Houghton Mifflin Harcourt announced plans to launch Versify, a new imprint in its Books For Young Readers Group, in spring 2019, with a list to be curated by poet, educator and Newbery Medal-winning author Kwame Alexander. Versify will debut in spring 2019 with four titles.
In a release, HMH said the new imprint will reflect Alexander’s “vision that accessible and powerful prose and poetry—in picture books, novels, and nonfiction—can celebrate the lives and reflect the possibilities of all children.” The new imprint will release titles by both new new artists and authors, as well as established creators.
Alexander said that while Versify will not “reinvent publishing,” he hopes it will ensure there are “more voices in the room that create unique and intelligent entertainment that electrifies and edifies young people.”
Working alongside Alexander on the imprint will be his editor, HMH senior executive editor Margaret Raymo, and editorial project manager Erika Turner. Versify will have an advisory council made up of students from around the country.
The new imprint’s initial list will feature a picture book that is a tribute to African-American life called This is for Us by Alexander, with art by Kadir Nelson. Other titles include ¡Vamos!/Let’s Go!, which is the first in a series of bilingual picture books; The Last Last-Day-of-Summer, a middle-grade fantasy novel; and White Rose, a young adult novel in verse about Nazi resistance leader Sophie Scholl.
HMH Books for Young Readers senior v-p and publisher Catherine Onder said Alexander will bring to the imprint “an extraordinary vision, passion and outreach that will surely resonate with readers young and old, long into the future.”