Just in time for summer vacation, Quarto is meeting the needs of our youngest readers with two dynamic children’s book imprints. The company’s Ivy Kids line of children’s books is relaunching in 2021 with a renewed focus on ecological content—and a smaller carbon footprint to match. Meanwhile, Happy Yak is a new imprint specializing in books for children up to age seven.
Both the newly repositioned Ivy Kids and Happy Yak aim to stand out in the marketplace through distinctive books with content uniquely geared to their target readerships. Ivy Kids will continue to produce its signature books, which encourage thinking, playing, and creating. But the imprint is changing its methods of production to become fully sustainable. Ivy Kids has switched to 100% recycled materials and is partnering with a printer based in the United States. Additional changes to the refashioned Ivy Kids include minimizing its environmental impact by maintaining a boutique list and focusing on a small number of titles each year.
According to Quarto publisher Georgia Amson-Bradshaw, the decision to embrace sustainability arose through honest self-reflection and the desire for Quarto to be a leader of industry change. “Our youngest readers will inherit the Earth that we are creating right now,” Amson-Bradshaw says, “so we asked ourselves, how can we reduce the impact of our publishing on the environment and leave the planet in a healthier state?”
Long-term goals for Ivy Kids include eventually reaching a net-zero or even negative environmental impact. And the commitment to sustainability doesn’t stop with book materials and printing. Upcoming books will focus on ecological themes, telling environmental stories that encourage readers to care about the natural world. While the books address real-life concerns about threats to the planet, the titles are uplifting and galvanizing. “Climate change and biodiversity loss are scary,” Amson-Bradshaw says, “but connecting with nature brings deep joy and peace.”
The relaunch of Ivy Kids kicks off with the publication of When We Went Wild, a picture book by conservationist Isabella Tree about the benefits of allowing nature to replenish, and Let’s Go for a Walk, a nature-centered activity book. In the fall, Ivy Kids will publish the first two titles in the Little Homesteader series, books that introduce readers to the joys of eco-friendly, seasonal living.
Readers too young for Ivy Kids will find a sweet spot at Happy Yak, which specializes in books for preschool readers—titles that, according to Quarto associate publisher Rhiannon Findlay, value a dynamic blend of design and content. “We have a thorough understanding of child development, from fine motor skills through to sensory development,” Findlay says. “So our range of forthcoming novelty books is especially exciting due to the originality and creativity of the formats.”
The imprint’s range of offerings includes cloth, bath, and paper-engineered board books, as well as picture books and nonfiction titles. As the imprint takes shape, Findlay has her sights set on making the line “instantly recognizable by clear branding, bright colors, and commercial, trend-led topics.”
Happy Yak launches in June 2021 with the board books Animal ABC, Animal 123, and Animal Colors; Claire Alexander’s A Little Bit of Courage; and The World’s Most Pointless Animals, an illustrated nonfiction title by Philip Bunting.
Both Amson-Bradshaw and Findlay plan to reach booksellers and readers through innovative marketing strategies as well as by establishing unique business and community partnerships. Happy Yak has an existing brand partnership with toy company Wee Gallery and will be partnering with partyware company Meri Meri in 2022.
Amson-Bradshaw is eager to see readers positively affected by the environmental themes presented in Ivy Kids’ new books. She also hopes that the imprint’s sustainability will help engender greater change within the publishing world.
“Our holistic marketing approach will include connecting to environmental organizations who share these values, as well as reaching out to parents and educators,” Amson-Bradshaw says. “It’s very exciting to think about how publishing can contribute to a cleaner, healthier, life-giving world.”