall 2013. “We want to align with the consumer products,” says Lori Burke, Penguin Group USA’s director of licensing. Mind Candy launched a limited selection of consumer products last fall at Toys ‘R’ Us and is in the process of expanding the program.

Moshi Monster skews toward girls and has a wide age range. Penguin plans to offer diverse formats to reach both younger girls, down to age five, who like the decor and gaming aspects of the site, and those as old as 10-12, who like the social networking aspects. This diversity will also allow Penguin to offer books at a range of price points and supply retailers with floor displays.

Some of the titles will be original to the U.S. market, with others adapted from Penguin U.K.’s list, which includes 10 or so titles published since late 2010. “We have such a great library to pull from, it would be silly of us not to look at their track record and bring some of their bestsellers to the market here,” Burke says.

Burke says Penguin plans to roll out the program strategically. “Shelf space is so limited now and we want to think about sell-through,” she says. “We want to wait until kids are thinking about Moshi Monsters books and we want mom to be looking for them. We think we’re coming in at the right time.”

Other publishers on Moshi Monsters’ licensee roster include DK for a character encyclopedia and Ultimate Sticker Collection, the latter in fall 2012; Prima for a strategy guide tied to the Moshling Zoo Nintendo DS game, released last November; Reader’s Digest for search-and-find and trading card titles to be published in July; and Scholastic for a handbook, released last spring. In addition, Skyjack, the U.K. publisher of Moshi Magazine, is launching a version for the U.S./Canada market.

“We’re happy that these other publishers are on board with their proprietary formats,” Burke says. “All the partners are fueling the awareness that this is a book program.”