In 2006, Sourcebooks took an auspicious leap into the children’s arena with Poetry Speaks to Children, edited by Elise Paschen, illus. by Wendy Rasmussen. Packaged with a CD of poets reading their works, this 128-page collection was inspired by the publisher’s bestselling 2001 adult title, Poetry Speaks. The children’s offshoot in turn inspired the 2007 launch of Jabberwocky, Sourcebooks’ children’s imprint.
Ten years later, Poetry Speaks to Children has more than 225,000 copies in print, and Jabberwocky’s list has expanded to encompass a wide range of genres and bestsellers. Within a decade, according to data the publisher cites from a Nielson Bookscan November 2016 report, Sourcebooks’ children’s program has become the 16th largest children’s publisher in the U.S.
Just a decade since the publisher released its debut book for young readers, children’s and YA book sales account for more than 50% of the company’s business, reports Sourcebooks v-p and editorial director Todd Stocke. “From the start, Jabberwocky strove to develop a very broad-based list, in terms of genres and formats, which is one of the hallmarks of Sourcebooks,” he says.Providing evidence of that wide editorial swath are some of the imprint’s top-selling books, which range from I Love You More by Laura Duksta, illus. by Karen Keesle, to Hip Hop Speaks to Children, edited by Nikki Giovanni, and The Greatest Moments in Sports by Len Berman.
Jabberwocky’s editorial director, Steve Geck, who joined Sourcebooks from Greenwillow in 2011, gained an appreciation for a wide scope of genres by spending time in his parents’ bookstore. ”What we look for at Jabberwocky,” he says, “are great stories and cool storytelling.”
Sourcebooks’ offerings for young readers have multiplied and diversified with the addition of the Sourcebooks Fire YA imprint in 2010, which Geck also oversees. That same year, the publisher acquired certain assets, including 64 backlist titles, of the gift book publisher Marianne Richmond Studios. Stocke reports that Sourcebooks has sold three million copies of Richmond’s books. This fall, Jabberwocky will release three new titles by the author: If I Could Keep You Little, The Night Night Book, and Beautiful Blue Eyes.
Jabberwocky has also expanded its list with the addition of books published in partnership with licensors like Sesame Workshop and Sandra Magsamen, as well as regional and holiday-specific titles. And in June 2016 Sourcebooks hired Kelly Barrales-Saylor as editorial director for children’s nonfiction, to grow the publisher’s list in that area. This past January, she spearheaded Jabberwocky’s partnership with March 4th, under which Sourcebooks acquired the publishing rights to the company’s Little Pickle Press titles.
Barrales-Saylor also heads a new board-book series that headlines Jabberwocky’s fall list: Chris Ferrie’s Baby University. This series gives toddlers a jump-start in science basics, with such offerings as Quantum Physics for Babies and General Relativity for Babies.
Visitors to the Sourcebooks booth (2521) can enter a 10th anniversary raffle to win a library of bestselling Jabberwocky titles, and pick up giveaways promoting fall releases from the publisher’s imprints.