Independent houses Thames & Hudson and Darf Publishers are introducing new strands of children’s publishing to their lists.
Art publisher Thames & Hudson is celebrating pioneering illustration from the past century with its new 20th-century Children’s Classics strand. It has been spearheaded by Roger Thorp, who has developed the publisher’s children’s list since taking up the role of editorial director for its art and children’s books in autumn 2014.
He explained: “I feel it’s important to recognise that our current illustrators are part of a historic tradition of book design and illustration that has made it possible for contemporary illustration to flourish.” The classic titles will be selected for being “the finest examples of book illustration”, as well as for their “significance in terms of the history of illustration”.
The first book in this new strand will be Locomotive, a 1939 Polish title written by poet Julian Tuwim and illustrated by Jan Le Witt and George Him, on 24th August. It will feature a special “A 20th-Century Children’s Classic” sticker on the jacket. Thames & Hudson will publish at least one book a year under this imprint, with the second, a facsimile edition of Quentin Blake’s A Drink of Water, coming in October 2017.
Thorp added: “These are books where the illustrations remain as striking and effective as ever and the stories are timeless. It’s a privilege to be able to bring such innovative and influential artists and their books afresh to a whole new readership.”
Meanwhile, Darf Publishers, which translates world literature for English-language readers, has acquired UK rights to seven titles from award-winning Faroese artist, author and illustrator Bárður Oskarsson (pictured below) from Bókadeild Føroya Lærarafelags (the Faroese Teachers’ Association’s publishing company).
The titles have been translated by Faroese interpreter and translator Marita Thomsen and they will be edited by Beth Cox, co-founder of editorial and layout service Without Exception and Inclusive Minds, a collective set up to encourage diversity and inclusivity in children’s publishing. It is the first time that Oskarsson’s titles will be available in English.
Sherif Dhaimish, editorial project manager at Darf, said: “We stumbled across Oskarsson’s work at the 2015 London Book Fair and were instantly attracted to the illustrations. Once we read the stories, we knew we had a magnificent project on our hands. Oskarsson manages to articulate profound messages through pictures and words, appealing to both children and parents.”
Darf plans to publish the titles in paperback with the original illustrations.
Dhaimish said of Darf’s recent move into the children’s market: “We believe children’s world literature deserves much wider exposure in the English language. We will continue expanding to all corners of the world, as we are with adult fiction.”
The first two Oskarsson titles will be released in autumn 2018 and Darf will continue to release them seasonally until autumn 2019.
Fellow indie publisher Head of Zeus announced last year that it was creating a new children’s imprint, Zephyr, which will launch in October.