A little while ago, my boss forwarded me a submission from Jill Grinberg of Jill Grinberg Literary. Laurie Berkner, a huge star in the world of children's music, was interested in turning some of her songs into picture books. To be perfectly honest, I did not know who Laurie was. But her bio was impressive, she was constantly touring, she had a background in education, and she had a massive social media following, so I thought, I really should give this proposal a look.
I spent a number of days listening to Laurie’s music and watching her videos ahead of my meeting with her, and I was very excited by the possibility of making picture books out of some of her songs. But after meeting Laurie, I was desperate to work with her. Every trait she conveys in her videos—funny, playful, generous, talented—she possesses in person, and then some. And she’s deeply passionate about her art and audience. I find her incredibly inspiring and was thrilled when I was able to acquire these books in a competitive auction. Here's the press release that we sent out recently.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BESTSELLING CHILDREN’S RECORDING ARTIST LAURIE BERKNER TO PUBLISH THREE PICTURE BOOKS WITH SIMON & SCHUSTER BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS
New York, NY, October 13, 2015: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, announced today that it will publish three picture books with award-winning and bestselling children’s music star, Laurie Berkner.
We Are the Dinosaurs, based on one of Berkner’s most popular songs, will release in Spring 2017 and will be illustrated by Ben Clanton. Pillowland, a gorgeous lullaby destined to become a beloved bedtime book, is due out in Fall 2017 and will be illustrated by Camille Garoche. Monster Boogie, a hit at Berkner’s live shows, is scheduled for Summer 2018, also to be illustrated by Ben Clanton.
Berkner, whose latest album, Laurie Berkner’s Favorite Classic Kids’ Songs, hits stores this month, was a former preschool music teacher and indie rocker. She started marketing her music more than fifteen years ago from her living room on her own label, Two Tomatoes Records; today, she is widely recognized as a pioneer in the “kindie” music genre and was crowned “the undisputed queen of kindie rock” by USA Today. The Wall Street Journal noted, “Her music is distinctive because it speaks to kids without talking down to them, charming youngsters without boring grown-ups.”
“It is no wonder that Laurie is beloved by children and adored by parents,” says Christian Trimmer, executive editor, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. “Her songs, besides being incredibly catchy, are crafted with the utmost care and respect for her audience. She understands what kids, parents, and educators want and need. On top of that, she’s just really cool. I’m very excited to be making books with her.”
“I could not be more thrilled about my collaboration with Simon & Schuster,” says Laurie Berkner. “I’ve always imagined my songs being made into picture books. Now Ben’s and Camille’s stunning talents will bring them to life in ways I can only dream of! Their talent and Simon & Schuster’s expertise (with the gifted Christian Trimmer at the helm) is the perfect combination to help me create many wonderful books to share with my fans.”
Trimmer, who will edit all three books, acquired world rights to the three books from Jill Grinberg at Grinberg Literary. Marietta B. Zacker of Nancy Gallt Literary Agency represented Mr. Clanton. Kirsten Hall of Catbird Agency represented Ms. Garoche.