Also published on this date: Shelf Awareness for Thursday, August 23, 2018

Thursday, August 23 Dedicated Issue: Magination Press

Magination Press: Enter to win $500 in free books!

Editors' Note

Magination Press, Books for Kids from the American Psychological Association

With help from the publisher, Shelf Awareness celebrates Magination Press's mission to create innovative children's books, written by experts in mental health.

Magination Press Family: A new website with tools and strategies for managing stress and anxiety and promoting mindfulness in kids.

Books & Authors

A Welcome from Arthur Evans, Ph.D.

Arthur Evans

Arthur C. Evans Jr., Ph.D., is the chief executive officer of the American Psychological Association.

We share with the world mental health expertise and psychological knowledge through our publishing. Magination Press, the children's book imprint of the APA, is an important part of our efforts, reaching young readers and their parents and caregivers to make navigating life's challenges a little easier. It's the combined power of psychology and literature that makes a Magination book special. We are very excited about the efforts we have under way to expand the reach of the imprint.

Magination Press: Dream It!: A Playbook to Spark Your Awesomeness by Scott Stoll and Sara E. Williams

Kristine Enderle: Working and Caring for Young Readers

Kristine Enderle; photo: Jason Wells

Kristine Enderle directs Magination Press, where she acquires children's and teen titles and runs the shop as an expert manager, tutor, coach and mentor to an editorial staff of three.

What does the Magination Press editorial team look like?

Senior Editor Sarah Fell and Editor Katie Ten Hagen contract and develop new children's picture books, middle-grade chapter books and teen mental health/self-help books. Vallen Driggers provides expert assistance as our intern. Together, we evaluate submissions, acquire new titles, collaborate with authors, illustrators and designers and develop books that make the psychological experience relevant to young readers and their parents and caregivers. We expect to add an additional editorial position soon.

Tell us about Magination Press and its role at the APA. How have you seen it grow and change since you started with the house?

Our catalog keeps growing every year, now with more than 25 titles published annually. In the last ten years, Magination Press evolved its focus from clinical issues and bibliotherapy toward mental health and wellness and social-emotional learning, such as mindfulness, shyness, honesty, identity, teasing and friendship.

The Magination Press editorial and marketing team; photo: Valen Driggers

What are your guiding principles when acquiring new works?

We want to publish books that kids want to read, hear and share--books that kids will immediately connect and identify with, where kids see themselves on the pages and, ultimately, that help kids help themselves. We like funny, genuine, sensitive stories that consider how the reader will experience the story and what they will take away. All of our books are grounded on psychological science and practical self-help within the context of an engaging story. We tend to shy away from stories that feel too much about an "issue" or offer values as solutions or top-down instruction. For our teen audience, we aim to honor their voice and respect their experiences, and carefully apply scientific psychological knowledge in clever, fun, non-didactic ways. We really want to arm kids with information and let them discover what works for them.

What does it mean to have an editorial emphasis on social-emotional learning? Why this emphasis?

Magination Press specifically works for young readers and reaches them exactly where they are mentally, emotionally and cognitively. We want to encourage kids to be reflective, to think about their actions, to understand the perspective of others and to feel OK about themselves and know that they have the power, resilience and wherewithal to handle all these commonly annoying or confusing but totally normal things. These are social-emotional learning skills.

How do you find and acquire quality titles?

People may assume that we only publish works by psychologists, when in fact we want to work with any author who has a story connected to mental health and wellness. We work with agents and are always on the lookout for projects. Being part of APA means we have the unique ability to craft all books with our advisory board so that readers and caregivers can trust that the content is accurate and helpful. We pride ourselves on close, collaborative and respectful relationships with our authors and illustrators--many who publish with us time and again. Together we make award-winning and bestselling books.

Are there any things about Magination Press that will surprise our readers?

People are impressed to hear that APA has a children's book imprint and that we've been publishing for more than 20 years. Our "What to Do Guides for Kids" series is a major bestseller, with more than two million books in print worldwide. We have a worldwide impact with over 50 titles published in more than 20 languages. All of our books are printed in the U.S. Also, Gayle E. Pitman's This Day in June won ALA's prestigious Stonewall Award and is still routinely challenged.

Magination Press: Little Worlds by Géraldine Collet, illustrated by Sébastien Chebret

Jessica Jeffers and Jason Wells: Evolving and Expanding Marketing

Jason Wells and Jessica Jeffers; photo: Brionna Edmundson

Jessica Jeffers is the Marketing Manager for Magination Press. Prior to joining APA in 2012, she spent five years as a bookseller at Borders Books and Music.

Jason Wells is Marketing Director for APA Books and Magination Press. He's executed campaigns for numerous award-winning and bestselling books, including the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. He recently relocated to Washington, D.C., from New York City.

What does the Magination Press marketing team look like?

Jason Wells: For the first time ever, there is dedicated staff charged with advancing the imprint. Jessica's position is new and works exclusively to market and brand Magination. As Books Marketing Director, I bring my extensive trade experience and contacts. Marla Koenigsknecht is our publicity specialist who works across all APA book imprints (and is not afraid to don character costumes!). We also can't forget our amazing intern, Brionna Edmonson.

