One of the most prestigious children's paperback publishers in the United States, Puffin Books was founded on a strong literary tradition and a commitment to publishing a successful mix of classic children's fiction and the best new literature. Over the years, Puffin has transformed from a small, yet distinguished paperback house, into one of the largest, most diverse, and successful children's publishers in business, publishing everything from picture books to ground-breaking middle grade and teen fiction.
Puffin began in England in 1941 when Allen Lane, publisher of Penguin Books, and Noel Carrington, a publisher of natural history books, teamed up to produce the first line of quality paperbacks for children. Puffin USA didn't get its start until 1978, when Penguin acquired Viking Kestrel and Viking's paperback line, Seafarer Books.
During the 1980s, Puffin Books initiated the period of remarkable growth that has become its hallmark. Puffin Books produced quality paperback editions of Viking titles, aggressively acquired titles for paperback publication from outside publishing houses, reprinted Puffin UK titles, and maintained a backlist packed with award-winning children's literature including Robert McCloskey's Caldecott Medal winner Make Way For Ducklings, Ludwig Bemelmans' beloved Caldecott Honor book Madeline, and Don Freeman's classic Corduroy.
In 1988, Penguin merged with New American Library and Dutton, creating a new powerhouse Puffin list. Incorporating titles from three hardcover imprints, Viking Children's Books, Dial Books for Young Readers, and Dutton Children's Books, Puffin drew on the strength of its expanded list to launch the Puffin Easy-to-Read series as well as, in a major joint venture with Puffin UK, a newly redesigned Puffin Classics series. The 1996 merger of Penguin Books with the Putnam Berkley Group, and the subsequent incorporation of Putnam's PaperStar imprint into Puffin, cemented Puffin's longstanding position as one of the leading children's paperback publishers in the business.
With an ever-expanding list built on the winning combination of literary classics and appealing commercial fiction, Puffin Books remains a children's books innovator and perennial reader favorite. In addition to publishing the quality literary fiction that has provided such a strong foundation over the years, Puffin has started several original series with broad commercial appeal.
Publishing approximately 225 titles a year, Puffin is able to deliver the finest in every age group: lift-the-flaps and picture books for young children, Puffin Easy-to-Reads for first-time readers, Puffin Chapters and the best in historical and contemporary fiction for middle-graders, and critically-acclaimed novels for older readers. Where else can one find A. A. Milne's classic Winnie-the-Pooh books next to the weird and wacky tales of Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith? Or the best-selling Spot lift-the-flap books by Eric Hill beside the moving novels of S. E. Hinton?
Noted Puffin picture book authors and illustrators include Jan Brett, Eric Carle, Graeme Base, Tomie dePaola, Ezra Jack Keats, Rosemary Wells, Paul Zelinsky, E. B. Lewis, Jon Scieszka, Lane Smith, David Catrow, Patricia Polacco, and many more.
The New York Times loves Puffin picture books so much, it helped make all of these titles bestsellers: Bunny Party and Ruby's Beauty Shop by Rosemary Wells, Walter the Farting Dog: Trouble at the Yard Sale by William Kotzwinkle and Glenn Murray, and Miss Bindergarten Celebrates the 100th Day of Kindergarten by Joseph Slate.
For the middle grade reader, Puffin splashes onto the scene with these great titles. The classic and classically hilarious Judy Blume has landed a home for her bestselling Fudge series, including Double Fudge, Superfudge, Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great, and Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, in Puffin. Book Sense bestseller Lionboy by Zizou Corder was written by a very creative mother-daughter team! And Mike Lupica's Travel Team and Gennifer Choldenko's Newbery Honor book Al Capone Does My Shirts flew right up the charts on both the New York Times and Publishers Weekly bestseller lists.
A highlight of Puffin's middle grade series is Puffin Modern Classics, the home to award-winning contemporary classics, including A Long Way from Chicago, Summer of the Swans, and Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes. We continue to publish the popular Cam Jansenz and Young Cam Jansen mysteries. And Jon Scieszka's hilarious Time Warp Trio keeps middle grade readers in stitches, and The Roman Mysteries combine, all the drama of fast-paced thrillers with the historical accuracy of textbooks, and keeps readers involved every step of the way.
Puffin has also expanded its list of original series for young readers. Hoofbeats by author Kathleen Duey, is a middle-grade series devoted entirely to young girls and their horses, historically rich in detail and utterly engrossing. The delightful new stars of Fame School will charm young readers with their talent and devotion to their craft. The Diamond Brothers mysteries by Anthony Horowitz are great for young detectives and action fans alike. And Hank the Cowdog is solving his fiftieth caseand is still going strong!
Middle graders and teen readers devour books by Puffin's fiction authors who include Lloyd Alexander, author of Time Cat and The Chronicles of Pyrdain, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory author Roald Dahl, The Cat Ate My Gymsuit author and Amber Brown creator Paula Danziger, award-winning historical fiction author Jean Fritz, Travel Team's Mike Lupica, Pippi Longstocking creator Astrid Lindgren, Lyddie's Katherine Paterson, Newbery Honor and Newbery Medal winner Richard Peck, Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry's author, Mildred D. Taylor, multiple award-winning author Jacqueline Woodson.
Eileen Bishop Kreit
Eileen Kreit was a long standing member of the Penguin Young Readers Group before joining Puffin as Vice President and Publisher in February 2004. She began her career at Penguin in 1990.