Books are a wonderful way to educate, inspire, and connect with children. Here are some publishers in Oregon that are here to help parents, grandparents, and teachers do just that.
- Hazy Dell Press
Hazy Dell Press publishes books for children of all ages, from helping children learn the alphabet with Monster ABC, to a retelling of Hamlet for children ages 8–12 in Zombie, or Not to Be. Books published by Hazy Dell also feature bright, eye-catching illustrations to keep young readers engaged.
Of particular interest is a series of board books for toddlers featuring monsters. Each book has a different educational focus; one book, Don’t Eat Me, Chupacabra! (No Me Comas, Chupacabra!) teaches children simple Spanish vocabulary. Another monster book, Hush Now, Banshee!, tackles counting.
Hazy Dell Press’s books have received positive reviews in both Kirkus Reviews and Publisher’s Weekly. Additionally, Zombie, or Not to Be is one of the finalists for Foreword INDIE’s 2020 Book of the Year for juvenile fiction, and their book, Hobgoblin and the Seven Stinkers of Rancidia, received the bronze award in 2019. The press describes themselves as “publish[ing] quirky, grown-up-friendly children’s books that promote empathy, inclusiveness and imagination.”
- Believe in Wonder
Believe in Wonder is a Portland-based publisher run by the husband and wife duo, Brian and Josie Parker. Not only do Brian and Josie run a business together, but they also co-author the books that Believe in Wonder publishes. The Believe in Wonder website credits Brian as the “author, illustrator, and creator of the fantastical,” and Josie as the “curator and artisan of imagination and wonder.”
Brian and Josie author and publish a wide variety of children’s books, ranging from picture books that are set in the fictional town of Edgewood (home to a family of monsters and a giant bumblebee) to graphic novels. Brian, who creates the illustrations, creates vivid drawings of the animals that star in many of Believe in Wonder’s books. One book series even follows the origins of Santa Claus in The Epic of Nicholas the Maker.
Believe in Wonder’s mission is based on the Socrates quote, “Wonder is the beginning of wisdom.” A note from the publisher explaining this choice says, “I hold this truth close to my heart, and my work is focused on promoting wonder in the everyday.” Could there be a better way to approach writing and publishing children’s books?
- A Kids Book About
A Kids Book About is another Portland-based publishing house. This one, however, is a little different from the previous two. A Kids Book About takes a novel approach to writing books for children by tackling difficult topics such as racism, gender, and depression, and formatting them in a way that kids can understand.
A Kids Book About publishes books that are atypical for children’s literature in both subject matter and in style. The books do not feature prominent illustrations, but instead incorporate design elements into the text using different colors, fonts, and sizes to emphasize different things.
CEO and co-founder Jelani Memory wrote the book that started it all, A Kids Book About Racism, to start a conversation with his own children. His original idea sparked the subsequent titles with the idea that kids are ready for these serious conversations. There is a Kids Book About for almost every difficult topic parents want to discuss with their children, and even some fun topics too.
- Ripple Grove Press
After the tragic loss of their daughter during birth, Rob and Amanda Broder found healing while reading books to their second daughter, who was born almost a year later. After reading and re-reading the same children’s books, Rob had the idea to start their own publishing company, Ripple Grove Press, and “find writers and illustrators that may not be seen by bigger presses and make picture books.”
Since then, Ripple Grove Press has published a myriad of beautifully illustrated books for kids, and many have been nominated for various awards, both regionally and nationally. Ripple Grove Press also found ways to help their community by donating a portion of the sales from Mr. Tanner to WhyHunger, a non-profit that works to fight poverty and hunger, and by supporting the Children’s Book Bank in Portland.
These are just four of the many wonderful children’s book publishers and authors in Oregon. Check these great publishers out and support Oregon literature!