Amazon (s AMZN) is expanding its children’s publishing footprint with two new imprints based out of New York, the company announced ahead of the American Library Association’s annual meeting this week. “Two Lions” will publish picture books, chapter books and middle-grade fiction (for kids ages 8 to 12), while “Skyscape” is aimed at teens. The imprints’ first titles will be published this spring.
Amazon acquired 450 children’s titles from the publisher Marshall Cavendish in December 2011, and Margery Cuyler, who had been publisher at Marshall Cavendish and is a children’s author and illustrator herself, will head the new Two Lions imprint. Tim Ditlow, associate publisher of Amazon’s children’s publishing unit, will oversee Skyscape (per a tweet by Publishers Weekly).
The expansion could help feed Kindle FreeTime Unlimited, Amazon’s new subscription product for kids. The program, aimed at 3- to 8-year-olds, offers unlimited access to ebooks, movies, TV shows, educational apps and games for a set monthly price (starting at $2.99).
According to Amazon, the lions of Two Lions represent “the past” and “the future.” Titles include Slugger (“a slug wants to join a baseball team, but how can he hold a bat?”) by Susan Pearson, who published previous picture books with Marshall Cavendish, and Gandhi: A March to the Sea by Alice McGinty, who published previous books with Random House and Houghton Mifflin.
One title of note on Skyscape’s spring list is The Breathing Series by Rebecca Donovan. According to the catalog (which you can check out here), “the trilogy’s ?rst two initially self-published titles have amassed a large and devoted readership—over 11,000 online reviews and counting!—who have spread the word and are, yes, breathless for the ?nal, never-before-published installment.” Penguin is publishing the trilogy in the U.K.