Star Bright Books is an independent publishing company with some stellar authors/illustrators on their list includind Lorna Balian, Miriam Cohen, Brian Wildsmith, Jackie French, and Valeri Gorbachev. I asked Judi Moreillon about Star Bright as she posts new titles frequently to LM_NET and works the booth at many conferences. How do most of these authors become associated with you?
Our publisher, Deborah Shine, was a long-time children’s bookstore owner as well as an editor with several publishing houses before founding Star Bright Books. In addition to attracting new authors and illustrators, Ms. Shine carefully researches the print and copyright status of classic and international children’s books and the work of authors and illustrators whose work she especially admires. She contacts notable writers and artists whose work has gone out of print, secures the rights to re-publish their books, and when needed, revises the print or illustrations to make these titles even more exciting for 21st-century readers.
For example, Star Bright has bought the rights to re-issue a series of titles that involve first-grade students written in the 1980s by Miriam Cohen. Award-winning illustrator Ronald Himler is re-visioning the illustrations to develop the characters in these books and to make them identifiable from book to book. So far, we have re-issued First Grade Takes a Test (2006). Tough Jim and Jim’s Dog Muffins will follow in the spring of 2008.
Who are the new authors we should be noting?
Earlier this year, we published Ellen Tarlow’s easy reader Pinwheel Days, illustrated by Gretel Parker. Ms. Tarlow wrote her first story about Pinwheel over 15 years ago after seeing photographs of a baby donkey that her father took in Mexico. The book has four charming short stories that are accessible and fun for beginning readers. Ms. Tarlow works for an educational publisher―writing and editing books for beginning readers―so she has a great deal of expertise to share in this niche.
Narelle Oliver is an award-winning Australian author. We have just released her new book Twilight Hunt, which is a stunningly-illustrated informational book about camouflage and predator-prey relationships centered on a screech owl’s evening hunt. We anticipate that elementary classroom teachers and teacher-librarians will find this book useful in their science curriculum.
For teacher-librarians who work with elementary school counselors, Dr. Vanita Braver has written two books that can support the character education curriculum. In Madison’s Patriotic Project, the young protagonist learns about competition and the life skill of being proud of one’s best effort even if it doesn’t win the prize. In Madison and the Two Wheeler, a young girl practices perseverance when learning something new and difficult. These two books are part of the Teach Your Children Well series. Carl DiRocco illustrates the Madison books. Both of these titles will be available this fall.
Although she is not a new author-illustrator for Star Bright Books, we are excited about several new informational books forthcoming from Michèle Coxon. This fall, we will release Termites on a Stick: A Chimp Learns to Use a Tool (2007), which has exquisite, scientifically-accurate illustrations. Ms. Coxon is currently working on a non-fiction title about polar bears for young primary grade readers.