Star Bright Books is an independent publishing company dedicated to producing the highest quality books for children. Deborah Shine established the press in 1994 with the goal of making “Great Books for Great Kids.”
Star Bright recognizes that to inspire a life-long love of books, it is important for children to begin building that relationship at the earliest possible age. They believe that all children should see themselves in print and we make a concerted effort to include children of all colors, nationalities, and abilities in our books. In addition to seeing themselves, children should also hear familiar language in the books they choose. In pursuit of that goal, we publish engaging books in twenty languages.
We had a chance to chat with Publisher Deborah Shine in the latest of our publisher spotlight reviews.
Big Universe: What are the age ranges and levels you focus on at Star Bright?
Deborah Shine: Star Bright publishes books for all ages of children, from birth to middle grade. Many of their board books have been selected as best books for babies and toddlers by various venerate literacy institutions. However, pre-K to early elementary grade (3rd Grade) is where our concentrated readership lies. We are the publisher of the “We Love First Grade” series by Miriam Cohen, books that have become a “must” series for educators and parents to share with young students. Other notable books for pre-K to early elementary readers are Brian Wilidsmith’s picture books. Animal characters in his stories teach compassion and tolerance, and with such brilliantly colored illustrations, they are a visual feast as well!
Big Universe: We'd love to hear about what you're doing at your company? What are some of the most popular items that you've published in the last three years?
Deborah Shine: Isabel Hill’s Building Stories and Urban Animals have been a hit among young readers. These books explore the familiar yet, overlooked buildings in the neighborhood (NYC for these books). You can see many buildings decorated with animals in the facades or elsewhere. Why? You will find it out when you read the book! Buildings have faces and stories just like us! If we look at them carefully, they tell us their stories and histories.
We publish books in many other languages, not just in English. We believe that all children should see themselves in print, and we make a concerted effort to include children of all colors, nationalities, and abilities in our books. Readers love our books for that reason. In addition to seeing themselves, children should also hear familiar language in the books they choose. So, we publish engaging books in more than twenty languages. And these books have been the most sought after books from families who migrated to America with young children.
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?
Deborah Shine: Many of our titles are geared toward responding to STEM and SEL. “We Love First Grade” series is strongly recommended books for Social and Emotional Learning. You can find most titles in the “We Love First Grade” series on Big Universe. We are also building a strong nonfiction list, books that are educational, fun and meaningful. Our focus is on the fields of zoology, math, history, and biography.
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?
Deborah Shine: They are not from the current list. We think Lorna Balian’s books deserve a much wider audience, and we are eager to talk about her books. They are wonderfully imaginative, and sweet tales, yet with a very clever twist that children are sure to fall for. Many readers say that they read her books when they were young, and as a parent, aunt, or teacher, they want children to experience the joy they felt when they read Balian’s books.
Many of her stories celebrate unique American culture and holidays. She has books for Valentine's Day, Groundhog Day, Easter, Mother’s Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas! Sundaywas St. Patrick’s Day. Check out Lorna Balian’s Leprechauns Never Lie from Big Universe site or your local libraries. A leprechaun is caught by a lazy girl, who is searching for gold. But this mischievous wee man’s not a pushover. You will see Loran Balian’s delightful twist at the end. Children and adults alike will love the tale.
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.)?
Deborah Shine: It’s not a surprise per se. But we are very heartened and happy that Cradle Me has received warm, enthusiastic, and wonderful reviews from librarians, educators, booksellers, and the Native American communities. It’s a book that celebrates Native American tradition and families, showing how mothers carry their babies safely, comfortably and close to them in cradle boards.
Big Universe: What's next for your company? Are there changes coming in the following year? Do you have any new series or product lines that you’d like to share with us?
Deborah Shine: Isabel Hill is doing another wonderful architectural book for children. This time it’s on Washington D.C. Washington D.C is full of wonderful, historical buildings. We are excited about what her new project will bring us!
We are also building a Beginners Reading series––with simple words and rhymes, yet with interesting and smart plots, so that children who are beginning to read won’t be frustrated with big words or bored with too simple storylines.
What you can ever expect from Star Bright Books is high quality. The story, the illustration, and the message. We are very excited about our E-books. You will see more of our books on Big Universe and other places, including the Apps store.