You are expanding rapidly to reach new audiences--what is being done to help Magination meet that goal?

Jessica Jeffers: In addition to our unique ability to promote Magination Press to APA's member psychologists as we have always done, we know that our books have a broader appeal. They can be read at story time, bed time, by a child on their own or with someone. We're now looking to reach more parents, teachers, librarians and other caregivers. We are increasing our distribution through agreements with new rep groups, which will be announced soon. For the first time in many markets, stores will see our books presented by a trusted salesperson. We are also finally up on Edelweiss, with our 2018 titles and backlist bestsellers already loaded, with more to come. Our metadata is richer and filled with more details than ever before.

What are your specific plans to attract new readers/buyers?

Jason Wells: We are strategically targeting independent bookstores by sending IndieBound mailings, pitching authors for the fall regional trade shows and advertising in the association holiday catalogs. We are testing new advertising outlets, such as Learning magazine, which is a natural fit for our content. We are already signed up to attend, in many cases for the first time, the traditional children's book publisher conferences, such as NCTE and TLA, as well as ones that a trade publisher might not think to be at (sorry, we're not telling). We are expanding our social media presence and working with APA's overall social media platforms, which have immense reach. We've also stepped up our publicity efforts and have already gotten more national coverage. And Magination has never had as many authors and illustrators doing appearances as we do now. 

Tell us a little bit about the Magination Press Family websites. Who came up with this idea? What are you hoping consumers will get from it?

Jessica Jeffers: Our publisher, Brenda Carter, and the head of marketing, David Nygren, came up with the idea for It provides parents with additional resources that can help them address stress and anxiety in their kids or to help them teach their kids how to practice mindfulness. Articles are written by Magination Press authors or psychologists--and are reviewed by our editorial advisory board, so consumers can trust that the information is accurate and reliable. We made the content accessible--you don't need a degree in psychology to understand what you can do to help a child who is struggling with anxiety to feel better. We hope that consumers will use the site to find our related books that can further the conversation.

As you expand your reach, what do you find most exciting about what you are doing?

Jessica Jeffers: What's exciting to me is the kinds of conversations I get to have with people who are learning about us for the first time. We attended our first BookCon, and I spoke to a woman who loved our book Sewing the Rainbow by Gayle E. Pitman so much that she started to cry. She was moved that someone wanted to tell a story about this often-overlooked piece of history. I am a huge proponent of the idea that the best way to address mental health concerns is to make it safer to speak up about them. I love that our books enable people to have those kinds of conversations, and the positive effects that they bring.

Jason Wells: Coming to a nonprofit association after more than 20 years in children's trade publishing is a huge change for me. I couldn't be happier to bring my experience to an imprint that is part of an organization that is charged with improving people's lives through its work. Being able to apply my knowledge of the best practices of marketing and publicity to this amazing press is a privilege. I am thrilled at all the interest people have in Magination Press--especially those who have been watching us for years on the sidelines, eager to see us get more attention.

Selected 2018 Magination Press Titles

A Box of Butterflies by Jo Rooks (9781433828713; $16.95) is a charming introduction to social emotional learning for kids as a girl teaches a robot what love is.

Marvelous Maravilloso: Me and My Beautiful Family by Carrie Lara, PsyD, illustrated by Christine Battuz ($16.95 9781433828560) follows a young girl as she finds joy in the colors of the world all around her, including the colors of her own family.

Bye Bye Pesky Fly by Lysa Mullady, illustrated by Janet McDonnell ($16.95; 9781433828553). When Pig's peaceful, feel-good kind of day is interrupted by a Pesky Fly, he has to figure out what to do. Can he get his feel-good feelings back, and maybe even make a new friend along the way?

Yes I Can! A Girl and Her Wheelchair by Kendra J. Barrett, Jacqueline B. Toner, and Claire A.B. Freeland, illustrated by Violet LeMay ($16.99, 9781422828690). Through a day in the life of a girl in a wheelchair, this story encourages kids to foster an attitude of kindness towards others.

Breathe by Inês Castel-Branco ($16.95, 9781433828720). This introduction to mindfulness presents a collection of illustrated exercises to help little ones become aware of their breath and their body.


Header image: art from A Box of Butterflies: © Jo Rooks

Magination Press: Sewing the Rainbow: A Story about Gilbert Baker by Gayle E. Pitman, illustrated by Holly Clifton-Brown

Magination Press: Something Happened in Our Town: A Child's Story about Racial Injustice by Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins, and Ann Hazzard, illustrated by Jennifer Zivoin

Magination Press: Bee Still: An Invitation to Meditation by Frank J. Sileo, illustrated by Claire Keay

Magination Press: Boo-Boo! / All Mine! / Bye-Bye! (Terrific Toddlers) by Carol Zeavin and Rhona Silverbush, illustrated by Jon Davis

Magination Press: Grow Grateful / Grow Happy by Sage Foster-Lasser and Jon Lasser, illustrated by Christopher Lyles
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