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  • 18 Nov 2019 8:56 AM | Anonymous

    Published November 6, 2019 by Katherine Cowdrey, The Bookseller

    Eric Carle, the author and illustrator behind such children's classics as The Very Hungry Caterpillar, has decided at the age of 90 to sell his company to Penguin Random House.

    The deal to acquire Eric Carle LLC – the intellectual property rights holder for Carle's books – is expected to close on 1st January 2020. The sum paid was undisclosed after the deal, struck by Madeline McIntosh, c.e.o. of PRH US, and Jen Loja, president of PRH’s Penguin Young Readers division, was announced this week.

    While Eric Carle publishing at Penguin in the US will continue at the World of Eric Carle imprint under Francesco Sedita, president and publisher of the Penguin Workshop imprint, Penguin Young Readers will continue with sister company Penguin Random House Children’s UK to carry on the publishing–partner relationships for the Carle books.

    Jen Loja, president, Penguin Young Readers, said the purchase of the Eric Carle works would "further strengthens our already close relationship with Puffin UK who have been wonderful partners on all things Carle for many years". She added: "We now will work even more closely on developing books, media and other products to insure that we are getting Eric’s works to the widest possible global audience. And we so look forward to continuing to grow this brand with Francesca and her fantastic team."

    Reflecting on the deal and Puffin's publishing of Eric Carle in the UK since 1969, Francesca Dow, managing director for Penguin Random House Children’s, said: "It’s fantastically exciting news for Penguin Random House, something the whole company can feel excited and proud about. It signals the company belief and investment in Children’s and also our commitment to and investment in Children’s IP.

    "And for us, we are already the proud publishers of Eric, whom we’ve been publishing for over 50 years.

    "Eric Carle is a giant, a true original, a wonderful trusted global children’s brand. His distinctive sophisticated-naive art style (with his collage art from hand-painted paper) brings him unique design and style appeal beyond the children’s world. His art is collected. He is loved in every territory - on a design as well as a children’s author perspective. 

    "We already work closely with Jen and her team on so many shared properties, including Peter Rabbit, and we look forward to continuing to do so in even more exciting ways."

    The deal follows the acquisition of Little Tiger Group, based in London, which publishes children's book favourite I Love You to the Moon and Back by Amelia Hepworth. At the time, in March, PRH c.e.o. Markus Dohle said the publisher's "unique, nimble and international approach to children's publishing fits perfectly with our business at Penguin Random House" and he "look[ed] forward to growing together around the world". PRH also acquired a 45% stake in Illinois-based independent Sourcebooks, which has a focus on children's publishing, in May.

  • 22 Oct 2019 10:38 AM | Anonymous


    Furthering its mission to inspire teachers and learners with outstanding books, Penguin Random House Education announces the launch of a new website specifically designed and built for elementary educators.

    The website, which is now live, spotlights not only many of its outstanding trade books, but also includes additional resources for teachers to help their students foster the confidence and passion they need to engage with books, and thereby improve literacy.

    The site was developed with feedback from teacher survey groups, publisher sales and marketing teams, and the PRH Elementary Education Teacher Advisory Board.

    Michael Gentile, VP, Education Sales and Marketing for Penguin Random House, said “After many discussions with early childhood educators, informed by lots of market research, it became very clear to us the need for one resource where teachers could discover and access authentic, contemporary and relevant books to meet the needs of a rapidly changing classroom. We believe this new, easy-to-use site—to be regularly updated with new books, content and resources—will more than satisfy this enthusiastic demand, ultimately equipping educators with a great tool to discover, identify and place the right books into their students’ hands.”

    Featuring over 20,000 books for the PreK-6 classroom—including numerous award-winning classroom favorites—the site presents new and classic fiction, non-fiction, and picture books from the Penguin Young Reader’s and Random House Children’s publishing divisions, as well as children’s publishers distributed by Penguin Random House.

    Teachers will now be able to peruse book descriptions, read excerpts from inside the book, and explore titles by grade range, reading level, and subject area, including English Language Arts (ELA), Social Studies, STEAM, and Spanish-language, as well as Favorite Authors and Series, and Education and Professional Learning.

    Along with discovering great books for the classroom, educators will also be able to find curated Teaching Collections in specific topic areas such as: Leveled Readers, Read-Aloud, Socio-Emotional Learning, Biographies, History and many more curriculum areas.

