TOON Books, Françoise Mouly’s imprint of comics for beginning readers, has announced a partnership with Candlewick Press. Previously a standalone line distributed by Diamond Books, TOON will now have its backlist and future releases distributed by Candlewick and the Random House network.

Massachusetts-based Candlewick publishes such popular series as Where’s Waldo? and Maisy, and is owned by Walker Books Ltd., of London.

TOON Books began as Mouly’s own personal crusade to introduce children to comics and reading via high quality offerings but was initially rejected by every publisher she approached with the venture, inspiring her to launch it independently. TOON creators include Eleanor Davis, Jay Lynch, Geoffrey Hayes, Dean Haspiel and Jeff Smith. Hayes’ Benny and Penny in the Big No-No! won the 2010 Theodor Seuss Geisel Award.

Full PR below:

We are very excited to announce a momentous step for TOON Books: our new partnership with Candlewick Press. As of October 1, 2010, TOON Books will operate as an imprint of Candlewick Press, and our award-winning titles will be distributed by Candlewick and the Random House network. Candlewick will bring on board TOON’s acclaimed backlist, including 2010 Theodor Seuss Geisel Award winner Benny and Penny in the Big No-No! by Geoffrey Hayes; two Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Books: Little Mouse Gets Ready by Jeff Smith and Stinky by Eleanor Davis; and eight additional TOON Books favorites.  The new imprint will publish four to five new titles each year. In spring 2011, TOON will release Silly Lilly in What Will I Be Today? by Agnès Rosenstiehl, and Patrick in A Teddy Bear’s Picnic and Other Stories by Geoffrey Hayes.
“We’re thrilled to partner with Candlewick, which is renowned for its passion for publishing only outstanding art and text,” said Françoise Mouly, publisher and editorial director of TOON Books. “TOON Books’ radical approach, putting to use all the sophisticated tools one can find in good comics to hook kids on reading, could only find support at a house that is as daring and comfortable in its own groundbreaking track record as Candlewick is. Joining forces, we will publish the new classics, the visually literate books that will tickle the fancy of, delight, inspire, and inform the children of the twenty-first century.”

Of the new imprint, Candlewick’s senior vice president of sales, John Mendelson, said, “Since its founding in the fall of 2008, we have admired TOON Books and how the list has been received by booksellers, librarians, and teachers. TOON’s mission to get kids reading through the accessible vernacular of comics paired with Candlewick’s deep sales and marketing relationships within the children’s books community will bring a renewed focus to the imprint in the both the retail and school and library channels.”

Françoise Mouly launched TOON Books in spring 2008. She is the art editor of The New Yorker, as well as the publisher and editorial director of RAW Junior, the childrens’ book branch of RAW Books & Graphics. The TOON Books, which are leveled books for emerging readers, are vetted by educators. The books feature original stories and characters created by veteran children’s book authors, renowned cartoonists, and new talents.

Candlewick Press is an independent, employee-owned publisher based in Somerville, Massachusetts. Candlewick publishes outstanding children’s books for readers of all ages; including books by award-winning authors Kate DiCamillo, M. T. Anderson, and Laura Amy Schlitz; the widely acclaimed ‘Ologies and Judy Moody series; and favorites such as the Where’s Waldo? and Maisy books. Candlewick’s parent company is Walker Books Ltd., of London with additional offices in Sydney and Auckland.

 For further information, contact Ngoc Huynh at (315) 559-0072 for TOON Books ([email protected]), or Laura Rivas at (617) 588-4445 for Candlewick Press ([email protected])


  1. Candlewick also publishes Gareth Hinds’ gorgeous graphic novel adaptations of classics such as Beowulf, King Lear, The Merchant of Venice, and The Odyssey (among others) and also publishes original graphic novels such as Tony Lee’s Robin Hood. It’s a good match, I think, and Candlewick is small enough to not simply absorb TOON Books and shunt it off to the side.

  2. Candlewick’s best known graphic novel is “The Storm in the Barn”, which won the Scott O’Dell Historical Fiction Award this year.

    Not to disparage Diamond, but this is the third DBD publisher to leave this year (Archie and Marvel being the others).

    With Toon, Random House becomes one of the larger publishers of kids’ graphic novels (Toon, Candlewick, Archie, DC, Campfire, Babymouse, Stone Rabbit, Lunch Lady…)

  3. Torsten

    To clarify – it makes Random House one of the biggest distributors of kids graphic novels – not publishers. In sheer volume and number because of Wimpy Kid – Abrams is probably the biggest, followed by Graphix/Scholastic (they sell loads of books in the book clubs and book fairs).

  4. Yes. I meant “distributors”. I also used the wiggle words “one of” to avoid hyperbole.

    Simon & Schuster is also up there, as is Lerner. For sheer quality, Macmillan leads the pack (via FirstSecond). Harper Collins is a bit weak… most of their juvie titles are found in the Zondervan Kids imprint.

    Among comics publishers: Oni, Boom, Ape, and Archaia. Marvel is making an effort, especially via OverDrive.

  5. Actually, one of their best known graphic novels is OUTLAW: THE LEGEND OF ROBIN HOOD which was a Children’s Choice Award nominee, a Junior Library Guild Fall 2009 selection, a New York Times Public Library ‘top title for teens’, a Diamond / Book Expo America ‘Top ten for 2010′ and many, many others.

    Just sayin’.

Comments are closed.