Publisher Puffin Books, is an imprint of Penguin Random House and this year they are celebrating their 80th anniversary. Founded in 1940, Puffin Books was first hatched as an idea after Noel Carrington, an English book designer and publisher who in 1939 was working as an editor of Country Life books, came to Allen Lane (founder of Penguin Books) and proposed a series of children’s non-fiction picture books. The name Puffin was, of course, derived as the obvious companion to the already established Penguin and Pelican Books.
Over the years that followed, Puffin Books continued to blossom and flourish, publishing the likes of E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web, C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia, Eve Garnett’s The Family from One End Street, Clive King’s Stig of the Dump, Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and Jan Pienkowski’s Meg and Mog, all of which are still family favourites to this day, 80 years later.
To celebrate 80 years of publishing children’s and young adult books, Puffin Books will be holding “celebrations to champion the power of reading and inspire children to dream big.” Authors including Jacqueline Wilson and Malorie Blackman will be joining in with the 80th birthday which includes activities such as an expanded World of Stories scheme in schools, a new podcast and a special new Puffin book.
In celebration of Puffin’s birthday, 80 new schools nationwide in 2020 will also be taking part in the World of Stories Programme. During this time, The Puffin World of Stories funded by Puffin, and run in partnership with the National Literary Trust, will be relaunched and expanded. Through book donations and bespoke training for teachers, the programme hopes to give primary schools the tools they need to re-vitalise their libraries as hubs of creativity and inspire a new generation of children to fall in love with reading.
As part of their celebrations, Puffin are also launching a podcast in spring 2020 to engage with new readers. Author, comedian and YouTuber Humza Arshad, who will be joined by “young sidekicks for a 30-minute story-inspired burst of fun, silliness and hilarity”.
What’s more, Puffin will also be joining forces with MCM Comic Con to put Roald Dahl’s Matilda alongside Wonder Women, running workshops and collecting dreams of the under-12’s at shows in London, Birmingham, Glasgow and Manchester, and running a competition from March 2020 to offer children the chance to see their dream turned into a film and premiered at their local cinema as part of the Into Film Festival, the largest youth-focused film festival in the world.
Puffin Books’ 80th birthday will also be celebration at the Bologna Book Fair, which runs from 20th March until 2nd April, and bookshops across the world, from India to New Zealand and Europe, will also be joining in with the fun and inspiring young people to love books.
Perhaps the most exciting part of the 80th anniversary celebration however, is the new, Puffin collection which will publish later this year. The Puffin Book of Big Dreams, is an anthology of short stories, poems and illustrations created by some of Puffin’s best writers and artists including; John Boyne, Julia Donaldson, Jacqueline Wilson, Malorie Blackman, Nick Sharratt, Helen Oxenbury, and Humza Arshad. The book will also include pieces from previously unpublished mentees from the WriteNow and DrawNow programme as well as “the dreams of children who have participated in the Puffin World of Stories programme,” and quotes from others about their childhood dreams.
The Puffin Book of Big Dreams is slated for published on 14th of May this year and aims “to spark the imagination,” Stated Puffin, adding “This celebratory book embodies Puffin’s past, present and future. It’s bursting with over 40 new stories, poems and illustrations from beloved Puffin authors and illustrators as well as classic content.”