When we choose the books that end up on a member’s doorstep, we know that they have the potential to shape perspectives, open imaginations, and inspire lifelong dreams in those that read them. Needless to say, we don’t take it lightly.
Our specially-curated children’s literature reaches far beyond the basic two-day shipping or downloadable texts. We pride ourselves in finding the true gems. And a big part of that is seeking publishers that are doing the same.
For example, the Technicolor Treasure Hunt is a nature scavenger hunt that teaches words and colors. The Story Orchestra Series turns renowned classical music into breathtaking illustrations while buttons in the book play real excerpts from the music. In every book of the Color Me Bath series, the pages turn from black and white to color with water (when your baby inevitably drops it in the tub). See what we mean? True gems.
What do all these books have in common? Their publisher, Quarto.
Quarto’s focus on nonfiction puts a unique spin on children’s literature, and Literati loves these educational—yet incredibly engaging—books. We spoke with Angela Corpus, who heads up marketing for all children’s books, about what exactly makes a Quarto book, well, a Quarto book.
“Our big goal is to create books that encourage a sense of curiosity and adventure.”
Music to our ears. Quarto produces books that allow kids of all ages to dive deeply into the world around them—lots of maps, hands-on activity books, atlases, and biographies that feature characters who have made a difference in the world.
Quarto goes beyond inspiring stories to create more than a book. Like we mentioned, the pages literally change colors and play music. These books are playful experiences, built to be absolutely adored by the little hands that hold them.
“We try to use all the things that keeps kids engaged and makes them want to love books,” Angela says. “Lots of tactiles and bright colors.”
Literati loves books with dynamic, interesting characters, and we always strive to ensure these characters can be relatable to every child in the world. That’s why we love working with Quarto.
“Our children’s books have a history of being near the forefront when it comes to diversity and inclusivity,” Angela tells us with pride. “We’ve published some of the first books that reflect mixed race, disabled characters, and non-traditional family structures, like children raised by grandparents.”
With a keen focus on telling untold stories and finding fresh perspectives, Quarto stands out as a publisher that champions inclusivity.
“We’re looking for ideas that are a little more cutting-edge and introduce new concepts to kids,” Angela says. In fact, some of the more groundbreakingly diverse books have been commissioned from Quarto’s in-house editors.
In order for children to truly gain all of the wonderful benefits of reading, it’s so important that they can see themselves in a story. Quarto even helps teachers by creating curriculums that go along with their non-fiction books. Thoughtful discussion questions encourage kids to really put themselves in the narrative, and reflect on how the themes of each story can apply to their own life. And that, friends, is when the real magic of reading happens.
Daring to Be Different
So, besides a steadfast dedication to diversity, what else makes Quarto stand out from the publishing crowd?
For starters, they take non-fiction to a whole new level. Their Little People, BIG DREAMS series, often included in our subscription boxes, is the perfect example of this unique take on the genre.
These books, featuring a vast variety of inspiring figures like Frida Khalo, Aretha Franklin, and Maya Angelou, were among the first “kid biographies” that focused on the lives of these people when they were, well, little. It’s still a biography, but it’s immensely impactful for children; it teaches that if toddler Rosa Parks and 6-year-old Muhammad Ali can go on to achieve such big dreams, then you can, too. “It’s a little twist on a classic idea. We love coming up with ideas like that,” Angela explains.
“We definitely take chances on new illustrators and try to highlight new creators.”
Another reason Literati loves Quarto books is the truly remarkable artwork that brings every story to life. Angela tells us, “a lot of our strategy is hiring really diverse illustrators from all around the world to get different styles.” Quarto certainly shares a certain passion we have here at Literati: books should be a work of art.
Diversity is important here, too. “We make sure that kids can see themselves in the illustrations. There’s lots of inclusivity.”
Quarto also takes fun chances when it comes to the actual structure of the book (called a “format” in the biz). “We play with format sizes,” says Angela. “We’re known for huge formats, sideways books, and other unique formats that are eye-catching and [that] kids want to grab off the shelves.” Because when it comes to kids books, no one wants to be boxed in.
Best Job Ever?
Pretty much. Whether you’re spreading a love of reading through subscription boxes or publishing, working in children’s literature is one of the most rewarding gigs out there. We may be a bit biased, but Angela certainly agrees.
“There is nothing like seeing a kid light up when they get excited about a book.”
Get in Touch with Your Inner Storyteller
Ever wonder how books get made? Angela informs us that sometimes ideas are born in publishing houses, stories are promoted at book fairs, or individual authors bring their story ideas to an editor.
Got a story to tell? Or to draw? Editors are always looking for new ideas, and many publishers have submission guidelines on their websites.
“The best advice we can ever give is to put your work out there.”
Coloring Pages from Quarto for Extra Fun!
Let your little ones use their imagination and add their own personal style to the idols of Quarto’s Little People, BIG DREAMS series. Just download and print these PDFs for instant coloring book pages!