Meet your merchant: Dawn Publishing has 40 years of connecting children with nature
12402 Bitney Springs Rd., Nevada City
In celebration of their 40th anniversary, customers can enjoy a 40 percent discount on selected books, which are listed on their website at http://www.DawnPub.com
Aptly situated along a peaceful stretch of Bitney Springs Road in Nevada City is an unassuming warehouse filled with a small passionate staff and an inventory of award-winning books that may well be changing the world.
Celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, Dawn Publications’ mission of fostering a child’s sense of wonder, curiosity and love of nature has resonated with children, teens, parents and teachers in scores of countries around the globe.
The company, originally owned by Ananda Publications, launched in 1979 with the publication of “Sharing Nature with Children” by Joseph Cornell, which included a series games designed to encourage a deeper appreciation of nature and wildlife. Since then, more than 600,000 copies have been sold in English and the book has been translated into 20 languages.
It has also been credited with helping to spur a global movement in environmental education. Cornell went on to publish, “Sharing Nature with Children II” and other nature-themed books, as well as founding “Sharing Nature Worldwide,” an international teaching program.
OF THE HUMAN HEART
In the early ’90s, Dawn Publications branched out to publish its first children’s picture books, “A Walk Through the Rainforest,” followed by “A Swim through the Sea,” both by Kristin Joy Pratt. Their popularity started the company down the very successful path of creating masterfully illustrated, inspirational nature books geared primarily for young people.
Praised by educators for meeting both literacy and science academic standards, Dawn’s mission as a nature publishing company has always been to select “inspirational content and quality art, as well as solid information. We aim to reach the hearts as well as the minds of children.”
The nonfiction content is “usually told with such magical art that most of our books are probably best described as ‘creative non-fiction.’ We aspire to awaken children to the discovery that they are part of something magnificent.”
“Our philosophy has always reminded me of a quote by Tanaka Shozo, one of Japan’s first conservationists,” said Carol Malnor, the company’s co-publisher, editor and art director. “‘The care of rivers is not a question of rivers, but of the human heart.’”
“That’s who we are — we take care of what we love,” Malnor continued. “If children care about the animals, they’re going to do things to keep them safe. If they love the river, they won’t throw garbage into it. What we do goes to the heart and core of what it means to take care of the environment — inspiring a love and respect for all life and the planet.”
Today, Dawn Publications boasts roughly 90 active titles and currently works with about 60 authors and illustrators all over the country, said Malnor. Printed in China, the books are translated into scores of foreign languages and shipped all over the world. But the hub, which includes a small staff and impressive book inventory is in Nevada City.
40 YEARS OF JOY AND LOVE
In 1996, Dawn Publications was bought by Muffy Weaver and Glenn Hovemann, who had become the editor in 1993. Then, in 2014, three long-time employees became co-owners (co-publishers). These were Carol Malnor, Bruce Malnor and Richard Rodrigue — all of whom remain owners. Rodrigue serves on-site as the contracts manager, webmaster, database manager, foreign rights manager, accounts payable, accounts receivable and a valued “jack of all trades.” Other on-site staff include Bruce Malnor, who is marketing director; Carol Malnor, editor and art director; Tera Kelley, associate editor, social media director and shipping supervisor; and former co-owner Muffy Weaver, who is now the warehouse manager and printing supervisor.
Off-site staff include designer Patty Arnold and former owner Glenn Hovemann, whom the staff considers “a friend we can’t do without.” In 2014, Hovemann went off in another direction to launch the nonprofit Take Heart Publications, which is considered a sister organization to Dawn Publications.
“Today, at our 40th anniversary, we’re wanting to share our joy and love for books and nature with others,” said Carol Malnor, who authored the children’s book, “On Kiki’s Reef.” “So much of what we do is through distributors that our local community doesn’t know we’re here. There are so many creative forces happening right here behind the scenes. We draw a lot from the beauty of this area.”
Throughout 2019, in celebration of their 40th anniversary, community members can enjoy a 40 percent discount on selected books, which are listed on their website at http://www.DawnPub.com.
“We don’t just work here — we love what we do and we love our books,” said Rodrigue. “We are more than a company — we’re an extended family. Our heart and soul are here.”
To contact Staff Writer Cory Fisher, email her at Cory@theunion.com.
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