Next spring, Cottage Door Press will debut a book series for children up to 5, in partnership with the Jane Goodall Institute. The books will be marketed under the Jane & Me label. The Institute is a global conservation organization advancing the work of Dr. Jane Goodall, who has worked to protect chimpanzees in Tanzania for 60 years as well as serving as a champion for the environment.
“Jane is a tireless advocate for empowering the individual, even at a young age, to make the world better for all living things,” said Melissa Tigges, Cottage Door’s director of marketing and partnerships. She explained that the publishing program will reflect Goodall’s belief that if children learn to care about animals at a young age, they will be able to translate that into a desire to protect the environment later in life.
“We’re keeping the message simple for different ages and stages,” Tigges said. “At age 0–2, it’s just about loving and learning about animals. By age 4–5, we can add some simple information about what the kids can do to help the Earth. It’s not a heavy-handed conservation message.”
The first list will include two Love & Learn board books focused on emotions (Care and Family); a lift-the-flap board book featuring two of Goodall’s original chimps, Flo and Fifi, a larger-format chimpanzee puppet book; an Explore & Find title; and Animal Field Journal, a five-button sound book highlighting animal sounds and featuring photos (some taken by Goodall), as well as illustrations. There will also be a limited-edition book-and-toy set featuring Family and an elephant toy from Green Toys. Two more books will follow in summer 2021.
The first titles are centered largely on animals from Tanzania and the Gombe National Park, where Goodall has long done her research, but going forward there will be opportunities to expand to animals from regions around the world, along with other nature and conservation topics.
In keeping with the pro-environmental mission, the books are produced with FSC-certified paper, soy-based inks, bamboo, and recyclable plastic. “We’re taking as sustainable an approach as we can,” Tigges said. Cottage Door Press is also the first publisher to participate in 1% for the Planet, a group whose members pledge to contribute 1% of annual sales to environmental causes; as such, 1% of Jane & Me’s sales, on top of the licensing royalty, will go back to the institute. The books will also reinforce the institute’s Roots and Shoots children’s educational initiative, by mentioning it in the introductions to each title, where space allows.
Tigges noted that Goodall has been in the news this year, which marks her 60th anniversary as a naturalist, scientist, and environmental activist. She has been featured on shows from Ellen to 60 Minutes, for example, and made appearances with her friends Prince Harry and Greta Thunberg. “She continues to spread a message of hope and compassion, which is very relevant today,” Tigges said.