This week I had the opportunity to go and visit the lovely Emma Rodgers at Second Story Press (@_secondstory). Emma is the marketing and promotions manager for Second Story and she gave me the tour and lowdown on this publishing house with a powerful manifesto. Second Story is a small publisher house, producing around 6-9 books/season, and when you walk in to the downtown Toronto office you enter a colourful forest of books, it’s a cozy office brimming with titles, bookmarks, art and assorted book paraphernalia.
Second Story Press began in 1988 as a feminist press. The three co-founders, one of whom, Margie Wolfe, remains, published non-fiction, adult fiction and some works for young readers. The first list of works (which included When I was Little Girl by Rachna Gilmore and illustrated by Renné Benoit) published in 1989, this year is the 25th anniversary of Second Story’s first list.
Over the years the publishing house has seen it’s fair share of changes, now %80 of what they produce is for young readers while only one or two books a season might be for older readers or crossover. That’s not a bad thing by any means! It means that books about social justice, equality and about people of all different shapes, sizes and colours are being looked for by teachers, librarians, parents and youth alike.
Second Story has proudly sought and produced books written or illustrated and about women and minority groups (and often by Canadians!). They have partnered with many social justice groups, most recently with Plan Canada to produce Every Day is Malala Day by Rosemary McCarney. Check out the video that inspired the book Because I am a Girl, read more about Malala and join in the celebration of Malala’s activism on July 12: Malala Day. Also – Second Story is releasing the second book in this series Because I am a Girl: I can change the world watch for it in October.
Here are a few books to look forward to in the fall:
The First Principles of Dreaming by Beth Goobie is coming out this September. Emma tells me that she absolutely adored the book and the way that it dwelt within reality but touched on the spiritual and magical in a refreshing way. Set in 1977 and featuring eighteen year-old Mary-Eve (this will be great crossover reading!) who’s life is prescribed by the Rapture End Times Tabernacle as she is finishing up high school.
Then she meets Dee Eccles.
This is a retelling of the Persephone myth – and an empowering one.
I also got the chance to flip through The Magician of Auschwitz researched and written by Karen Kacer. (Check out this video that explains the history of this story).
It is a telling of the true story of Werner, a young Jewish boy, and Herr Levin, the famous magician Nivelli and their life together surviving in Auschwitz.
It’s a very compelling, interesting and hopeful story.
In addition to showing me around and chatting with me about publishing and Second Story, Emma gave me with a few of her favourite YA titles! So look forward to a few upcoming reviews of these books:
Find out more on Second Story Press!