This summer Globe Pequot, the trade imprint of Rowman & Littlefield, will launch Muddy Boots, its first children’s imprint. Designed to help kids ages 12 and under engage with the outdoors, the imprint will bring together books by bestselling authors across R&L imprints, including Linda Kranz and Carmen LaVigna Coyle, whose books for Taylor Publishing have sold over two million copies, along with Ranger Rick nonfiction titles created in partnership with the National Wildlife Federation.
“Like everyone who cares about the future of book publishing, we’ve been pleased to note the exceptional strength of the children’s market in recent years,” Globe Pequot publisher Jim Childs said. “We also see a real business opportunity here for us, given our strong backlist of kids’ books that have performed exceedingly well in nontraditional markets, combined with our deep connection to the outdoor retail community.”
The name Muddy Boots was taken from Liza Gardner Walsh’s outdoor activity book, which was published by R&L’s Down East imprint last year. “There’s something that sounds fun and adventurous about Muddy Boots,” media engagement manager Sharon Kunz said. “For me it resonates,” she added. It also resonated with other staffers and friends who were surveyed about potential names.
Globe Pequot executive editor Rick Rinehart will serve as editorial director of the new children’s imprint. Muddy Boots will publish 17 books over the course of its inaugural year, 25 to 30 in 2017, and build to 40 titles a year by 2020. Five Ranger Rick books, including Ranger Rick’s Travels: National Parks! and Animal Fun for Young Children: Busy Moms, will be issued in July. Altogether nine Ranger Rick titles and three sets of flashcards on backyard wildlife, birding, and bug spotting are due out this year’ another eight to 10 Ranger Rick titles will be published each year for the next four years.
The imprint’s 2016 list will also include two books from rock painter Kranz, winner of an IRA Children’s Choice Award. A counting book, One Yellow Fish, will publish in August, and a story about friendship, Orange Fish, Green Fish is due out in October. Coyle’s Do Princesses... series about an inquisitive girl also gets a new addition this fall with Do Princesses and Superheroes Hit the Trail?, a national park adventure illustrated by Mike Gordon.
Sales of both Coyle’s and Kranz’s previous R&L titles have come almost exclusively from outdoor retail, mass merchandisers, gift and specialty retail. “Uniting them with a family of related titles supported by a focused marketing effort, and expanding their reach into the trade and children’s specialty markets, presents an exciting opportunity,” Rinehart said.
Going forward, Rinehart noted that the goal of Muddy Boots titles is “to celebrate wonder. We’ll invite kids of all ages to go further, dig deeper, think bigger.”