ASTRA PUBLISHING HOUSE ACQUIRES TOON BOOKS, THE FOREMOST PUBLISHER OF
EASY-TO-READ COMICS AND GRAPHIC NOVELS FOR YOUNG READERS
New York, NY (February 1, 2022): Today Astra Publishing House announces that TOON Books will become an imprint of Astra Books for Young Readers (ABFYR). “TOON has established a reputation as the foremost publisher of comics for early readers and, with its graphic novels for middle graders, rounds out the offerings from ABFYR’s now seven very distinguished children’s book imprints in a most organic way,” says Leying Jiang, president and chief financial officer, Astra Publishing House. “Board books, picture books, nonfiction, history, poetry, early readers, middle grade, young adult, and now comic books and graphic novels, ABFYR offers something for literally every young reader’s age and interests.”
Launched in 2008 by Françoise Mouly, a pioneer in reshaping the field of comics, TOON Books has revolutionized the field by producing a series of award-winning comics designed specifically for readers grades K–3. The concept—to get top-notch practitioners such as Eleanor Davis, Jeff Smith, Art Spiegelman, and Argentine superstar Liniers to apply their magic to kids’ comics—helped the imprint produce titles which have garnered top literary awards including the Theodor Seuss Geisel, Eisner, Bologna Ragazzi, and Kirkus Prize, to name a few, as well as spots on best book lists, including Horn Book Fanfare, Bank Street’s Best, Association of Library Services for Children’s Notable Children’s Books, Texas Library Association’s Maverick Graphic Novel Reading List, starred titles, Parents magazine’s Best, and Booklist’s Top 10, among many others.
Together with TOON Graphics, for visual readers in grades 3–6, “TOON books are all about using kids’ natural affinity for the symbolic language of comics, to get everyone, even the most reluctant readers, to develop a passion for reading. With the help of Astra’s start-up spirit and its rock-solid infrastructure of publishing industry veterans, we’re eager to expand from a niche publishing house and bring our beloved titles to an even wider audience,” Mouly says.
Mouly sees comics as a “gateway drug to literacy.” Her foremost focus is in telling engaging stories through humor and art from diverse creators around the world and helping librarians and educators; all the books are carefully leveled for elementary school and each is presented with aligned lesson plans with an emphasis on the visual literacy that is required of children growing up in the 21st century. “But we never lose sight of how much fun comics can be,” adds Mouly. “That’s what sparked our passion for books, and that’s what we want to share.”
TOON Books is distributed by Consortium/Ingram. Astra Publishing House books are distributed by Penguin Random House Publisher Services.
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