Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Albert Whitman & Company

As I explore the publishing market, I will profile publishing houses and agents who I find interesting (and who also happen to be open to picture book submissions -- yay!).

This week, let's talk about Albert Whitman & Company.

Independent publisher Albert Whitman & Company has been around for almost a century. They are based in Chicago and publish around forty hardcover books per year for the trade, library, and school library markets. Their books target children of all ages, from age 2 to young adult. They are best known for their Boxcar Children series of books for children grades 2-4.

I like Albert Whitman because their picture books address a variety of issues that children face in their young lives. These issues include character building (promoting core values), general children's concerns, education (arithmetic, history, etc.), family issues (new siblings, divorce, etc.), other cultures, holidays, and physical disabilities and disease.
I checked out several recently published Albert Whitman picture books. Here are a few examples:

The Boy from the Dragon Palace (2011) is a Japanese folktale adapted by Margaret Read MacDonald. The brightly-colored art, by Sachiko Yoshikawa, is adorable.

A poor flowers seller drops his leftover flowers into the ocean as a gift for the Dragon King. In return, he receives a snot-nosed (eww!) little boy with the power to grant wishes.

Princess Kim and too much truth (2011) is a delightfully wise 1,000 word (gasp!) picture book from author/illustrator Maryann Cocca-Leffler, creator of over 50 children's books. This is her second book about Princess Kim.

After a classroom lesson in honesty, Kim decides to only tell the truth, to the chagrin of everyone around her.

Doodleday (2011) is a creative tribute to Crockett Johnson's Harold and the Purple Crayon by author/illustrator Ross Collins.

Despite his mother's warning about drawing on Doodleday, Harvey draws a teeny, weeny fly -- only to have it morph into a giant problem. The problem only grows as Harvey attempts to solve it through more drawing.

Will you still love me (2010) by Carol Roth and illustrator Daniel Howarth is a sweet, soothing book aimed at reassuring children of their mothers' love despite the upcoming arrival of a new sibling. The upbeat rhyming and sweet repetition roll off the tongue and make this a joy to read.

As I mentioned above, Albert Whitman & Company is open to receiving unsolicited, unagented manuscripts. Make sure you check out their website for more details if you plan on submitting. Good luck!

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