Lizzie Skurnick Books
Taking The Young Out Of Young Adult
Young adult novels appeal to demographics well beyond the under-18 crowd. “There was a survey done last year that said that 55 percent of YA books were purchased by adults,” Robert Lasner, cofounder of Fort Greene’s Ig Publishing, tells us. Enter Lizzie Skurnick Books, a collaboration between the imprint’s eponym and Ig that mostly republishes out-of-print classics in handsome new editions. “Hopefully,” Lasner says, “these same adults will buy the books that they lived as kids.”
The idea was to put out a few books a year, but as they dug deeper and realized how many titles publishers had let go, the number they intended to release quickly multiplied. So far, Lizzie Skurnick books has rereleased early Lois Duncan novels, volumes from Sydney Taylor’s fondly remembered All-of-a-Kind Family series, and several one-offs; soon, it’ll put out some of Lois Lenski’s once-popular novels, and many, many others. (As well as some new books by older authors like Lila Perl and Bethe Amoss.) Ig usually republishes political non-fiction, so the model is both familiar and not. But it’s committed to the genre/marketing category.
“We’re trying to do something that has never been done before with YA literature,” Lasner says. “Traditionally, YA has been treated as disposable, something that you—mainly girls—read when you’re 12 before you move on to ‘serious’ literature. We’re trying to show that YA literature is in fact just as well-written and timeless as serious literary fiction—that authors such as Lois Duncan, Ellen Conford, M.E. Kerr, Norma Klein, Sydney Taylor, etc. deserve to be part of the literary canon. In short, that YA isn’t just for kids.”