Chronicle Books has reached an agreement in principle to acquire SeaStar Books, an imprint of North-South Books. North-South, which is struggling to remain in business, put the imprint up for sale this spring. Chronicle was the logical buyer since it has been North-South's distributor since 1997. The deal is set to close by the end of the month.

The purchase will add about 90 active titles to Chronicle's children's division, as well as the rights to an unspecified number of books under contract. SeaStar was founded in 2000 and focuses primarily on illustrated books. Among its authors and illustrators are Jerry Pinkney, Michael Hague and Diane deGroat. Chronicle will maintain the SeaStar name as an imprint under the direction of Victoria Rock, associate publisher of children's books at Chronicle.