    Additionally, other site features include the ability to:

    • Download teaching guides and other resources written by educators and professionals in the field
    • Review, customize, and download catalogs within specific disciplines
    • Create, save, and share title “Wish Lists” with colleagues or preferred school distribution partners
    • Offer one place within PRH for teachers to build classroom libraries and customize collections
    • Access the latest news about Penguin Random House titles, authors, and events, and more.

    “Penguin Random House Education is committed to ensuring that today’s students become lifelong readers, writers, and learners. This new website will support teachers in that endeavor as they look to discover relevant, engaging, and diverse voices that harness the power of literacy, support equity and foster a lifelong love for reading that promotes success in and out of the classroom,” said Gentile.

    # # #

  • 10 Oct 2019 3:05 PM | Anonymous

    Article from the St. Louis Business Journal, published on October 10, 2019

    No. 10
    2018 revenue: $18.45 million
    2016-2018 change: 153.94%

    The mission of Classroom Library Co. is simple: Get kids reading. CEO Benjamin Conn and his wife, co-founder and publisher Marla Conn, hope to extend that mission as far as possible.

    When they started the company in 2011, it was a culmination of both of their lifelong passions. Benjamin Conn grew up in his family’s retail book business in Brooklyn, New York, while Marla spent 18 years in education as a reading specialist in nearby Queens, New York, before moving into publishing consulting.

    A few years after moving to St. Louis, the couple decided to merge their interests and launch CLC. The company distributes books and other classroom resources to pre-K-12 school districts and other private retailers around the country.

    The Conns planned to do big business from the beginning — when they launched operations in a 50,000-square-foot warehouse at the old Corvette plant on Union Boulevard. Over the past three years in particular, though, growth has picked up. CLC grossed $18.45 million in revenue in 2018, an increase of more than 150% from 2016. Though it began as a husband-and-wife team, the company now employs 30 people and expects to top $20 million in revenue this year.

    That growth has been driven by the company’s unique approach. “There’s nobody really packaging or distributing these books in a way that the schools or customers can consume,” said Benjamin Conn. “We aggregate everything so there’s a really good user experience.”

    When a school or entire district needs to update its curriculum, CLC’s representatives help it select the exact mix of materials needed to meet its specific goals along with state and national standards. As of this year, the company has added thousands of organizations to its roster. CLC works with private labeling for companies such as Barnes & Noble, providing books for deployed troops in the U.S. military, and with many school districts around North America.

    The rapid growth is fueled by the Conns’ knowledge of the business and passion for the mission.

    “It’s all bootstrap, meaning that we have no private equity, we have no big money behind us,” said Benjamin Conn. “We have Enterprise Bank who loans us money, we pay it back, we borrow it again and so on.”

    This year, the company acquired Texas-based proprietary publisher Novel Units, which has provided CLC with its first opportunity to develop its own resources. While CLC currently sells single primary sources, say the novel “Catcher in the Rye,” Novel Units will enable the company to sell packages that include teacher guides and student packets along with the novels.

    Year founded: 2011
    Headquarters: North city
    Number of local employees: 30
    Top local executive: Benjamin Conn, CEO

  • 18 Jul 2019 12:21 PM | Anonymous

    K-12 solution offers educators access to differentiated teaching materials that build deep, meaningful connections to text for all students.

    ST. LOUIS, Mo., Aug. 1, 2019 — Conn Education today announced it has acquired Novel Units, a K-12 solution created by teachers for teachers. A provider of educational materials and technology solutions to PreK-12 classrooms, learning centers and school districts in the United States, Conn Education acquired Novel Units from ECS Learning Systems.

    Novel Units’ products provide lesson planning roadmaps for in-depth learning that enhance the reading experience for the student and teacher alike. The content contains high-interest material, clear objectives, and thought provoking activities that promotes student engagement, participation and critical thinking.

    Benjamin Conn, CEO, Conn Education, and his wife, Marla Conn, who is an educational consultant and literacy specialist, said the acquisition was borne out of their familiarity with Novel Units and passion for supporting educators in the quest to spark students’ creativity, knowledge and curiosity.

