The Berenstain Bears Living Lights brand from Zonderkidz recently surpassed the five million mark in total units sold since the brand launched in 2008.
Husband and wife team Stan and Jan Berenstain began writing and illustrating the Berenstain Bears books in 1962 for original publisher Random House. In 2003, HarperCollins acquired frontlist rights to the franchise, and, following the deaths of Stan and Jan in 2005 and 2012, respectively, their son Mike assumed the role of author and illustrator for all the Berenstain Bears products, including the Living Lights brand. The faith-based line focuses on the spiritual side of family life, tackling issues of manners, morality, holidays, and religious beliefs.
"I had no concept of the long life the books would have, independently [of the original brand]," Berenstain told PW. "I hope to continue creating new books in the Living Lights line for many years to come."
Annette Bourland, senior v-p and group publisher of Zonderkidz, an imprint of HarperCollins Christian Publishing, said she is thrilled with the success from Living Lights. “I couldn’t wish for a better outcome,” she told PW.
There are 75 unique titles in the brand, including The Berenstain Bears and the Golden Rule, The Berenstain Bears Say Their Prayers, The Berenstain Bears and the Easter Story, and the recently released The Berenstain Bears and the Very First Christmas.
“The content deals with things that parents and teachers face every day, not lofty concepts or a particular agenda. And [the books use] common language that doesn’t come across as heavy-handed,” Bourland said. “There is truth there for every person, no matter their religion.”
The total number of Berenstain Bears books published to date, including the Zonderkidz titles, is 403. The books, which are available in 23 languages, have sold more than 250 million copies, making the Berenstain Bears one of the bestselling children’s book series of all time.