Alma Books is launching a children’s and YA list of classic and translated titles and is hiring illustrators such as Axel Scheffler and Chris Mould.
Alessandro Gallenzi, co-publisher at Alma, will launch 10 titles this September and 25 next year under the Alma imprint, and says the list is a “natural continuation of work we have done in the field of fiction and classics”.
One of the first launch titles is The Adventures of Pipi the Pink Monkey, by Carlo Collodi, the author of Pinocchio. Gallenzi is adapting the book, which has never been published in English before, for the UK market, with illustrations by Scheffler.
Also scheduled for release this autumn are Alistair Grim’s Odditorium, a magical, Victorian adventure story written by Gregory Funaro and illustrated by Chris Mould, and a new version of Oscar Wilde’s The Selfish Giant and Other Stories, illustrated by Philip Waechter.
All the books are aimed at readers aged 7+ (middle grade) or 12+ (teen and YA) and prices are set at £5.99 or £6.99 for paperbacks and £9.99 for hardbacks.
“Our focus will be on the quality of the design production, typesetting and translation,” said Gallenzi. “We want to give our list an international feel—this applies not only to the titles we chose but also to the illustrators we commission—so we can bring a bit of novelty into the canon of British children’s literature.”
Next year Alma will publish Philip Womack’s retelling of the Minotaur story, The Double Axe, and a French 20th-century children’s novel, Belle and Sebastian, by Cécile Aubry, translated by Gregory Norminton.
Elisabetta Minervini, Gallenzi’s co-publisher and partner, is sure there is space for Alma’s children’s books in the market. “We have two children, aged 11 and eight, both avid readers, and we feel confident we can have an impact.”
Spotting new talent, rediscovering old gems and making foreign titles available in translation are all key to making the imprint a success, she added.