Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing – part of the publisher recently bought by Penguin Randomhouse are introducing two new graphic novel lines for 2021, aimed at the very youngest readers and incorporating some already-published lines. And in doing so, they aim to teach a new generation of children how to read comic books in the first place.
Valerie Garfield, VP and Publisher – Licensed, Novelty, and Branded Publishing, told Publisher's Weekly "Graphic novels have always been appealing to kids but there's often great frustration with their ability to read them. By creating transitional books to guide readers into this format for both the beginning readers and the chapter books, we're helping them navigate how to read a graphic novel with confidence, instead of just 'dumping' them into a new category. Our programs have always been about building ramps, not gorges to cross… What the series have in common is a build-up to showing kids how to read panels and how to easily follow those panels and the story on a page."
Simon & Schuster's Ready-to-Read Graphics line will launch in June for the same audience as its Ready-to-Read leveled readers with original stories. Thunder and Cluck: Friends Do Not Eat Friends (Ready-to-Read Graphics Level 1) written by Jill Esbaum, drawn by Miles Thompson, Nugget and Dog: All Ketchup, No Mustard! (Ready-to-Read Graphics Level 2), written and drawn by Jason Tharp; and Geraldine Pu and Her Lunch Box, Too! (Ready-to-Read Graphics Level 3), written and drawn by Maggie P. Chang. Each book opens with an explanation of how to read a graphic novel.
While Simon & Schuster's Little Simon Graphic Novels, is a line created for readers ages five to nine under the Little Simon imprint. It will launch in February 2021 with graphic novels based on existing properties, The Coldfire Curse is the first of a spinoff of Jordan Quinn's Kingdom of Wrenly chapter books. The Pup Detectives is loosely based on the Rider Woofson series but retooled for younger readers. While Super Turbo, is adapted from the Super Turbo chapter books. The Little Simon Graphic Novels have more panels, more dialogue, and more complex stories. All books will be published at the same time in hardcover, paperback, and e-books.
And another couple of statistical points on the graph of where comic books in N0rth America are heading.