Religion Update CoverFor any believer, no matter what their religious persuasion, passing on the tenets of the faith to their children is a key task of parenting, and books are a primary resource. Recent years have seen a surge in activity in religion/spirituality publishing for kids, with new lines and imprints springing up and ambitious efforts by publishers to improve the quality of both text and art. Many religion houses are no longer content to produce books that will make limited appearances

in a few religion specialty stores or Sunday school classes. They want to play with the big kids, and are seeking space alongside Newbery and Caldecott winners in general-interest bookstores and on children's bookshelves at home.

Along with increasing sophistication in content and illustration has come sharper marketing savvy, as publishers take advantage of the power of branding and create character franchises that embrace not only books but also video, audio, games and toys. Bestselling authors of adult titles are getting into the act, their already big names being counted on to propel books for children and tweens to the head of the class.

In this issue of Update we take a fresh look at the active world of religion publishing for kids, examining trends and new titles and defining some of the challenges. Making and marketing kids' religion books is an expensive proposition, one fraught with risk yet vital to the missions of publishers committed to meeting the needs of our youngest citizens.

What's Inside

"Selling Like Hamburgers"
The pearly gates meet the golden arches in this year's religion offerings for children

"The Good News On Sidelines"
Powerhouse properties lead children's product categories

"Books in Brief"
New installments of some of the bestselling series

"In Profile"
Spiritually speaking to kids

"All Faiths Calendar"
Selected observances for September through November