IDW is establishing a children’s book arm, Jonas Publishing, and imprint, Worthwhile Books. These will be regular books — not graphic novels, form the looks of things.
In a precedent-setting move, IDW Publishing, a division of IDT Internet Mobile Group and an established leader in the comic book and graphic novel arena, is launching a children’s division called Jonas Publishing and a new imprint, Worthwhile Books. The move will allow IDW Publishing to expand its library of successful print titles, which to date has been particularly focused in the horror, action, and sci-fi genres, such as 30 Days of Night and The Transformers. To launch the imprint, IDW Publishing has inked a significant agreement with a renowned UK children’s publisher and is striking deals with top Hollywood writers to create children’s books.
Worthwhile Books has finalized a first-look arrangement with UK children’s publisher Meadowside Books (www.meadowsidebooks.com), known for its unique character-driven picture books for young readers. Worthwhile will be the exclusive U.S. publisher of selected Meadowside titles and will retain domestic film and television rights on those properties. The first Meadowside Books title in the deal, Michael Recycle, by Ellie Bethel, follows the escapades of a “green-caped” environmental hero and will be released in March by Worthwhile Books. Worthwhile expects to issue approximately 10 Meadowside titles over the course of the first year, including William’s Dinosaurs, by Alan Baker, which tells the tale of a little boy who finds more than trees in the dark woods near his home.
Worthwhile’s Hollywood outreach is tapping into the top ranks of movie and television writing talent to bring original literary stories to the young reading audience. The collective credits of the entertainment writers include some of the industry’s most successful television series and movies. These writers include:
· David N. Weiss, whose writing credits include Shrek 2, Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius and both Rugrats movies
· David Sacks, a writer/producer on The Simpsons, producer on Malcolm in the Middle, and writer on 3rd Rock from the Sun
· Dava Savel, an Emmy Award- winning comedy writer with credits on shows such as Grace Under Fire and Will & Grace, in addition to being an executive producer on the children’s program That’s So Raven
· David Steinberg, whose producing credits include Meet the Robinsons, Home on the Range and Cats Don’t Dance
· Robert Kurtz, who wrote for the movie Everyone’s Hero and has written for such shows as Boy Meets World and Grace Under Fire
“Our growth strategy calls for continued expansion into other areas of the entertainment sector,” said Ted Adams, IDW co-founder and president. “Creating and controlling successful children’s properties helps us in those endeavors. Meadowside’s books are playful, empowering, smart and exciting and the artwork is simply breathtaking. These are children’s picture stories in the classic tradition with a central character that is relatable to today’s kids.”
In speaking of the outreach to Hollywood writers, Robert Kurtz, vice-president and creative director at Worthwhile Books, said “Every writer I know who works in television or movies has a children’s story inside him or her that they’ve wanted to tell for years but for a variety of reasons never were able to get out into the marketplace. We want writers to think of Worthwhile Books as the one-stop destination for that kind of project. It is designed to be a writer-driven company and we think that will be very attractive to these talented artists.”