In America's Shadow was the first book published by Thomas George Books, and the title has set a high standard for the two-year old publisher. Shadow, which documents the history of Japanese-Americans from turn-of-the-century immigration to the internment camps of World War II, as seen through the eyes of a young girl and her grandfather, has won numerous awards including the PW /PMA Rising Star Award given at this year's BEA. "It's a difficult subject to handle and we've been very gratified with the response," said Shirley Torres, who cofounded TGB along with the book's authors, Kimberly and Kaleigh Komatsu.
Torres, a retired elementary school teacher, launched TGB in 2002 with the goal of producing children's books that would have not only quality content but quality design and production as well. All the founders of TGB "have a love of children's literature," Torres noted.
With the favorable reception to Shadow, which was released in February 2003, the six-person company has concentrated on promoting that title rather than releasing new books. There are 2,000 copies of Shadow in print and the company is close to going back to press, Torres said. Beginning in 2005, Torres hopes to publish three to five books annually, which will feature a mix of picture books and novels for the middle grades and teens.
The library market has been TGB's largest sales channel to date, which Torres attributed to a combination of her desire to reach as many children as possible as well as to the fact TGB has no distributor. Finding a distributor is the top priority for TGB, and Torres met with several at BEA. "It's been quite a journey so far," Torres said, "we're honored at the awards we've received. It's been very fulfilling."