Carolrhoda Books has been publishing award-winning, high-quality picture books and fiction since 1969. Carolrhoda authors are distinguished by their exceptional voices, imaginative writing, and joyful approach to storytelling. Our picture book list is home to many award-winning authors and illustrators, including Coretta Scott King medal winner Vaunda Micheaux Nelson and Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor winner R. Gregory Christie. Our middle-grade list stands out not only for the quality of its writing, but also for the breadth of its genres, from coming-of-age to historical fiction to mysteries. Carolrhoda Books is a constantly evolving and fiercely passionate independent publisher of stories that celebrate the meaning and importance of childhood.
What kinds of adventures do you like best? My favorite adventures have always begun with a book, which is probably why I’m an editor of children’s books today. There is nothing I like to do better than to bring readers with me on fantastic journeys of the imagination.
Carolrhoda’s picture books open readers’ imaginations and transport them to all manner of places and situations—from an unexpected holiday surprise, to a chef whipping up specialties for a circus family, to dinosaurs doing all sorts of sports.
Carolrhoda’s middle-grade novels are an eclectic mix of the funny and serious, set on mysterious islands, in loud schools, or in the suburbs with a family of laughing hyenas.
What binds all Carolrhoda books together is that they begin on the first page by taking you to somewhere new and unexplored, and return you on the last page to your own familiar surroundings, newly enriched and with your own new story to tell.
Come join me on a reading adventure!
by Harry Lerner
Carolrhoda Locketz was a bubbly, perky girl who died too young. She was Sharon's (my wife's) best friend. Their mothers were close friends, and the two girls grew up together. They shared everything: stories, trips, and adventures. As students at the University of Minnesota, they spent a lot of evenings at the Ten O'Clock Scholar, a hangout on the West Bank of the university campus. They listened to the music of a young student dropout, Bob Zimmerman, later known as Bob Dylan.
While a university student, Carolrhoda worked part-time as a page at the Saint Paul Public Library. After graduation in 1962, she joined the Peace Corps. They assigned her to be a teacher-librarian in Harar, Ethiopia. Carolrhoda poured herself into the job and the people she worked with. She even set aside two hundred dollars of her own meager salary to create an educational fund for a twelve-year-old Ethiopian boy.
Peace Corps director Sargent Shriver, John F. Kennedy's brother-in-law, visited Harar when Carolrhoda was serving there. Carolrhoda met with Shriver and talked about the great need for books in Ethiopian libraries. He obviously listened because back in the United States he began a book drive for libraries everywhere Peace Corps volunteers served.
After returning to the United States, Carolrhoda married Gordon L. Rozell, an army sergeant she had met in Ethiopia. She died of cancer in 1967, two years after her marriage. She was only twenty-eight years old.
After Carolrhoda's untimely death, Sharon wanted to honor and pay tribute to her best friend, who was also Adam [Lerner's] godmother. So in 1969, we named the Carolrhoda imprint after her. It was a beautiful way to immortalize Carolrhoda's memory in a manner that exemplified her love of books and learning. Sharon envisioned Carolrhoda books as attractive storybooks, heavily illustrated with art or photography. The first books were This Is..., a rhyming story for beginning readers, and Have You Seen My Mother?, the story of a brightly colored ball that searches for its mother at the circus.
The imprint was Sharon's hobby and passion, and she was thrilled each time a Carolrhoda book won an award or received a favorable review. Eventually, after Adam came on board, Carolrhoda became our trade imprint, and he added many new titles, including his first acquisition, the Little Wolf books by Ian Whybrow.