    “When the opportunity arose to acquire and relaunch this iconic brand, we moved quickly at the opportunity,” Benjamin Conn said. “Marla was a customer of Novel Units as a teacher in New York City, while for more than 20 years I have marketed and sold it as a distributor. We are excited to put our educational and distribution experiences together to enhance more than 1,000 titles that are core books in classrooms.”

    Conn said Novel Units’ chapter-by-chapter guides incorporate research-based, higher-order reading, writing, and thinking activities. Student-centered discussion questions help teachers captivate students in a participatory dialogue about the novel’s literary elements, including plot, conflicts, themes, and character motivations.

    In addition to Teacher Guides, Novel Units also provide Student Packets, which feature vocabulary strategies, content-rich study guides, quizzes, and character analysis. Critical-thinking challenges, including open ended writing prompts, and reading responses further foster comprehension of the text.

    “We look forward to updating and boosting the content to reflect current trends in education and teaching practices,” Marla Conn said.

    She added that a complete Novel Unit consists of a teacher guide, student workbooks, trade books, end-of-book assessment, and audio book. Graphic novels, Spanish editions, and large-print versions of titles are available as well.

    “We will integrate Novel Units through our Classroom Library Company distribution platform and will make them available to existing customers, in addition to introducing the product to new market channels,” said Benjamin Conn, who added his company distributes books, directly to schools as well as through a select network of educational partners such as Pearson, School Specialty, Open Up Resources, and the US Military.

    Sam Barnes, COO of ECS Learning, a publisher and distributor of teacher and student instructional materials, said he is confident Novel Units will be in excellent hands with Conn Education.

    “Our partnership with Conn Education has shown us first hand its quality, integrity and passion, which perfectly aligns with our mission,” Barnes said. “We look forward to the renewed investment of Novel Units with Conn Education’s experience in the marketplace and its stellar, well-deserved reputation. We mutually share the same vision and we are beyond fortunate to be part of Conn Education’s expansion into this space.”

    For more information about Conn Education, visit For more information about Novel Units, visit


    Media Contact:
    Doug Thompson
    Thompson Drake Public Relations
    541.322.9345 | office
    541.419.4471 | cell

  • 11 Jul 2019 10:43 AM | Anonymous

    HarperCollins Children’s Books has announced plans to launch HarperAlley, a graphic novel imprint under the direction of Andrew Arnold, who has been named editorial director.

    HarperAlley will release its first graphic novels in fall 2020. HarperAlley is described in a release as a “collaborative, creator-focused publisher” that will specialize in graphic novels for “readers of all ages.”

    Read the full article on Publishers Weekly's website. 

  • 02 May 2019 10:35 AM | Anonymous

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE May 2, 2019 - Highlights for Children and Kane Press announced today that Highlights for Children has sold Boyds Mills Press and its affiliated imprints, Calkins Creek and WordSong, to Kane Press. The new company will be known as Boyds Mills & Kane and will be headquartered in the Kane Press offices in New York City. The new ownership is effective immediately.

    “I am overjoyed to welcome the Boyds Mills imprints into the Kane Press family,” says Kane Press Publisher, Juliana Lauletta. “As Boyds Mills & Kane, we are committed to working closely with our talented authors, illustrators, and agents, and to continuing our mission of creating amazing books for kids, young adults, and kids-at-heart.”

    Boyds Mills Press was launched in 1990 by Kent Brown, grandson of the founders of Highlights, to add trade book publishing to the company’s portfolio. The decision by Highlights to sell the BMP imprints reflects an increased focus on its growing branded business. “BMP has been an important, vibrant part of the Highlights legacy of serving kids and families,” says Mary-Alice Moore, SVP, Publisher of the Highlights Retail Group. “But the expansion of our Highlights branded businesses—in publishing, licensing, digital, and international—means we are no longer able to devote the appropriate strategic attention and resources that the BMP books so richly deserve. We are heartened by Kane’s commitment to the long-term success of the books and authors and illustrators we love. Although we are sad to lose the BMP imprints from our portfolio, we are committed to the continued growth of our Highlights Press and Highlights Learning book imprints.”

