The children’s non-fiction market is set to get a boost from the Little Tiger Group, which is setting up a new imprint to publish illustrated factual titles.
The idea for 360 Degrees came from publisher Thomas Truong [pictured right], who said the industry was “upping its game” when it comes to non-fiction. He added: “We noticed the rise in really appealing, attractive packages, and felt that there was an opportunity to do it the Little Tiger way, which is books kids want to read, made with high production values.”
The company already publishes picture books (through the Little Tiger Press imprint), fiction (Stripes Publishing), novelty books for babies and toddlers (Caterpillar Books) and early learning titles (Little Tiger Kids), so 360 Degrees felt like a “natural fit”, Truong said.
The company will publish five 360 Degrees titles next year, starting in May with Hello World and Above and Below. Hello World, written by Jonathan Litton and illustrated by L’Atelier Cartographik—a creative studio specialising in illustrated maps and data visualisation—is an exploration of how people around the world greet others, and features translations of “hello” in more than 150 languages, as well as extras such as the Maori “hongi” (nose rubbing), hieroglyphics and sign-language. Above and Below,
by Patricia Hegarty and Hanako Clulow, is an in-depth look at some of the world’s natural habitats.
Truong said the illustrators used on the 360 list came from “all over”, as widening the search enabled the imprint to find the perfect fit for each book. He said: “With Hello World, for example, we were looking for people who understood maps and eventually found L’Atelier Cartographik on Pinterest. [Its co- founders Alexandre Verhille and Sarah Tavernier] are an amazing couple.”
Three further books will be published in 2016: In Focus, an in-depth look at 10 “wonders”, each illustrated by a different artist; Wilderness, an atlas of animals by Hannah Pang and Jenny Wren; and StoryWorlds: Nature by Thomas Hegbrook, which is a wordless title.
Truong said he was keen not to brand the books in terms of age, adding wordless books have a particular advantage because they can work on several levels and for multiple age groups. “Removing the words makes it open to interpretation, and more interesting,” Truong said. “In one sequence, a two-year-old would see an elephant; a four-year-old would see an elephant sleeping; but what we were actually showing is how elephants mourn their dead. An older child might pick up on that.”
All five books will be published in hardback, priced between £11.99 and £17.99, although subsequent titles will be in a range of different formats.
“Historically we have been known as a commercial publisher but we have always produced quality books,” said Truong. “There are appealing-looking titles because we have always had a high regard for packaging.”
Truong is also planning a series of accompanying activity and colouring books, adding that the imprint has “huge spin-off potential”, and that he is “in talks” with colleagues about related digital products. “I think digital would be an interesting area to move into. The books look very appealing and the information in them is something you want to come back to. Having a digital option would only strengthen that,” he added.