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Publisher Profile: Amazon Publishing

The CBC asks Kelsey Skea, Editorial Director, questions about the publisher.

How did your publishing house start out?

Amazon Publishing launched in 2009, and on the children’s side, Two Lions launched in 2013 following the acquisition of Marshall Cavendish Children’s Books. In 2019, we launched Amazon Crossing Kids, our imprint dedicated to children’s books from around the world.

What is your publishing house most known for?

We’re probably best known for high-quality picture books with broad appeal, such as the Geisel Award-winning You Are (Not) Small series by Anna Kang and Chris Weyant and the popular Turkey Trouble series by Wendi Silvano and Lee Harper. Amazon Crossing Kids has been recognized for award-winning stories from around the world, such as USBBY Outstanding International Books Along the Tapajós, by Fernando Vilela, translated by Daniel Hahn, and Magic Candies, by Heena Baek, translated by Sophie Bowman.

Which genres does your house prefer to publish?

For Two Lions, we’re focused on picture books and for Amazon Crossing Kids, we publish picture books through middle grade, both fiction and narrative nonfiction.

What are some of your house’s publishing priorities over the next few years?

We’re excited to be adding middle-grade titles under the Amazon Crossing Kids imprint, which first launched with picture books in 2019. Last fall, we published the Kirkus Best Middle-Grade Book of the Year Piece by Piece: How I Built My Life (No Instructions Required), by David Aguilar and Ferran Aguilar and translated by Lawrence Schimel, a heartfelt memoir by a young man who built his own prosthetic arm using LEGO bricks. This year, we’re launching middle-grade fiction titles Batu and the Search for the Golden Cup, a fantasy adventure with mythology references from Kazakhstan, by Zira Nauryzbai and Lilya Kalaus, translated by Shelley Fairweather-Vega, and two books in the Moonwind Mysteries series: The Night Raven and The Queen of Thieves, which pair a girl and detective in gritty 19th century Sweden, written by Johan Rundberg and translated by A. A. Prime.

Which upcoming titles is your house buzzing about? 

In addition to the middle-grade titles I mentioned, we’re excited about Willow and Bunny, by Christopher Award winner Anitra Rowe Schulte and 2023 Caldecott Honor winner Christopher Denise, out this fall. It’s an affecting tale that can be read on a number of levels, as a story of friendship or about coming through a difficult experience that leaves you forever changed. Another is We Are One, by Jackie Azúa Kramer and illustrated by Raissa Figueroa and Niña Mata, a celebration of community, friendship, and the natural world that pairs a visual story of two girls and their families with a poetic text about our interconnectedness.

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

Marker, by Anna Kang and Christopher Weyant, is out this summer. This companion to Christopher Award winner Eraser is about finding your courage and learning that it’s OK to fail when you’ve tried your best.

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

Ruby and Lonely, by Patrice Karst, illustrated by Kayla Harren, is out this fall. Patrice is the author of the best-selling Invisible String series, and this book addresses something many children experience: loneliness. It’s done in a really accessible way that shows children how they might approach this common problem.

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

  • I Am Able to Shine, by Korey Watari and Mike Wu—an empowering story of a Japanese American girl who is misjudged but finds her voice.
  • I Am You: A Book About Ubuntu, by Refiloe Moahloli and Zinelda McDonald—originally published in South Africa, it’s about how we are all connected.
  • Don’t Forget Dexter!, by Lindsay Ward—the first of three voice-driven books featuring an insecure dinosaur named Dexter T. Rexter. In this one, he’s been left behind at a doctor’s office.

What else would you like to tell us about your house and the amazing work you all do?

One of the aspects of Amazon Publishing I appreciate most is our willingness to experiment, particularly with new ways to get books in front of readers. Books are continually pulled into promotions or programs many years after publication. I also really love how much the author and illustrator experience is prioritized throughout the process, from how quickly contracts are signed and convenient monthly royalty statements (and payments!) to extensive creative development and marketing opportunities.

Thank you, Amazon Publishing!

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