Once upon a time, a young Englishman named Sebastian Walker set out to publish the very best books for children. With publishing experience in sales, a small bank loan, and a huge entrepreneurial spirit, he launched Walker Books in 1978 in the spare bedroom of his home, and convinced Wendy Boase, a brilliant editor, and Amelia Edwards, a visionary designer, to join him in his venture.
The three created a uniquely creative working environment and offered a level of support that was new in publishing, not just for their staff, but for the prominent authors and illustrators who quickly came aboard. These top names in publishing -- including Helen Oxenbury, Nicola Bayley, and Colin McNaughton -- were welcome to drop in unexpectedly at Walker Books, meet with their editors at any time, and even work in the pleasant, light-filled offices. (As you can imagine, the staff soon outgrew Sebastian's spare bedroom.) Years before Internet start-ups, Walker Books not only served lunch to its staff and visitors daily, but offered their authors and illustrators shares in the company profits. This generosity is still unique in publishing.
The message was clear: the books and their creators were the stars of Walker Books. This extraordinary commitment, support, and generosity earned the company a loyalty that endures even today.
When Sebastian Walker chose to expand internationally, he chose bookish yet vibrant Cambridge, Massachusetts, which reminded him of the London area where Walker Books eventually made its home. Sadly, Sebastian died in 1991 shortly after launching Candlewick Press in Cambridge, and Walker Books Australia in Syd ney, but his commitment to publishing excellent children's books lives on -- and flourishes -- as a legacy on three continents.
Candlewick Press opened with a mere six employees, and now our staff has expanded to more than sixty. We've published more than 1,500 remarkable children's books in ten years, including the classics, Can't You Sleep, Little Bear?, by Martin Waddell and illustrated by Barbara Firth; Guess How Much I Love You, by Sam McBratney and illustrated by Anita Jeram; My Very First Mother Goose, edited by Iona Opie and illustrated by Rosemary Wells; and It's Perfectly Normal, by Robie H. Harris and illustrated by Michael Emberley.
At the dawn of the millennium, the growth within the company promises an even more expansive and exciting future. With our parent company, Walker Books in London and in Sydney, a growing Web presence, and most importantly, the highest-quality children books to span the globe, Candlewick Press is today part of a worldwide company with an infinite horizon. Ten years - it may not sound like a long time, but what an incredible decade it's been. And this is just the beginning.