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Somerville publisher finds big success

Lily Jones, nearly 2, was captivated at Candlewick Press, the children’s book publisher that’s won critical acclaim.
Lily Jones, nearly 2, was captivated at Candlewick Press, the children’s book publisher that’s won critical acclaim. Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff

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Founded in 1991 by British publisher Walker Books, Somerville’s Candlewick is now a critical and financial success story among children’s publishers. Last month, its “Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures” won the esteemed Newbery Medal, while seven other Candlewick titles were also honored during the American Library Association’s ceremony.

“They don’t just slap on a cover, they don’t just slap on end pages, they don’t just automatically have a funky design,” says Cathryn Mercier, director of the Center for the Study of Children’s Literature at Simmons College. “Everything they do is about what serves the artistic vision of a particular book. There’s something about Candlewick that says, ‘We’re looking at the specific book that comes to us and we want to design it in the best way we can.’ ”

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