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Partnership creates first children’s imprint from Uni press

Massey University Press (MUP) is joining forces with Kate De Goldi and Susan Paris. Their company, Annual Ink, is to become MUP’s new children’s imprint — the first of its kind in New Zealand.

The imprint’s first title, Hazel and the Snails, by debut author Nan Blanchard, will be published in March 2019 and it exemplifies everything the partnership plans to emphasise.

‘In essence,’ says De Goldi, ‘we want to help transform publishing in New Zealand for middle readers. Currently, picture books and YA books are relatively strong here, but material for eight- to 13-year-olds often lacks variety and depth. Massey University Press is the perfect partner for our enterprise. Nicola and her team value books for inquiring readers, and their titles make a significant contribution to our reading culture.’

Paris says that the ground has shifted a lot in the last decade. ‘More children’s books than ever are being published and purchased globally, but commercial pressure has seen a creeping conservatism. The range of books available for this important reading age has narrowed considerably, and inevitably this means in New Zealand too.’

The editors both believe that series books by international writers tend to crowd out the rich fiction and nonfiction that are ultimately more rewarding for the reader. ‘Books that create adventurous, thoughtful readers, books that relish language and ideas — this is what booksellers, parents, and teachers can expect from an Annual Ink title,’ says De Goldi.

‘Massey University Press is honoured to be working with Susan and Kate,’ says MUP publisher, Nicola Legat. ‘Kate is known as a great champion of children’s literature. She teaches in this space and writes for this audience superbly. Susan is an outstanding and innovative editor of the venerable School Journal, and she writes for the educational market, so between them there’s a lot of experience. They’re looking forward very much to the prospect of supporting new authors and publishing new kinds of books for this crucial period of childhood when the life-long reading habit is bedded in.

‘It’s now well established that the reading habit is one of the key contributors to the cultural and economic health of society,’ adds Nicola. ‘If we don’t encourage children, especially middle readers, towards books that extend them, we risk that their pleasure in reading will be lost. So we’re thrilled to have the opportunity to offer New Zealand children’s books that excite and sustain young readers and broaden their imaginations.’

The imprint will initially publish two books a year. They will be available in all good bookstores.

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