In its sixth year in business, Bushel & Peck Books is experiencing a dramatic growth spurt. Founded in 2018 by David and Stephanie Miles, the Fresno, Calif.-based children’s publisher last year registered a 424% growth in net sales over 2021 and has announced the creation of three new imprints. Beginning this spring, in addition to the Bushel & Peck list, whose core offerings will continue to be highly illustrated nonfiction and picture books, the house will publish titles under imprints devoted to middle-grade fiction and nonfiction (Milk + Cookies), poetry (Moonshower), and faith-based books (Sunbeam).

Each imprint will debut with a trio of titles. On April 4, Milk + Cookies will serve up The Honey Jar by Joan Schoettler, a novel in verse about siblings who flee Armenia in 1920 when Turkish soldiers invade—but one sister is left behind. Due on June 6 is Stormbringer: The Predator’s Stone by first-time author G.R. Boden, which stars an eighth-grade mortal who unexpectedly is assigned a mission by Odin. And Nic Jeter’s The Worst Wizard, centering on a magic-averse aspiring knight who lands at Magic School rather than Battle School, will pub August 1.

Moonshower launched on February 6 with The Illustrated Poets Collection: The Illustrated Walt Whitman, a compilation of 25 poems featuring cut collage art. Next up is Body Music: Poems About the Noises Your Body Makes by Jane Yolen and Ryan G. Van Cleave, illustrated by Luis San Vicente, a July 18 release, followed on August 8 by The Museum on the Moon by Irene Latham, illustrated by Myriam Wares, a collection of poems spotlighting objects left by humans on the lunar surface.

And Sunbeam kicks off on April 15 with The Blessed Pomegranates by A. Helwa, illustrated by Dasril Iqbal Al Faruqi, a story revealing the real meaning of Ramadan; God’s Earth Is Something to Fight For by Amy Houts, illustrated by Kris Smolskaya, a picture book discussing climate change and how kids can help, scheduled for release June 13; and Scientists of Faith by Christy Monson, illustrated by William Luong, an August 1 title introducing 30 scientists from different countries and eras who share an unshakeable faith in God.

Paving a Propitious Path

After graduating from Brigham Young University a decade ago, David Miles began his publishing career at Familius before founding his own company with his wife. “I love nothing more than making beautifully illustrated nonfiction books that inspire me,” he said. “Stephanie and I realized that establishing Bushel & Peck would give us the opportunity to do that, and to add a charitable component to the company.”

True to that goal, in an effort to combat childhood illiteracy, the publisher established the Book-for-Book Promise initiative, which involves donating one book to children in need for every Bushel & Peck book sold (a total of more than 300,000 books to date). This year, as the endeavor’s first large-scale donation, Bushel & Peck will distribute 100,000 copies of one of its books (yet to be specified) to teachers, librarians, nonprofits, and literacy organizations.

Miles has a clear vision of what he believes children’s nonfiction should be—and accomplish. “Kids are so intelligent and curious about the world,” he said. “Sometimes I think publishers do them a disservice by creating books that are too simple, too young, or too sweet. I hope our books will connect readers to the real world through literature and science in a way that is exciting, bold, and visual.”

The publisher also prioritizes an open-minded, balanced editorial philosophy. “We try really hard to make sure our books do not preach or tell only one side of the story,” he said. “We always want to present multiple sides of issues and to help kids think critically—and to give them a rich and broad exposure to how people think and feel.”

The company’s current expansion of its list exemplifies this editorial direction, as evidenced in the Sunbeam imprint. “Taking a more thoughtful approach to faith is something I am personally very passionate about,” Miles explained. “We decided not to make this exclusively a Christian imprint, but to encompass all faiths. Our goal with Sunbeam is to build bridges between all faiths, as well as bridges between faith and other disciplines.”

Miles, who attributes the company’s rapid growth to an expansion of its list, several standout high-selling titles, and the success of its direct-to-consumer marketing initiatives in recent years, has an auspicious forecast for the future. He noted that he anticipates “continued robust growth” in sales, projecting an increase in net sales in 2023 of more than 300% over the prior year.

The publisher said that he expects Bushel & Peck will continue to add three titles to each new imprint annually for the next few years, saying, “As we grow staff and resources, we plan to increase the number of books we add to each.”

It is obvious that Miles takes his company’s mission seriously. “In this time of digital saturation and with so many turbulent events in the world, it’s more important than ever for kids to connect with the physical world—through nature or art or the people in their lives—to get them excited about their world. I am gratified that our books provide young readers with tools to help them achieve that.”