One of the most prestigious children’s paperback publishers in the United States, Puffin Books was founded on a strong literary tradition and a commitment to publishing a successful mix of classic children’s fiction and the best new literature. Over the years, Puffin has transformed from a small, yet distinguished paperback house, into one of the largest, most diverse, and successful children’s publishers in business, publishing everything from picture books to ground-breaking middle grade and teen fiction.
Puffin began in England in 1941 when Allen Lane, publisher of Penguin Books, and Noel Carrington, a publisher of natural history books, teamed up to produce the first line of quality paperbacks for children. Puffin USA didn’t get its start until 1978, when Penguin acquired Viking Kestrel and Viking’s paperback line, Seafarer Books.
During the 1980s, Puffin Books initiated the period of remarkable growth that has become its hallmark. Puffin Books produced quality paperback editions of Viking titles, aggressively acquired titles for paperback publication from outside publishing houses, reprinted Puffin UK titles, and maintained a backlist packed with award-winning children’s literature including Robert McCloskey‘s Caldecott Medal winner Make Way For Ducklings, Ludwig Bemelmans‘ beloved Caldecott Honor book Madeline, and Don Freeman‘s classic Corduroy.
In 1988, Penguin merged with New American Library and Dutton, creating a new powerhouse Puffin list. Incorporating titles from three hardcover imprints, Viking Children’s Books, Dial Books for Young Readers, and Dutton Children’s Books, Puffin drew on the strength of its expanded list to launch a major joint venture with Puffin UK, a newly redesigned Puffin Classics series. The 1996 merger of Penguin Books with the Putnam Berkley Group, and the subsequent incorporation of Putnam’s PaperStar imprint into Puffin, cemented Puffin’s longstanding position as one of the leading children’s paperback publishers in the business.
With an ever-expanding list built on the winning combination of literary classics and appealing commercial fiction, Puffin Books remains a children’s books innovator and perennial reader favorite. In addition to publishing the quality literary fiction that has provided such a strong foundation over the years, Puffin has started several original series with broad commercial appeal.
Publishing approximately 150 titles a year, Puffin is able to deliver the finest in every age group: picture books for young children, the best in historical and contemporary fiction for middle-graders, and critically-acclaimed novels for older readers. Where else can one find beautifully bound classics like The Wind in the Willows and Black Beauty next to literary triumphs like Ruta Sepetys’s Between Shades of Gray? Or the best-selling Stranded series by Jeff Probst beside moving novels such as S. E. Hinton’s The Outsiders?