    Key BMP staff will move to the new company: Carolyn Yoder, Senior Editor of Calkins Creek; Rebecca Davis, Senior Editor of BMP and WordSong; Barbara Grzeslo, Art Director; Kerry McManus, Marketing Manager; and Suzy Krogulski, Assistant Editor. “The chance to join Boyds Mills Press with Kane Press to create a single company focusing solely on book publishing was an incredible opportunity for us,” Lauletta says. “Our shared goals of compelling storytelling and wonderful artwork for both fiction and nonfiction books are at the center of our imprints’ Venn diagram and make this acquisition feel like a perfect fit.”

    Echoing Lauletta’s statements, Leying Jiang, President of Kane Press, adds, “As part of the international publishing business under our parent company, Thinkingdom Media Group, we are particularly excited about the great opportunities of leveraging our unique resouces and taking Boyds Mills & Kane books into a broader market.”

    With assets across five distinct imprints—Boyds Mills Press, Calkins Creek, Kane Press, StarBerry Books, and WordSong—the Boyds Mills & Kane library comprises nearly one thousand titles in print, many of which are recipients of starred reviews and prestigious awards and honors, including the Sibert Medal as well as Newbery, Printz, Coretta Scott King, and Geisel honors.

    The new business entity’s name is Thinkingdom, Ltd., doing business as Boyds Mills & Kane. The company’s business operations will be overseen by President Leying Jiang, and Juliana Lauletta will serve as Publisher. Ordering information for all titles will remain the same.

    Highlights was represented by Broadwater & Associates, an investment banking firm specializing in the media and information industries.

    About Boyds Mills Press

    Established in 1990, Boyds Mills Press publishes a wide range of high-quality fiction and nonfiction titles for young readers. Boyds Mills Press’s picture books, chapter books, novels, and nonfiction books focus on excellent storytelling, imaginative illustration, and strong characters. Authors and illustrators include Suzanne Bloom and Rebecca Kai Dotlich.

    Calkins Creek, which celebrates its 15th anniversary in 2019, publishes nonfiction and historical fiction that introduces children to the many people, places, and events that have shaped U.S. history, presenting multiple points of view through original and extensive research. Calkins Creek authors include Sibert Medal–winner Larry Dane Brimner and Sibert Honor–winner Gail Jarrow. WordSong, established in 1990, is the only children’s imprint in the United States specifically dedicated to publishing poetry.

    WordSong titles capture the vibrant, unexpected, and emotional connections between text and young readers. Some of the well-known poets who publish under the WordSong imprint include Nikki Grimes, Lee Bennett Hopkins, and Jane Yolen.

    About Highlights

    Devoted to Fun with a Purpose for over 70 years, global media brand Highlights ( has helped millions of children foster their creativity and become their best selves. Its magazine portfolio includes the flagship Highlights magazine; Highlights High Five; High Five Bilingüe, an English/Spanish version of High Five; and Highlights Hello. Its branded book publishing program launched in 2013 with Highlights Press and has expanded to include Highlights Learning with distribution by Penguin Random House.

    About Kane Press

    Founded in 1992 by Joanne Kane, Kane Press is an award-winning publisher of fiction and nonfiction books for children ages 2 to 11. Connecting great stories with educational content is the focus of all Kane Press books. Kane Press is proud to have received several Teachers’ Choice Awards as well as recommendations from the Parents’ Choice Foundation and ILA’s Children’s Choices Reading List, among others.

    StarBerry Books was created in 2018 to encourage diversity and children’s natural curiosity with picture books created by authors and artists from all over the globe. StarBerry titles have garnered a Junior Library Guild selection, a Kirkus starred review, and inclusion in CBC/Bank Street’s Best Children’s Books of the Year list.

    About Thinkingdom Media Group

    Thinkingdom Media Group is the parent company of Thinkingdom, Ltd., dba Boyds Mills & Kane. TMG is a publicly traded publishing and media company headquartered in Beijing.


    Leying Jiang, President
    Thinkingdom, Ltd.
    73 Peter Coutts Circle
    Stanford, CA 94305
    Tel: (650) 862-2566

    Juliana Lauletta, Publisher
    Boyds Mills & Kane
    250 Park Ave., 7th Floor
    New York, NY 10177
    Tel: (646) 844-3485

    Mary-Alice Moore, SVP, Publisher
    Highlights for Children
    815 Church Street
    Honesdale, PA 18431
    Tel: (570) 251-4520

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