By: Yaacov Peterseil, Editor In Chief
Pitspopany Press opened its doors in 1993 as a niche publisher of books for Jewish children. The problem at that time, and one that still exists today, was that for a publisher of Jewish books children to be successful he had to cater to one of the three major Jewish denominations: Orthodox, Conservative, or Reform.
Pitspopany Press was determined to move beyond parochial publishing. Instead, the publisher decided to publish books that could be read and enjoyed by the widest and most diverse elements of the Jewish market. Their early books borrowed from classic themes in the general market like "Where’s Waldo." Pitspopany published an entire line of "UH! OH!" Holiday titles that not only presented the basics of each Jewish holiday on a simple, easy-to-understand level, but also asked the reader to find the Holiday symbol within the busy full color spreads that appeared throughout the book. Multiple printings of this series, and its subsequent soft cover incarnation as "The Energizing Series" provided ample testimony to the fact that Pitspopany was on the right track. Soon, not only Jewish book stores were purchasing its titles, but there was a strong interest by the chains and wholesalers for the Pitspopany Press titles as well.
Pitspopany began to see a trend in the way its audiences purchased its books. Books in series proved most successful. Yaacov Peterseil, the Editor of Pitspopany wrote a series of "Jewish Hardy Boy/Nancy Drew" type books called "THE GANG OF FOUR" and within a short time 30,000 copies of the first two books in the series, in hard and soft cover, sold across the country. Letters began pouring in from children everywhere – affiliated Jews and non-affiliated Jews – praising the series, and this led to a new genre of Jewish pre-teen books, which included fantasy, science fiction, humor and adventure titles with characters who strongly identified with their Judaism but did not harp on it at the expense of an exciting storyline. Within a few years the "Jewish Stories for Kids" anthology series appeared, including JEWISH LOVE STORIES FOR KIDS, JEWISH HUMOR STORIES FOR KIDS, JEWISH SCI-FI STORIES FOR KIDS, and JEWISH DETECTIVE STORIES FOR KIDS.
But Pitspopany knew that the strongest market was the young children’s market.
So, in 1998 it began a "Sevens Series" wherein every story taught a different desirable human trait, without being didactic. First there was SEVEN ANIMAL STORIES FOR KIDS, followed by SEVEN ANIMALS WAG THEIR TALE, and finally a compendium of stories written by the editor of the Jewish Chicken Soup stories, Dov Elkins, SEVEN DELIGHTFUL STORIES FOR EVERY DAY. This led to the "Ten Series" which have sold over 60,000 copies and are written by such classic Jewish authors as Peninnah Schram, Gloria Goldreich, and Barbara Goldin.
At the same time, Pitspopany Press began what was to be their magnum opus, THE JEWISH CHILDREN’S BIBLE, a five volume work with over 300 pages and 250 illustrations which includes the Five Books of Moses, The Haggadah, The Book of Esther, The Book of Ruth, and The Book of Jonah and the Whale. By 2002 all five books were completed and the workbooks and parent/teacher’s guide were being prepared. In April of 2003 these books will be completed.
Eight years after its inception, and over 80 titles later, Pitspopany created "The Littlest Series" by Sylvia Rouss. The second of the series, "THE LITTLEST PAIR" a story about a pair of termites trying to get onto the Noah’s Ark, won The National Jewish Book Award in 2002.
The dream of publishing quality children’s books in a variety of subjects, and for an entire spectrum of the Jewish market, and beyond, became a reality when Pitspopany began publishing books on Special Education and health related problems. PRINCESS ALOPECIA won the Gold Triangle Award from The American Academy of Dermatologists, and THE SAFE PLACE and UNJUST CAUSE, about children with severe learning problems in and out of school sold in excess of 10,000 copies each within a one-year period.
Today, Pitspopany Press publishes between 10-15 children’s titles a year and is one of the leading publishers of Jewish children’s titles, with its main office in New York and its Editorial and Production Divisions growing and prospering in Jerusalem, Israel. The Pitspopany Press website is www.pitspopany.com . If you wish to contact their New York office: Tel: 1 800 232 2931 Fax: 212 472 6253 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org