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Magination Press

Look­ing for a book for a child who is expe­ri­enc­ing a hard time — maybe being bul­lied, maybe par­ents are divorc­ing or some­one is seri­ous­ly ill, or some­thing scary hap­pened at school or in the com­mu­ni­ty. Or maybe a teen feels “dif­fer­ent”?

Mag­i­na­tion Press is a book imprint of the Amer­i­can Psy­chol­o­gy Asso­ci­a­tion that — through books — helps fam­i­lies, par­ents, and chil­dren cope with emo­tion­al, learn­ing, or behav­ioral challenges.

Magination Press logo

I asked Kris­tine Ender­le, edi­to­r­i­al direc­tor, to describe the unique focus of Mag­i­na­tion Press.

What is most reward­ing — and chal­leng­ing — about being an edi­to­r­i­al director? 

It’s chal­leng­ing — nd reward­ing at the same time — being a small inde­pen­dent press. With near­ly every major pub­lish­er now pub­lish­ing books on social-emo­tion­al learn­ing, men­tal health, and well­ness, our mar­ket just got a lit­tle crowd­ed. But, read­ers should know that they can count on us for strong, evi­dence-based, informed infor­ma­tion. Being part of the Amer­i­can Psy­cho­log­i­cal Asso­ci­a­tion allows us to work with psy­chol­o­gists — experts in their fields. Our books are rock-sol­id, based on sci­en­tif­ic and trust­ed sources. We are sup­port­ive of and sen­si­tive to our lit­tle read­ers and young adults. Our books are writ­ten with kind­ness and respect. Our books are designed to lead read­ers through an intro­spec­tive and heal­ing process. Our books approach this process from a kid-cen­tered, prob­lem-solv­ing place. We want to empow­er kids by giv­ing them the tools they need to make a dif­fer­ence in their lives.

Mar­ket­ing our books out­side of a schol­ar­ly world has also been chal­leng­ing. We’re thrilled that Jason Wells (for­mer­ly of Rodale and Abrams) joined us in 2018 to help us reach a wider audi­ence and move more con­fi­dent­ly in the trade world through the efforts of his great team. Our front list sales are up over 70% year to date over last year! Our newest titles with new mar­ket­ing are work­ing well together.

What is the passion that gives you the courage to continue publishing books?

Magination Press is the children’s book imprint of the American Psycho­logical Association. Through our work, we aim to make an impact and further the APA mission—to promote the advancement, communication, and application of psychological science and knowledge to bene­fit society and improve lives. So what that means for Magination Press is through our books we reach youngsters and teens (and their parents and caregivers) making navigating life’s challenges a little easier. Magination Press works diligently to help children and teens learn to deal with the big and small challenges they may face and be a go-to source of youth-focused books on men­tal health and wellness, social-emotional learning. We share with the world mental health ex­pertise and psychological knowledge to help kids flourish and grow. Additionally, Magination Press is committed to being a progressive, proactive force for social change and to teach kids about psychology and how it can inform and empower them as they apply psychological sci­ence to their everyday life. This advocacy-effort, mission-informed approach is what drives Magination Press.

What keeps you going when disappointments or frustrations happen?

A talented team of editors and their energy feeds my days. We added a new senior editor role this year and also brought on our first production editor and in-house graphic designer, so keep an eye on us as we evolve. We are also signing-on familiar, beloved authors such as Pat Mora, Lesléa Newman, and others.

Tell us about a few of your recent publications and why they are unique.

Trans + book coverWe love books that lead teens to­ward a place of self-discovery and provide honest, un­censored, factual information that may answer questions they have relating to mental health concerns (anxiety, stress, depression, anger, suicide), psychological development (self-expression or identity), and social-emotional psychology (life skills). An excellent example of such a book is TRANS+: Love, Sex, Romance, and Being You by Kathryn Gonzales and Karen Rayne. We are super excited about this book! Trans+ is an uncensored guide for teens who are transgender, nonbinary, gender-nonconforming, or gender-fluid. The authors are amazing. The information is essential and frank. The stories are real, making the whole book genuine, honest, authoritative, and inclusive. It’s really special.

