Celebrating over twenty years of independent publishing, Charlesbridge Publishing made its debut in the book community as a purveyor of educational titles, catering almost exclusively to the needs of teachers and classroom librarians. Producing imaginative books that make creepy, crawly bugs less scary, guide students through forests and undersea worlds, invite children to new lands, and introduce readers to new people, it has always been our mission to provide titles with accurate information that promote a positive world view and embrace a child's innate sense of wonder and fun, and our list has certainly grown over the last two decades.
We have published nursery rhymes, bedtime stories, novels, biographies, and books about the natural world, history, mathematics, science, and more. We have published fiction and nonfiction for children in paperback and hardcover, in board and most recently in electronic format and for the adult market through our Imagine! Imprint. Our books have become synonymous with discovery and fun in the classroom, library, and home.
Big Universe had the opportunity to sit down with Meg Bencivenni Quinn, School and Library Sales Manager, at Charlesbridge Publishing for our latest in our series of publisher profiles.
Big Universe: How did you come to be involved in the children's publishing industry? What is your role within the industry?
Meg: I actually started out as a bookseller in a fantastic independent store associated with a museum, and somehow always managed to end up in the children’s section. When I figured out I didn’t want to use my English degree to teach, publishing was my next stop, and I’ve worked in some form of marketing or sales ever since. Today I serve as Charlesbridge’s School and Library Sales Manager and handle domestic Subrights, including working with great e-partners like the team at Big Universe.
Big Universe: We'd love to hear more about what you're doing at Charlesbridge Publishing ... What are some of the most popular items that you've published in the last three years?
Meg: We’ve certainly been lucky enough to see our share of success and accolades over the last few years. THE CAZUELA THAT THE FARM MAIDEN STIRRED was named A Pura Belpré Illustrator Honor Book in 2012, and we just recently received the good news that debut novelist Natalie Dias Lorenzi’s FLYING THE DRAGON was named to the 2013/2014 Texas Bluebonnet Award Master List. We’re also thrilled with the 4 star reception by the school and library community that A BLACK HOLE IS NOT A HOLE has received since its release in February. And, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention fall’s laugh-out loud staff favorite, LAST LAUGHS, penned by current children’s poet laureate J. Patrick Lewis and the prolific Jane Yolen. Not for the faint of stomach, but a great read none the less.
Big Universe: In looking at the current front list and the upcoming season, are there any specific themes that you've focused on in the catalog?
Meg: We’ve gone back to our roots, with quality non-fiction for all age levels. We’re especially excited about the shift toward non-fiction in the Common Core Standards, and pleased to be bringing approachable and entertaining titles to the table for teachers and librarians.
Big Universe: Do you have a personal favorite from the current catalog that isn't getting lots of 'buzz'? What is it about that book that sets it apart for you?
Its a little like picking a favorite child, but I’ve really enjoyed recommending EIGHT DAYS GONE these days. Told in snappy verse and paired with retro art, Linda McReynold’s concise text recounts Apollo 11’s historic eight day mission to the moon in 1969. Not to be outdone, Ryan O’Rourke’s illustrations are factually accurate and kid-friendly, teaching young readers about the gear, equipment and spaceship used for the world’s first lunar landing.
Big Universe: What is the book that has been the biggest surprise to you (can be a sleeper, new series that has gone like wildfire, a book that was the cover but not as popular as others, etc.)?
I wouldn’t call it a surprise, but I’m continually pleased by the momentum Stuart J. Murphy’s I SEE I LEARN® series continues to gain with each new season. A visual learning series specifically designed to help young children learn skills for daily life and school readiness, its a great resource for preschoolers all the way through grade 2. Plus, it tackles timely topics like bullying (FREDA STOPS A BULLY) and healthy eating (HAPPY, HEALTHY AJAY!) with a cast of adorable characters.
Big Universe: What's next for Charlesbridge Publishing? Do you have any new series or product lines on the horizon?
Meg: Right now, we’re gearing up for spring 2013 season, which will officially release in February. We’ve got some great titles in the pipeline for the new year, with some Charlesbridge vets as well as some debut authors and artists in the cue. And of course, some great new e-content as well.
You can check out the large assortment of titles from Charlesbridge Publishing that are available on Big Universe, and also on their website www.CharlesbridgePublishing.com.