Anchovy Press was born out of an encounter with a simple statistic:
“According to a 2018 study by the Cooperative Children's Book Center of Education (CCBC) At the University of Wisconsin-Madison, more children's books that featured an Animal main character were published than children's books featuring a Black, Latinx, Native, or Asian child.”
We want to change this.
The publishing industry does not reflect the multifaceted, multicultural reality we inhabit, and invalidates the experiences of little black and brown children who are tasked with navigating a world that does not value their stories. This makes it harder for children from BIPOC backgrounds to see themselves as the protagonists of their own special stories, having unique and special adventures that speak to their everyday lived realities.
Our products prioritize fun, authentic, future-focused stories. Our work also connects and collaborates with emerging creators and artists from underrepresented backgrounds who are interested in exploring non-traditional forms of storytelling.
B: New York, Currently L & R Baltimore
The idea to begin the Anchovy Press emerged with the birth of my nephew, Leo. During my time spent with him, reading and playing with his books - it was made apparent that there were few if any books of children of color navigating the world. It struck me that I too, did not have many children's books that centered around my experiences growing up.
Through research I realized that this is too often the norm.
Inspired by the artists of color I have met during my time in Baltimore, and the current pandemic limiting the in person experience I and my collaborator Priyanka Kumar researched alternative storytelling and printed matter.
We settled on a model that allowed for consistent production of interesting and dynamic stories as well as variety of sizes and accessibility.
she/ her, B: Banglore, Currently L & R Baltimore
Priyanka Kumar is an illustrator and educator from Kolkata, India, currently based in Baltimore. She graduated with an MFA in Illustration Practice from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2020, and has an MA in Art History from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. She has designed and facilitated art workshops with FLOW India, and worked as a communications consultant for Doctors Without Borders. She has also worked as a publishing intern at Navayana Books and an editorial intern at BMoreArt.
Anchovy Press is an independent publishing company based in Baltimore, Maryland, dedicated to storytelling that centers BIPOC experiences.
Created by two teaching artists, Anchovy Press seeks to pave a new way of thinking about children, entertainment, and education. We want to create an intertwined ecosystem of digital and non-digital art practices that will keep children rooted in technologically savvy storytelling, while also emphasizing the tactility of printed story-books. Moving beyond print and digital publishing binaries is how our business plan will create a holistic experience for children, where interactive screens can coexist with tactile, messy, play-oriented arts and crafts.
Anchovy’s offerings are curated, customizable and interactive forms of storytelling. Our three-pronged approach to visual narrative includes illustrated children’s books (age group), quarterly zine subscription boxes, and an online book reading club through Youtube and Patreon.
As educators with training in art and pedagogy, we have found that children’s learning abilities increase in environments where they are challenged to make things and interact with sensory stimulus. We also believe that the timing is just right for a venture like this – our intensive market research, outlined below, shows that parents are now, more than ever, looking for anti-racism educational materials and BIPOC-focused narratives to introduce to children. Our business plan focuses on the need for Gen X and Millennial parents for diverse storytelling, but also the need for diverse business structures in children’s publishing and entertainment.