You KNOW I love the books, but let’s see if we can answer the question…
What makes Usborne so special?
Here are a few key features of the Usborne books that I enjoy:
- high picture-to-text ratio – lots of pictures integrated into the text make the books less intimidating to reluctant readers!
- double-page spreads – most of our non-fiction books have these, which draw my girls into the books. They can put the book on the floor, lay down and prop up on their elbows, and get lost in the magic of the book!
Here’s an example of the double-page spread, bite-sized chunks of knowledge, internet-references, AND flaps in our Lift-the-Flap Questions and Answers.
- bite-sized chunks of knowledge – you’ll hear me say this a lot in my videos. The information is presented in quick ‘bites,’ which appeals to every reader, especially those with attention-deficit concerns.
- flaps and slots – many of our books are very ‘hands on’ and appeal to tactile learners.
- cut-away illustrations – entice our curiosity (read as not boring!).
- internet-links – safe websites that correlate directly to the topics (time-savers!). Usborne was the very-first publisher to include researched and recommended websites with their books. Click here to take a look!
- award-winning – our books have been weighed and measured by the best-of-the-best in the publishing world, and we’ve come out on top again and again. I am proud to help get these books into the hands of children!
A few of Usborne’s recent awards:
- UK Private Business of the Year Award 2015
- London Book Fair Lifetime Achievement Award – presented to Peter Usborne
- Independent Publishers Guild (IPG) Children’s Publisher of the Year award and the prestigious IPG Independent Publisher of the Year award 2014
- Children’s Publisher of the Year 2012, Bookseller Industry Award
“The way it not just keeps going but keeps growing is really impressive. Its presence around the world is phenomenal, and it is evangelical about getting people to read.”
“All publishers could learn something from Usborne.”
“It is astonishing what Usborne does in the most competitive of markets. It consistently grows, consistently takes market share, and 40 years on it still consistently does new things.”
Judges’ comments, IPG Award 2014
Quite a lot of Usborne’s outstanding quality and success is do to its founder, Mr. Peter Usborne:
I absolutely LOVE his quote:
“Children are clever – they are our equals. We shouldn’t talk down to them, but look across at them. Books should be friendly, and as much like magnets as possible. They should be reliable and accurate, stylish and artistic. Books should help get you off your couch so you’re not just sitting there watching TV and chewing gum. They should promote wondering. They should be better than good.”
Do you feel his passion?! I’ve met him in person and heard him speak, and he brought us all to tears! He said that doing what he does, working in the children’s publishing world, was a way for him to still be a father. AAHH!! He is just so passionate about creating GREAT books for children, and THIS is why I’m so proud to be a part of this company!
Here’s a little more about Mr. Usborne and how he got started:
Let’s take a quick trip across the pond and see inside Usborne Publishing:
More of how Usborne came to be (from the UK site):
In 1973, Peter Usborne pioneered a completely new generation of entertaining, colourful and friendly non-fiction books. He is a patron for READ International, a charity that delivers good quality books to schools in Tanzania, and has also set up the Usborne Foundation with his children, Nicola and Martin, to support initiatives to develop early literacy. Through the Usborne Foundation, they have developed Teach Your Monster to Read, a series of free award-winning online reading games. In 2011, Peter was awarded an MBE (a British honor awarded by the Queen for a special achievement!) for “services to the publishing industry”.
Usborne is the biggest and most successful independent children’s book publisher in the UK. We have around 2,000 titles in print, and publish almost every type of children’s book for every age group, from baby books to young adult novels.
Here in the US, Usborne books are sold through Educational Development Corporation (EDC), a publicly-traded, debt-free company headed by CEO Randall White. Here we are, just hangin’ out:
In the US, we are called Usborne Books & More (the ‘more’ is the Kane Miller side that the UK doesn’t have, which is just outstanding and deserves its own blog post soon).
Randall is just amazing, and I’m so glad that he took the bull by the horns a few years ago and stopped sales to Amazon. Everyone thought it was a death sentence for Usborne in the US, but we survived – and now we’re thriving!
Click here to read more about how Usborne defeated Amazon!
Click here to read our ‘Guts to Glory’ story.
Click here or below for my own Usborne story.
Our books are just different – they’re better!
There’s heart in them and passion behind them. And aside from all the research that goes into making them and the awards they keep earning – THAT is what makes them special. They’re made to be LOVED by children.
And while I can’t speak for everyone’s kids, I can testify that my own girls absolutely adore Usborne books, and I consider it a privilege and a blessing to share these books with other families.