Agate Publishing is launching a line of books for children, under its Bolden Books imprint, which will publish fiction and nonfiction by African-American writers. The imprint, which will be curated by author Denene Millner, marks Agate's first foray into children's literature.
Denene Millner Books will debut in February 2017 with the release of Early Sunday Morning, which will be written by Millner herself and illustrated by Vanessa Brantley. Moving forward, the imprint will aim to release four fiction and nonfiction titles annually, ranging from picture books to YA novels. Millner, an established children's author (who has written picture books, middle grade and YA) will be in charge of acquisitions and editing; she will partner with Agate’s marketing and publicity team on marketing and publicity strategies.
“This [line] is a love letter to children of color who deserve to see their beauty and humanity in the most remarkable form of entertainment on the planet: books,” said Millner, who is also the founding editor of MyBrownBaby, a parenting blog that explores the intersections of parenting and race.
Recalling how difficult it was to find books with African-American protagonists when she was raising her own daughters, Millner said she has been wanting to do a project like this for years. When she mentioned the idea to Agate publisher Doug Seibold, he proposed a partnership.
“We’ve developed a unique business relationship that is largely the result of her very warm, open-handed approach to collaboration,” Seibold stated in a release.
Speaking to the books she intends to publish, Millner said they will share the experience of being a child "from the perspectives of African-American children." She continued: "Even if white folks don’t read them, these stories still deserve to be told, and children deserve to see themselves in books. I want to see the humanity of African-American children reflected in the books they read.”
Agate Publishing, which was founded in Evanston, Ill., in 2003, has five imprints that release a range of titles across categories like cooking, business, and nutrition.