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