This week is a very special celebration for all of us here at Peachtree—it’s Children’s Authors and Illustrators week! We are very grateful for all of the authors and illustrators we’ve worked with over the years, but today, we wanted to focus on a different set of authors and illustrators (we think our talented colleagues will understand).
We took some time this week to talk about the books, series, authors, and illustrators that influenced our own childhoods. As a group that now works to bring quality children’s books to a new generation of tiny readers, it was our childhood favorites that initially sparked our love for books and eventually inspired careers in children’s book publishing. With lots of funny stories and reminiscing, we collected the following list to share with you.
Katie, our Marketing and Advertising Manager, did not hesitate a second when she chose Blueberries for Sal by author-illustrator Robert McCloskey as her favorite, adding that “every time I went to the library, I pulled that one out.”
Melanie, our Production manager, said that she has always loved “all the old-fashioned mysteries.” Her favorite girl detectives were Nancy Drew, originally published by Grosset & Dunlap and primarily written by Mildred Wirt Benson, and Trixie Belden, published by Western Publishing and written originally by Julie Tatham.
Melissa, our Conference Coordinator and Publishing Assistant, didn’t have any trouble choosing. She named Corduroy by Don Freeman, saying, “Dad used to read it to me as a kid, and it was hands down my favorite.” The stories of Corduroy are continued by other authors and illustrators today.
Farah, our Subsidiary Rights Director and Trade and International Sales Manager, could not decide right away. We left her alone for a little to dig up her old favorites, and finally the winner emerged—the Grimm Brothers’ original tale of Sleeping Beauty. However, Farah used to listen to an audio version, and she listened in French. La Belle au bois dormant is the French title, and Farah recalled, “I could listen to that recording all day long!”
|World Publishing Company|
Elyse, our Publicity and Marketing Assistant, remembered countless readings of The Very Hungry Caterpillar—written and illustrated by Eric Carle —and staring at the bright colors in the illustrations. She had even made her own hungry caterpillar out of a stuffed stocking to follow along with the story when she read it.
Vicky, our Senior Editor, responded almost before I’d finished the question. She chose Alice in Wonderland written by Lewis Carroll and published by Macmillan Publishers “hands down.” She also explained that she had had a copy with the original illustrations by John Tenniel, and she “liked the pictures almost as much as the story.”
Nicki, our Creative Director, had a little trouble choosing a favorite. I’m sure many of you can relate to this problem of having so many favorites, but Nicki’s dilemma was a little different. She told us that she had rarely read books for fun because there were so many mandatory books for school! However, after a little more thought and some aggressive Googling, she re-discovered some old series that she had really loved: the Malory Towers series and Claudine at St. Clare’s, both written by Enid Blyton.
Niki, our Associate Publicist, chose the author-illustrator Jan Brett . She particularly remembered how in all of Jan Brett’s books, there were these wonderfully illustrated borders around every spread. Niki explained that she always liked following the other characters as she read through each story.
Kathy, our Vice President and Associate Publisher, reeled off two titles immediately. Her favorites were Harriet the Spy written by Louise Fitzhugh and originally published by Harper and Row, and The Phantom Tollbooth written by Norton Juster and illustrated by Jules Feiffer.
When we asked Courtney, our Sales and Marketing Customer Support, she said that she had been “obsessed” with the Babysitter’s Club series by Ann M. Martin and published by Scholastic. However, she gave two other titles as her “all-time favorites”—The Westing Game written by Ellen Raskin and published by Dutton, and Number the Stars by Lois Lowry and published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Finally, when we spoke to Emily, our Sales Marketing Assistant, she chose the Dark is Rising series by Susan Cooper. Emily explained that she had just recently re-read the series, and she was so refreshed by how Cooper did not “dumb down” her books. She even confessed that she was “looking up words in a book meant for 12-year-olds.” She loved that these books were still a great experience for her after so many years.
It was a fun little trip down memory lane for all of us. Again, we are so grateful for all the authors and illustrators who made such an impact on us when we were kids. And we strive each day to publish books that will bring the same amount of joy to young readers today.