A handful of children's publishers are gearing up to celebrate anniversaries in the coming months. Seventy years have passed since Holiday House first opened its doors—and inside those doors there were but three desks set up in the corner of a printing plant. An article that ran in PW in October 1935 noted that the venture was unique, in that the new company "was the first American publishing house ever founded with the purpose of publishing nothing but children's books." Continuing that mission seven decades later, this independent company publishes such well-respected authors and illustrators as Bruce McMillan, Paul Brett Johnson, Will Hillenbrand, Mary Jane Auch, Eric A. Kimmel, James E. Ransome, Vivian Vande Velde and Marilyn Singer. Holiday House will celebrate its anniversary with receptions at conventions throughout the year.
Children's Book Press, a San Francisco—based nonprofit publisher of children's literature from Latino, African-American, Asian-American and Native American communities,commemorates its 30th anniversary in 2005. The house was founded by Harriet Rohmer, who launched the business when she noticed that the books in her son's Head Start program did not reflect the culture and experiences of the children who were reading them. With the help of a federal grant, Children's Book Press published its first title, Fifth World Tales. Due out from the press this year is the 15th anniversary edition of Family Pictures/Cuadros de familia by Carmen Lomas Garza, which has sold more than 420,000 copies. The new edition features an introduction by Sandra Cisneros and an afterword by Pat Mora. Other forthcoming titles from the press include Antonio's Card/La tarjeta de Antonio by Rigoberto González, with illustrations by Cecelia Concepción Álvarez and Moony Luna/Luna, linita lunera by Jorge Argueta.
This is a big year for HarperCollins Children's Books, where three imprints have reason to celebrate. Greenwillow Books has just reached its 30-year mark, boasting an impressive roster of authors and illustrators that includes Donald Crews, Chris Crutcher, Sid Fleischman, Virginia Hamilton, Anita Lobel, Jack Prelutsky, Peter Sís and Vera B. Williams. Founded by Susan Hirschman and two other Macmillan expatriates, Ava Weiss and Ada Shearon, the imprint was named for a book, Under the Green Willow by Elizabeth Coatsworth, which they had published at Macmillan. Virginia Duncan is now at the helm of the imprint, which published this year's Caldecott winner, Kevin Henkes's Kitten's First Full Moon.
Though Laura Geringer Bookscelebrates its 15th birthday this year, Geringer dates its inception to 1980, when she first met her mentor, Charlotte Zolotow, who encouraged her to develop her talents as writer and editor. The editor states that her imprint was born "from following the urgent calling to write and to be with writers in a meaningful exchange of ideas." Some of the creative folk whose names grace her imprint's list are Felicia Bond, Richard Egielski, William Joyce, Karla Kushkin, Laura Numeroff, Tor Seidler, Brian Selznick and Sarah Weeks.
And this fall will mark the 10th anniversary of Joanna Cotler Books, launched when Cotler, then v-p, associate publisher and editor-in-chief of HarperCollins Children's Books, decided, "I wanted to go back to what I loved best: just working with books and working directly with a few choice authors and artists in a more intimate way." Her imprint furnished her with the opportunity to do just that and, she declares, "I've never had more fun making books." The authors and artists Cotler has worked with—some since before her imprint's beginnings—include William Steig, Sharon Creech, Joyce Carol Thomas, Francesca Lia Block, Patricia MacLachlan, Doreen Cronin, Clive Barker, Laura Cornell, Harry Bliss and Jamie Lee Curtis.
A very happy anniversary to all!