Rodale Books has announced plans to launch Rodale Kids, a new imprint that will publish a variety of fiction and nonfiction titles geared to infants, children, and teens. The new imprint will release its first 10 titles in fall 2017, with plans to eventually publish 30–45 titles per year. The books will be distributed by Macmillan, Rodale’s longtime distribution partner.
Rodale Kids will be headed by Rodale v-p and publisher Gail Gonzales, along with Eric Wight, Rodale’s creative and editorial director of children’s media. In an interview, Gonzales said the imprint will focus on picture books, chapter books, early-reader titles, graphic novels, and gift books, with an emphasis on Rodale’s specialty: fitness, self-help, and health.
Describing the launch of Rodale Kids, Maria Rodale, who is the company chairman, CEO, and president, said that a children’s imprint has “long been a dream of mine.” She said the new imprint would expand the Rodale Books publishing program “into the children’s space” and added that “it’s time to nurture our mission—to inspire health, healing, and happiness—among young readers and their families.”
Rodale is best known as a publisher of books and magazines focused on health and fitness for adults, and this is its first effort to target the children’s and YA market. Gonzales said the imprint is being launched because “now we have the right people in place.” She specifically named Wight, who is an Eisner Award–winning cartoonist and a highly regarded children’s book illustrator, and Rodale associate publisher Kathleen Schmidt, who joined the company this spring after overseeing marketing for Running Press.
Rodale Kids will have a dedicated staff. Gonzales said she has hired digital, marketing, and design personnel for the line who will work along with “the [general] Rodale staff of over 30 people.” Though Wight is based in Rodale’s headquarters in Emmaus, Pa., the Rodale Kids’ staff, she said, will be mostly based in Rodale’s Manhattan office.
Among the launch titles is an as yet untitled teen fitness book by star health and fitness author Tracy Anderson; Chef Gino’s Taste Test Challenge, a book focused on kids’ cooking by chef Gino Campagna; and Backseat Yoga by children’s music and yoga expert Kira Willey, which will focus on movement and breathing exercises, designed for kids ages four to eight. The Rodale Kids line will also publish graphic novels “where it makes sense,” Gonzales said. She said the imprint’s first graphic novel will be part of what the publisher’s publicity materials described as an “action-packed” Team Taekwondo series, which Rodale will produce in collaboration with the American Taekwondo Association. The book will feature a cast of animal characters that learn life lessons via martial arts training.
“We’ve discussed [starting an imprint] with our partner Macmillan, which has a great kids’ program, and we’ve hired a consultant and done focus groups on both coasts,” Gonzales said. “When you look at how the kids’ category has grown, it makes sense to do this now,” she said. “There’s no better time to start a kids line.”
Correction: an earlier version of this article had an incorrect start date for the imprint and misidentified author Tracy Anderson.