Foreword from our Editorial Director, Noemí Mercadé
Over a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, with a long dry spell without being able to attend book fairs, where the only way to establish contacts and stay in touch has been online, the company has continued to focus on the interests of children, paying attention to the new needs that have arisen within this context.
Now more than ever we have to do this, because as UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta H. Fore said: “Children must be at the heart of recovery efforts. Only then can we protect this generation from becoming a lost generation.”
Indeed, we are becoming increasingly aware that during this crisis we have mainly focused our attention on the health of our seniors and in getting kids back to school, which are two laudable and absolutely essential objectives. But perhaps we have not spent enough time observing or listening to children as they go through such a fundamental stage in their lives.
Given these unusual times, we have been working on a powerful editorial offer which concentrates on books that promote environmental awareness. Amongst other aims, we want to motivate children to take part in healthy activities in the open air so that they can take pleasure from their environment and learn to protect it in a fun and enjoyable way, following the principle that “you love what you know”.
This is such an important goal for us that we have created a specific imprint within Combel, known as Ecosfera (Ecosphere), that includes books published by us which have this new ecological approach. We started this journey with the title 12 Things to Do Before You Grow Up, followed up by Tree Unfolded by Teresa Franquesa, delightfully illustrated by Sigrid Martínez.
New for this year are non-fiction books such as We are Family & We are Different, a brief history of humanity explained to young children in two titles that complement two other highly successful books: The Human Body Inside & Out by Cristina Junyent and Cristina Losantos.
Coinciding with the seventh anniversary of the launch of the exciting Agus & Monsters series, and the recent success of the new Bitmax & Co series, we are particularly proud of our new project aimed at a young audience: the Mía Fantasía series, by the exceptionally talented duo of author Elisenda Roca and illustrator Betowers. You will be bewitched by the youngest member of the Fantasia family accompanied by her cat, dog and blue hamster. You will soon find out what her powers are!
And because every catalogue of children’s fiction should offer literary and aesthetic pleasure, you’ll laugh and have fun with the story of Captain Greedy-Guts and sailor Hawk-eyed by Oriol Garcia Molsosa, masterfully illustrated by Guridi, and your hair will stand on end with The Amazing Creepy Granny House by the dynamic duo of Xavier Salomó and Meritxell Martí.
Once again, we thank you all, dear booksellers and publishers, for the exceptional work you have been doing during such difficult times, and not forgetting families and our authors, who continue to believe in the therapeutic power of children’s books.