Lee & Low Snaps up Children’s Book Press Assets

Lee & Low Books, the New York-based publisher, acquired late last month the assets belonging to San Francisco-based Children’s Book Press, a specialty publisher of multicultural children’s books. Specifics of the deal were not publicized.


New York, NY, Jan. 27, 2012—Continuing to expand despite a difficult economy, LEE & LOW BOOKS, an independent publisher of high quality books for children and young adults with a focus on diversity, announced today that it has acquired the assets of San Francisco-based Children’s Book Press, the first specialty publisher of multicultural children’s books in the United States. With this addition LEE & LOW BOOKS becomes one of the largest independent multicultural children’s publishers in the country, with over 650-titles in print.
Terms of the cash transaction include the acquisition of tangible assets such as books in inventory and intangible assets such as copyrights and trademarks, including the Children’s Book Press name. Lee & Low will assume Children’s Book Press contracts with authors, illustrators, customers and suppliers. The sale price was not disclosed.
“This acquisition is a tremendous honor for us– to keep the prestigious collection of Children’s Book Press alive and to have the opportunity to build on its 36-year history,” said Jason Low, publisher of LEE & LOW BOOKS.

Lee & Low Books also announced that two of its titles were recipients Monday, Jan. 23, of top American Library Association-sponsored children’s book publishing awards. Under the Mesquite, by Guadalupe Garcia McCall won the 2012 Pura Belpre Award Author Medal. Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match/Marisol McDonald no combinia, by author Monica Brown and illustrator Sara Palacios won the 2012 Pura Belpre Award Illustrator Honor. Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match is one of the titles acquired from Children’s Book Press.

“Marisol McDonald is the last book published by CBP, so it is a nice if not bittersweet ending for this small press,” Low said.

Children’s Book Press (CBP), founded in 1975, and LEE & LOW BOOKS share similar missions of promoting diversity through the publication of books for young readers. The first nonprofit independent publisher to focus solely on multicultural and bilingual literature for children in the United States, CBP works feature characters from African American, Asian/Pacific American, Native American, Latino, and multiracial communities. Its authors, illustrators and books have won major awards, including the Ezra Jack Keats New Writers Award, Pura Belpré Award, Jane Addams Award, Américas Award, Tomás Rivera Award, and others. Among its better-known titles are Family Pictures, See the Rhythm , My Diary from Here to There, Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match, Storyteller’s Candle, Let Me Help, Quinito’s Neighborhood, Upside Down Boy, I Know the River Loves Me, Cilantro Girl, It doesn’t Have to Be This Way, and Angel’s Kite. Children’s Book Press will maintain its own identity as a separate imprint of LEE & LOW BOOKS.

“Creating continuity for the mission of Children’s Book Press is important to us, since its commitment to diversity was so groundbreaking,” noted Low. “Children’s Book Press started the trend of featuring people of color in the pages of books—before this, the reading experience was for the most part exclusively white.”

The purchase of CBP is another step in Lee & Low’s growth. Founded in 1991 to provide illustrated children’s books for the diversity market, the Manhattan-based company has steadily expanded its grade and age ranges and its content. In 2000, it launched its now firmly established education arm, Bebop Books, which started with books for grades k-2 and by 2005 reached grades k-5. Last year it entered the young adult (middle school and high school) market through the launch of Tu Books, an imprint for science fiction, fantasy, and mystery novels.

“Our Children’s Book Press acquisition and the warm reception that Tu is meeting say without question that the demand is growing for diverse books,” Low said. “It is our prediction that as America becomes more and more culturally diverse, the need for diverse books will grow along with the changing population. At the same time, it will become increasingly apparent that books with multicultural characters deal with common and compelling themes that make them good reads for audiences of all cultures.”