Random House Children"s Books has acquired independent publisher Tamarind, which publishes illustrated books for children featuring black and ethnically diverse characters. Tamarind's founder and director Verna Wilkins, who set up the company in 1987, will move to RHCB.
Wilkins, who was born in Granada, set up Tamarind because when her children were small they believed that only white children could feature in children's books. She wanted Tamarind to produce high quality books featuring children from all backgrounds in universal situations.
Wilkins said she decided to sell to RHCB because the list is at a stage "where it needs growth, expansion and a committed team to take it to the next stage of development as an international publishing concern".
The deal will see Tamarind build upon its existing programme of publishing, bringing out approximately eight to ten new titles a year.
Philippa Dickinson, m.d. of RHCB, said:"I've admired Tamarind's publishing for a long time and I'm delighted to able to help Tamarind take the next steps in its development. Verna is a passionate advocate for the importance of publishing children's books which reflect the diversity of the world in which our children are growing up. Quite simply, she's the best publisher in this area and I'm very pleased to be able to welcome her to RHCB."
Wilkins added: "I have known Philippa for a number of years. She is one of the few people with the insight, sensitivity and commitment who will form a successful partnership with Tamarind. We can now work to enhance the list, to ensure that together we can serve the shrinking, diverse and interdependent world in which books for children have such an important place."
Wilkins herself is the author of 30 picture books and biographies for young people, including The Life of Stephen Lawrence and the biographies of Benjamin Zephaniah and Chinwe Roy, who painted the Jubilee portrait of the Queen.