"Wonder is a key initiative for Random House," says Rachel Bader, director, licensing, Random House Children's Books. "We're looking to leverage the success of this huge publishing fanchise–it has sold 9 million books worldwide and was a hit film for Lionsgate."
Random House's Wonder program stems from the New York Times best-selling young adult novel about an ordinary boy with an extraordinary face and heart that has been translated to more than 45 different languages around the world and spawned a movement that asks children to "choose kind." It also has a major motion film adaptation, which starred Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson and Jacob Tremblay, who played lead character Auggie Pullman.
At Licensing Expo, Random House will look to expand the brand, targeted at kids 8- to 12-years-old, into deeper licensed product categories such as sleepwear, backpacks and jewelry, as well as a back-to-school program for the fall.
"The one thing to take away about Wonder is that it has been around since 2012, and since, Random House has been incredibly committed to promoting and marketing the books," says Bader. "It has also taken on a movement, #ChooseKind, with teachers reading it to their kids in the classroom to help students understand kindness. It is an important publishing franchise."
Licnesees already tapped for the brand include Clarkson Potter for stationery and journals, Changes for t-shirts, Out of Print Clothing for accessories, [email protected] for jewelry and Raymond Geddes for an anti-bullying kit, a critical piece of the Wonder program.
Random House is also bolstering the brand with a complementary picture book, We're All Wonders, also by author Palacio, for children ages 3- to 7-years-old.
"We're extending the brand to a younger audience to offer an earlier entry point and to expand its licensed merchandise," says Bader. "In support of that, we'll be launching an Auggie plush toy with Yottoy this summer, and that will also be filled out with more apparel and back-to-school products for the fall. We're also talking to games partners for younger audiences."
Dream World by Emily Winfield Martin is a lifestyle brand geared to Millennial moms of infants and toddlers. Martin's The Wonderful Things You Will Be has sold more than 1 million copies, and held a spot on the New York Times best-seller list for more than year.
Partners on board for the program include Finn + Emma for apparel, accessories and toys, and Milestone for special moments memory cards.
A new property from Random House for Expo is Uni the Unicorn by the late Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustrated by Brigette Barrager. The best-selling children's book flips the unicorn narrative on its head as it centers on Uni, a unicorn just like all other unicorns, except for one thing: she believes little girls are real. The franchise already includes the original title and follow up, Uni the Unicorn and the Dream Come True, with four additional books set to roll out over the next two years.
"The cool thing about Uni the Unicorn is that it is completely on trend," says Bader. "It crosses over to teens, moms and Millenials, and the art is exquisite. What's unique about this title is that it offers fans of unicorns a special spin. Random House is really getting behind this property by blowing it out across more formats for 2019 and 2020."
Bader says Random House will unveil a comprehensive style guide at Licensing Expo, as well as announce a toy partner for the brand. Spin Master has also recently launched the title in its Moonlite program, which is a story projector for mobile phones.