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Trick or Treat with ABDO Books!

Welcome to #SeasonsOfKidLit, everyone! I'm absolutely thrilled to have Tyler Gieseke from ABDO with us today. ABDO is a family of educational publishers that brings some of the most unique and engaging titles to readers. The best part? Their books include something for every reader at every age. Want to know more about ABDO and their mission in publishing, PLUS a peek at some of their upcoming titles? Read on...

Q: Hello, Tyler. Thanks so much for joining us today! We’re excited to have you and learn more about all the fun titles ABDO publishes, including the scary ones. Can you share a little about ABDO’s mission in publishing?

A: Sure, Heather. I appreciate you having me on! ABDO’s mission is unique because we are a family of educational publishers at heart, but we position ourselves as offering curriculum supplement materials, rather than curriculum itself. This means that our books are both educational and fun! We want to educate and inform our young readers but also engage them to make the learning and reading experience enjoyable and impactful. Besides purely educational nonfiction, we also provide several original fiction series each year (including The Woodlot Monster Mysteries) and a long list of popular fiction chapter books, leveled readers, and graphic novels.

Q: ABDO has multiple imprints fitting every age range. Can you tell us more about some of your imprints and the age ranges best suited for them?

A: Definitely! And you’re right, we have quite a few imprints. Together they cover reading levels from PreK to Grade 12. Our Abdo Kids titles are for our youngest readers, whom we expect to be in grades PreK to 2. The Abdo Kids Junior imprint is a standard trim size, while Abdo Kids Jumbo books are extra big for great photos and the earliest readers! Our Pop! division is designed for Grades K to 5 and includes QR codes that readers can scan to “pop” to online resources. Abdo Zoom offers high-interest leveled readers (from Level 1 to Level 3) in the Dash! imprint—and high-interest, low reading level titles in the Fly! imprint.

Abdo Publishing is our core division, with beginning nonfiction titles in the Super Sandcastle imprint, all the way to research content for Grades 6 to 12 in the Essential Library imprint. The Magic Wagon division holds our original fiction for grades from PreK through 9. Finally, the Spotlight division houses our licensed popular fiction. Chapter Books in Spotlight are designed for Grades K to 8, and the Graphic Novels imprint is meant to serve Grades 2 through 12 with popular series like Just Beyond and Stranger Things. Phew!

Q: What can readers expect when flipping through the pages of ABDO’s books?

A: Readers can expect bright images or illustrations, carefully edited text with generous spacing, and high-quality paper that is fun to flip! Our Spellbound imprint in Magic Wagon is a great example of text and art working together to make the “magic” happen. In this imprint, several words on each page are set in fun fonts to enhance the story and make the experience fun for reluctant readers! Take this example from The Peculiar Pawprints in The Woodlot Monster Mysteries

Q: ABDO has so many exciting titles that are monster themed and perfect to read for spooky season. What are some titles you'd recommend?

A: We do have a lot of monster titles. New for Fall 2022 is the Spellbound series Phantom Finders, which was edited by yours truly ☺. I would recommend this series both for the stories and the outstanding art. The main characters learn to solve ghostly mysteries in their town of Murky Creek.

Spotlight also has a new chapter book series called The Worst Witch. This popular series started in the 1970s and follows lovable but accident-prone witch Mildred Hubble as she attends Miss Cackle's Academy for Witches.

We also have a fun and somewhat spooky nonfiction series in the Pop! division this season—Creatures of Legend. In this set, each book dives into the physical characteristics, original stories, and cultural meaning of creatures like the kraken, the Chupacabra, and the Loch Ness monster!

Q: What are some monster-themed series we can expect to see from ABDO in the near future?

A: Of course, coming out in January is The Woodlot Monster Mysteries series, Heather! The main characters, Finley and Eva, live in the most boring neighborhood. That is until a mysterious creature drains the blood from their neighbor’s chickens. Then they discover strange monsters, all in the woods right behind their home!

And I would also watch for Our Principal, which comes out in January as part of the Spotlight division. A unique principal named Mr. Bundy runs PS 88 and gets into all sorts of silly mishaps. The beloved principal gets enchanted, gobbled up by the Big Bad Wolf, turned into a spider, and more! Readers find out how Mr. Bundy gets himself out of these sticky situations.

Thanks again for joining us, Tyler! We cannot WAIT to check out all of ABDO's amazing books!

Q: Would you like to leave a Trick or a Treat for the readers?

A: A trick! In much of children’s fiction, there is a fairly limited word count. Plot is important, but if you can also focus on good characterization in that small word count, I think you’ll stand out.

Perfectly said, Tyler. Thanks for sharing such a great trick! Everyone, please leave a comment below to thank Tyler and ABDO for coming today.

Reminder: Those who leave a comment on all posts will be eligible to win one (1) of ten (10) Rate Your Story Speed Passes.

About Tyler Gieseke:

Tyler Gieseke is the marketing manager for ABDO. He has been with the company for over 5 years, and before moving to marketing he worked as an ABDO editor. Tyler has written 25 nonfiction books for ABDO, and he hopes to write fiction in the future. He lives in Edina, Minnesota.

About ABDO Publishing:

ABDO is a family of educational publishers focused on supporting PreK–12 curriculum and engaging young people in high-interest pleasure reading. ABDO’s wide-ranging content features fiction and nonfiction materials in library bound hardcover editions and simultaneous, multi-user eBook formats for reading without barriers.

For more about ABDO, check out the below links:

Instagram: @abdobooks

To view ABDO's new catalogue, click here!

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Amy Houts
Amy Houts
Oct 30, 2022

Thanks for telling us what you publish. Sounds great! I've written dozens of level reader books on assignment. Do you give assignments?


Stephanie Maksymiw
Stephanie Maksymiw
Oct 29, 2022

Great advice. I'm concerned for poor Mr. Bundy.


Oct 27, 2022

Great advice for writing for all levels of readers, thanks!


CJ Penko
CJ Penko
Oct 27, 2022

Thanks so much, Tyler! The Creatures of Legend Pop Series is such a great idea.


I love how ABDO offers books for so many levels of readers! The spooky titles and series sound amazing!

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