We work hard to reflect the expe­ri­ences of all kids and cre­ate books where chil­dren and teens can see them­selves and can con­nect with the char­ac­ters. We now make room on our list for books that speak to and help kids under­stand crit­i­cal soci­etal issues and open a con­ver­sa­tion to impact our com­mu­ni­ties. For instance, Some­thing Hap­pened in Our Town is a sto­ry about a police shoot­ing of an unarmed African-Amer­i­can man. It is an amaz­ing book that starts a con­ver­sa­tion about racial injus­tice, inter­nal­ized bias­es, and our coun­try’s his­to­ry of oppres­sion and preju­dices. Also Mar­velous Mar­avil­loso cel­e­brates col­or­ful­ly diverse fam­i­lies and at its core it is about mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism, inclu­sion, and bira­cial iden­ti­ty. Jacob’s Room to Choose intro­duces the need for open-access bath­rooms for chil­dren every­where and dis­cuss­es gen­der expres­sion and gen­der non­con­form­ing identity.

Something Happened in Our Town, Marvelous Maravilloso, Jacob's Room to Choose

Goodbye, SchoolI love find­ing books that have a smidgen of psy­chology or sto­ries that sneak impor­tant psychologi­cal con­cepts into the sto­ry. We recent­ly pub­lished a book called, Good­bye, School. There are sev­er­al books about start­ing school, but I haven’t see one about leav­ing school to go to a new school or at the end of the school year. This book tells a sto­ry that guides chil­dren through an impor­tant peri­od of their life and helps them under­stand tran­si­tion or change and acknowl­edge their feel­ings through­out the expe­ri­ence. It’s beau­ti­ful­ly illustrat­ed with charm­ing details and super help­ful with the under­ly­ing psy­chol­o­gy of accept­ing and deal­ing with dif­fi­cult transitions.

What books of yours would you especially recommend to teachers and librarians?

Neon Words—a neat writ­ing guide and guid­ed jour­ney of self-expression

Camil­la Car­tog­ra­ph­er—super cute sto­ry about a boar, snowy for­est, maps, and spa­tial awareness

Red Yel­low Blue—great lit­tle sto­ry about social and emo­tion­al learning

Giraffe Asks for Help—a per­fect tool to encour­age kids to ask for help with themes of prob­lem-solv­ing and teamwork

Giraffe Asks for Help, Neon Words, Red Yellow Blue

What topics are you currently looking for? (for our author readers)

Camilla CartographerWe always are looking for picture books covering social-emotion learning and friendship/family relationships. Books for teens that address critical societal issues (community violence, addiction, racism, climate change) and help teens understand and deal with anxiety, stress, and fears those issues cause are at the top of our wish list. We are also interested in books that will provide a safe way for middle graders and teens to explore their own voice, values, roles, identities, and ideas. We are also exploring nonfiction resource books on psy­chology subdisciplines and research methods and ways to promote psychological science as a STEM discipline. Submissions guidelines on the website are specific and helpful.

No social-emo­tion­al or behav­ior issue is too big or too small to be con­sid­ered an appro­pri­ate top­ic. Not only is the vari­ety of top­ics amaz­ing — from every­day sit­u­a­tions, such as start­ing school or adapt­ing to a chang­ing, grow­ing fam­i­ly to more seri­ous prob­lems, such as divorce, depres­sion, anx­i­ety, asth­ma, atten­tion dis­or­ders, bul­ly­ing, and death.  Oth­er top­ics are the uni­ver­sal devel­op­men­tal chal­lenges chil­dren face — phys­i­cal changes, sex­u­al ori­en­ta­tion, han­dling awk­ward social sit­u­a­tions, mak­ing friends. 

Mag­i­na­tion Press books are not didac­tic. Children’s emo­tions are shown through behav­ioral inter­ac­tions with peers, pets, or par­ents. The read­er is not told what to do to han­dle a chal­leng­ing sit­u­a­tion, learn­ing dif­fi­cul­ty or neg­a­tive feel­ings, but giv­en sug­ges­tions and options. In the fic­tion nar­ra­tives, read­ers see how feel­ings and thoughts can evolve and change.

All of our pic­ture books include a com­pre­hen­sive Note to Par­ents. What­ev­er age of the read­er, Mag­i­na­tion Press has books to offer:

  • Pic­ture books for young chil­dren (ages 4 to 8)
  • Mid­dle school read­ers for chil­dren (ages 9 to 13)
  • Non­fic­tion books and work­books for old­er chil­dren (ages 9 to 13 and teens)

Thank you, Kris­tine Ender­le, Edi­to­r­i­al Direc­tor, Mag­i­na­tion Press, and Amer­i­can Psy­cho­log­i­cal Asso­ci­a­tion for cre­at­ing impor­tant books for chil­dren, teens, par­ents, teach­ers, and all ages of caregivers. 

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