DK has signed a global licensing deal with Mrs. Wordsmith, a direct-to-consumer brand of educational books, apps, and games. The series will encompass curriculum-based illustrated titles and educational materials focused on reading and writing topics, from phonics to vocabulary to spelling, aimed at kids in pre-K through elementary school. After a launch in the U.K. and Australia/New Zealand in August 2021, the range will debut in the U.S. and Canada in January 2022, with other global markets to follow.

Mrs. Wordsmith, founded in 2015, approached DK last year to see if it could work with the company to distribute its existing books, which it the company has been selling direct on the Mrs. Wordsmith website, at retail. “When we started looking at it, we thought it was a natural fit for this to become a licensing deal,” said Mark Searle, DK’s publishing director of licensing. “The characters are vibrant and engaging and it deals with educational content in a way that feels fresh. It’s a great addition to the DK range.”

DK is reformatting, reworking, and renaming some of Mrs. Wordsmith’s existing books for retail as well as discussing new series and content to bring into the line. Titles are adapted to fit the educational curriculum in each market in collaboration with Mrs. Wordsmith’s board of pedagogic experts.

The first list includes six titles: Storyteller’s Word a Day and How to Write a Story, both for third through fifth grades, as well as Epic Words Vocabulary Book, ABC Handwriting Book, Kindergarten English Colossal Workbook, and Grade 1 English Gargantuan Workbook, all for age ranges of third grade or below. Accompanying the first six books will be the Mrs. Wordsmith Phonics Blah Blah Blah Card Game. The plan is to publish 10 to 15 books and products per year.

Searle said the Mrs. Wordsmith materials came in handy at his house during Covid homeschooling. “My daughter responded to them very well and that was invaluable,” he said. “They include what you learn in English class, in a friendly way that engages kids and helps parents.”

Both Mrs. Wordsmith and DK are in the early stages of expanding their reach into schools and libraries, and Searle believes distribution into this market will scale up in the next 12 to 18 months. Retail distribution for the line is through both mass merchants and trade bookstores.