Little Simon launched its new graphic novel series in early February with two titles each in the … [+]
On February 2, Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing imprint Little Simon introduced a new line of graphic novels, with six launch titles aimed at readers ages five to nine, with artwork by design studio Glass House Graphics. The launch titles are each part of a series. They include Coldfire Curse and Shadow Hills written by Jordan Quinn, from the Dragon Kingdom of Wrenly series, a spinoff of the Kingdom of Wrenly chapter books, which follow “dragon Ruskin in his own magical quests, epic adventures, and action-packed stories;“ The First Case and The Tiger’s Eye by Felix Gumpaw from the Pup Detectives series, mysteries with humor in which the title detectives solve crimes at their school, Pawston Elementary; and Super Turbo Saves the Day and Super Turbo vs. The Flying Ninja Squirrel by Edgar Powers, graphic novel editions of the Super Turbo chapter books which follow “crime-fighting Super Turbo as he battles evil in and out the classroom.”
In an interview, Jeffrey Salane, VP, Editorial Director for Little Simon, said of the inspiration behind the line, “We realized graphic novels were a growing genre and that kids were eager to dive in. We also realized that for newly independent readers this is a tough format; there isn’t a linear approach to the narrative and reading speech balloons can be confusing to follow. But kids were captivated, so we saw this as a challenge: can we harness this excitement and create a ramp into this genre? Game on.”
The new graphic novel line is aimed at children in the same age group as Little Simon’s chapter books (five to nine), which this series is modeled after. “We have a wide enough opening age-wise with these books so that they can be read aloud or read independently, for kids who are tentatively reading or kids who are pedaling through on their own,” said Salane.
Asked about the gap these books are filling, Salane explained, “In our opinion, there’s a big gap between chapter books this audience has been reading and a more traditional graphic novel. Our goal was to build a ramp into the graphic reader genre for kids who were proficient in chapter books and looking for a new category to read. Our books are conscientious of the amount of panels per spread, the pacing of the narrative, and even the positioning of the speech balloons. The intent of each book is to give the reader a graphic novel experience, but not lose them on that adventure. Our first goal always is to engage and delight, of course, but we also want to build confidence.”
The graphic novel format is also a way for children to expand their “reading adventures,” said Valerie Garfield, Vice President, Publisher, Novelty, Licensed and Branded Publishing, Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing. “We’re conscientious that the quickest way to dissuade a reader is to create content that is frustrating or confusing. While many people traditionally associate graphic novels with reluctant readers who want an alternative to a more traditional format, the issue at hand is that these are complex and complicated formats to navigate. We didn’t want to break it down, necessarily, but we wanted to adapt the format to open a wider gate for readers so that more of them could successfully read and enjoy the graphic format,” said Garfield.
Four additional volumes in each of the three series are slated to be published in 2021, two in summer and two in fall. A box set of the first three graphic novel books in each series will be published in late 2021.
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