Greetings! Is it true that Kobee Manatee® (yours truly) just learned mandarin? You would be correct with that! Here’s the breaking news…
…Book 1, Kobee Manatee®: Heading Home to Florida and Book 2, Kobee Manatee®: A Wild Weather Adventure have secured translation rights pertaining to Chinese simplified characters language in print volume form for the territory of Mainland China. Beijing Bright Culture Development Co. Ltd. is the Chinese publisher overseeing manufacturing, marketing, and distribution.
It’s been quite a long and challenging journey, taking just over two years negotiating translation rights, working with Beijing on agreement extensions and assisting in the editing process.
According to Publishers Weekly, “Beijing Bright Culture – making an impact on the market is the top priority.” In its first year of operation, which was 2017, the team of 20 published around 150 titles, and of these, 70% were translations. General Manager, Liu Qian explains, “We shifted our focus to developing our own intellectual properties and nurturing local authors and illustrators in the first half of 2017. But despite the fact that we are a subsidiary of the Beijing Ru Yi Media Group, which is a well-known entertainment enterprise, it is taking considerable time and resources to build a list of authors creating original works with us. Each new book launch is accompanied by considerable excitement but also a great deal of anxiety.”
Qian continues and says, “We publish mostly in three categories: picture books, comics, and popular science.” There is also a“collective strength of Bright Media Group, in animation and multimedia…” Clearly, this new publishing opportunity for Thompson Mill Press in China could become a positive one. That’s because during author visits, the children always ask, “When is a Kobee Manatee cartoon coming out?” We’ll just have to see how these two titles do in China. And yes, we’re keeping our fingers crossed:-)
Why did it take China over 2 Years to Publish Book 1 and Book 2 in the Kobee Manatee® series?
Now that’s an interesting question. Let me take you back to 2017 with a headline from The Guardian, a British daily newspaper which stated, “Chinese publishers have reportedly received orders that the number of foreign titles being printed must be cut to prevent an ‘ideology inflow’”
The article begins with, “Winnie-the-Pooh, Peppa Pig, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and even James and his Giant Peach are feeling the heat in China amid reports of a Communist party crackdown on children’s literature.With about 220 million under-14s and a rapidly growing middle class, China is home to a potentially massive market for children’s picture books. More than 40,000 children’s books were reportedly published there [in 2016]. But with an aggressive Communist party campaign against supposedly hostile western ideas currently underway, foreign storybooks appear to have found themselves in Beijing’s cross hairs.”
And according to Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post, “Chinese publishers have received orders that the number of foreign picture books being printed in China must be slashed.” The article continued and said, “Storybooks from South Korea and Japan now stood almost no chance of being published in China, while the supply of books from other countries would be very limited.”
These events lead Thompson Mill Press to drafting and signing two new translation rights agreement extensions. And finally in mid-June 2019 Kobee Manatee® Book 1 and Book 2 print titles were released! I also believe if you read any title from the children’s educational series, you would agree that Kobee along with his seafaring friends only add plenty of fun and unconditional friendship, which lets one learn with effortless ease.
As more news breaks on Robert Scott Thayer’s Kobee Manatee® children’s educational picture book series in China, I’ll be sure to let you know!
If you are in Florida and you see a sick or injured manatee, please call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at: 1-888-404-FWCC. They are the folks who are responsible for rescuing us in Florida.
Here’s the Save the Manatee Club link to learn more about manatees …
Here’s a cool link for you to learn more about how we’re rescued and brought into rehabilitation …
~ Kobee Manatee