New picture book series highlights family diversity with heart

April 15, 2015

Minneapolis, MN – ABDO (, a leading educational publisher, is proud to announce the publication of the upcoming picture book series, My Family. The six-book series, featuring a gentle exploration of modern family diversity, will release this coming September from the company’s Magic Wagon division.

Through the virtues of a series format, these sweet, humorous stories present a number of family constructs, from homes with two gay parents to homes with a parent in active military service to homes with grandparents as guardians. “One of our goals with My Family was to fill a gap in the market. We wanted to represent the underrepresented,” offers Managing Editor Heidi Elston.

Young readers will experience each of the stories through the eyes of second grader Lenny. Through everyday interactions with his classmates and their families, Lenny learns that each of these families has things in common. Most important, of course, is love.

The talent brought together for this endearing project includes author Claudia Harrington and illustrator Zoe Persico. “Working with Claudia and Zoe was a wonderful experience. Creatively, their contributions were the perfect match and we couldn’t be happier with the results,” states Art Director Candice Keimig.

Harrington, whose previous work has been included in Philomel’s much-celebrated picture book anthology, I Invited a Dragon to Dinner (& other poems to make you laugh out loud). Harrington also serves a Regional Advisor Emerita (RAE) for SCBWI, having led the LA chapter as Regional Advisor for 11 years.

For Persico, My Family is her debut project in children’s publishing. Just 21 years old, Persico is a full time art student at Savannah College of Art and Design. She originally planned to become an animator, but quickly realized her true passion was in children’s books. “I’ve always dreamed of positively influencing children through books, so when I learned this project would focus on different families (especially ones that I never saw in books growing up) I eagerly jumped with joy.”

Over the last year, Magic Wagon has focused on revitalizing its product and its process, and is emerging anew. This fall, My Family will debut as one of the results of this transformation. “Our team is of course inspired by the #wndb movement,” says Megan Gunderson, Editorial Director for Magic Wagon. “Our passion is to allow our readers to see themselves on the page, whether that be through family makeup, ethnic diversity, disability, or other circumstances. Ultimately, we want our readers to experience Magic Wagon series as window and mirror books.”

With five imprints for PreK-8th grade readers, Magic Wagon publishes approximately 50 new titles each year, with all work developed and managed in house. “We put a lot of TLC into these books,” adds Gunderson. The division is dedicated to creating diverse, inclusive titles with original illustrations and story lines that inspire learning and imagination.

About ABDO

ABDO, a family-owned company, has been publishing educational materials for more than 30 years, including library bound hardcover editions and a variety of digital products. The company is comprised of five divisions: Abdo Publishing, Magic Wagon, Spotlight, Abdo Kids, and Abdo Digital. For more information, visit ABDO online at

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