Scholastic has secured the global publishing rights for Karma’s World, a CG-animated series for viewers ages six to nine, set for a November 2021 release on Netflix. The show is produced by 9 Story Media Group, along with Karma’s World Entertainment, and licensed by 9 Story’s consumer products division, 9 Story Brands. Rapper, actor, philanthropist, and founder of Karma’s World Entertainment Chris “Ludacris” Bridges created the property.
“It was two years ago or more when we met with 9 Story at Licensing Show,” said Debra Dorfman, v-p and publisher, global licensing, media, and brands for Scholastic. “The show didn’t even have a distributor yet. But I loved the look of it, I loved the storyline, and I loved that they wrote a really smart character with great friendship stories. It was just a great fit for us.”
The series, which Dorfman described as humorous and heartfelt, focuses on 10-year-old Karma Grant, an aspiring rapper and hip-hop artist. It is a coming-of-age story about a young Black girl finding her voice, through her original rhymes, and using it to change her world.
Publishing plans to date call for three chapter books, starting with The Great Shine-a-Thon Showcase! in January 2022. A second will follow in March and a third in late summer. All are original rather than episode-based. “I think kids will want to read the expanded stories they don’t see on TV,” Dorfman said.
A picture book focusing on a young Karma writing her first song, for her father’s birthday, will come out in May 2022, with plans to promote it for Father’s Day. There will also be a guided journal in summer 2022 that encourages girls to try their hand at raps and rhymes. Scholastic will launch the books in North America, the U.K., and Australia first, with other markets to follow.
Bridges is very involved in the process. “He’s on every call,” Dorfman said. “This is a passion project for Chris. He has been working on it for many years and putting his heart and soul into it.” Bridges is co-authoring the picture book, along with Karma’s World head writer Halcyon Person, who is also the author of the first two chapter books.
The Karma’s World titles will be featured in Scholastic’s Power of Story catalog, which promotes books highlighting underrepresented groups, including titles related to race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, physical and mental abilities, religion, and culture.