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A Look At: Kane Miller

The CBC announces a new Q&A series with member publishers. This time, we hear from Lynn Kelley, Kayla VernonClark, and Sarah Trenholme, who are the marketing team at Kane Miller Book Publishers.

How did your Kane Miller start out?

Kane Miller was originally created as a family business by siblings Madeleine Kane and Sandy Miller in 1984. The small company, Kane/Miller Book Publishers, specialized in publishing award-winning children’s books (four to six books a year) from around the world—books that would allow children to explore not just cultural differences, but also similarities: in experiences, ideas, hopes, and dreams.

What is Kane Miller most known for?

Kira Lynn assumed the role of publisher in 2001 and continued to build the Kane Miller list that then included the hugely popular Everyone Poops and Mem Fox’s Wilfrid Gordon MacDonald Partridge, both of which remain in print today. More recently, we’ve been especially successful with the innovative Shine-a-Light format, with 25 titles now available, and the best-selling All Better by Bernd Penners and Henning Löhlein, with its reusable bandage stickers.

Where in the country is your house based? What do you love about being based there?/ How many full-time employees does your house have?

From its inception, Kane Miller has been based in Southern California—first in La Jolla, and now in Old Town in San Diego. Our small staff of four (plus a freelance art designer), are all committed to the balmy climate and SoCal lifestyle!

Has your house ever gone through a merger? If so, with who and when?

The company was acquired by Educational Development Corporation in 2008 and became Kane Miller, A Division of EDC Publishing. Since that time, the list has grown dramatically in the number of titles, age ranges, and formats. We continue to seek new titles from other countries and have also published original projects by US-based authors and illustrators.

Since the pandemic, have you all returned to in-office work, are you still fully remote, or do you have a hybrid system?

We’ve adopted a hybrid system of in-office and in-home work. What hasn’t changed is our commitment to the books we publish, making choices with care, after reading and rereading, and much discussion among ourselves. We strive to promote all the titles on our list through our social media platforms and by sending selected copies for review and award consideration.

What has been the biggest change your house has made and retained since the pandemic started?

We are now working digitally much more than previously. We’ve “gone paperless” as much as possible, particularly in editorial and acquisition processes.

How many books does your house aim to publish per season/year? Which genres does your house prefer to publish? Which formats does your house prefer to publish?

Our forthcoming releases for 2023 will approximate 175 new titles, including both fiction and nonfiction, board books, activity books, novelties, picture books, chapter books, and books for middle grades.

Which of your frontlist titles would be great for a school or public library?

My Beautiful Voice by Joseph Coelho and Fiona Lumbers, showing how a good teacher can bring out the best of their students, seems a lovely choice for a school library. The celebration of diversity in Who Are You? by Smriti Halls and Ali Pye belongs in public libraries, as does A World of Gratitude by Claire Saunders and Kelsey Garrity-Riley. There’s a place too, for books dealing with a child’s feelings about divorce (Everything Changes by Clare Helen Welsh and Åsa Gilland) and with adoption (When You Joined Our Family by Harriet Evans and Nia Tudor).

Which of your frontlist titles would be great for a classroom? Which grade?

Martha Maps It Out by Leigh Hodgkinson wonderfully introduces geography while promoting social-emotional learning for kindergarten through second grade.

Which of your frontlist tiles would be great for an at-home library?

Both Everything Under the Sun by Molly Oldfield and Sophy Henn’s Lifesize Baby Animals offer hours of fun and learning for older and younger readers.

Name a few of your favorite backlist titles that people should check out.

We continue to add to our fabulous Nibbles series by Emma Yarlett, and Billy B. Brown series by Sally Rippin. Check these out, as well as our other titles by both these talented authors! Plus, we’d like to draw attention to some of our fun fiction series like Freddie’s Amazing Bakery, Ella Diaries, Lightning Girl, and Marie Curious, Girl Genius!

Thank you, Kane Miller!

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