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Penguin Random House: A Story of Shared Values: Literacy & Education

This  eight-part series highlights individual sections from our first-ever Social Impact Highlights Summary.  Today’s installment features literacy and education.

The power of reading and writing knows no bounds. The ability to read and write is key to unlocking a new perspective and a greater awareness of not only the world outside but also the one within. It is the starting point in both transcending and uniting generations and cultures, building empathy and expanding the imagination.

We strive to recognize educators across our territories who nurture the next generation of readers and writers.  Please click on image to enlarge it

Access to Books

At the forefront of our objectives in social responsibility are programs offering books to people in communities where few are available. Each year we contribute millions of our books, which serve as an invaluable resource to schools and programs worldwide. If you haven’t taken our Social Impact Quiz yet, there is still time to do so.  Click here to view the questions.

Watch This 360 Video: How Our Books Travel Through Crawfordsville

Our Penguin Random House Digital Video Team has produced a 360 video that shows, in a dynamic way, how books travel through our Crawfordsville, Indiana distribution center.  “There is so much that happens to get a book into the marketplace and everyone here is part of that,” says Annette Danek, Senior Vice President of Fulfillment, who narrates the video. “Our 1,700 employees take so much pride in delivering our books with speed, accuracy and in pristine condition to our customers.” 

The producer of the video, Lydia Cornett, Associate Video Producer, Digital Publishing Development, says, “360 video is great for immersing a viewer in a place, and Penguin Random House’s Crawfordsville Fulfillment Center seemed like a particularly exciting location to do this.” Annette offers this insight:  “Lydia and I met, and I explained what we do here in the Distribution Center and I learned about what she wanted to film. We have two different facilities so when I realized that it was a 360 degree camera I knew that we had to film in Crawfordsville as the elevations and the video path would be so much better in there due to the slight differences in conveyor design. I then had to convince Lydia to make the trip to Crawfordsville!  Once Lydia got the approvals I put her in touch with Lori Dereza (Vice President, Crawfordsville Operations) to schedule the filming. Mark Wollenberg (Assistant Director, Crawfordsville Fulfillment) did a test for us by taping a camera to a carton riding the conveyor, sorter, and fork trucks. Then we planned out the sequence for the filming.” “To make a 360 video,” says Lydia, “it’s important to create a shot list and think about where to position the camera so that it’s in the middle of the most action.  Since the camera records in 360 degrees, you also have to get into the habit of pressing record and leaving the space so you’re not in the shot.  I also incorporated voiceover as a way to understand what was happening in each scene. Annette did an awesome job with explaining the process!” Annette says, “The end product is awesome and I’m excited to explore how we can use this technology again!  We can use this video to help explain the warehouse operations to new employees.”  Her favorite part? “I have always wanted to ride the conveyor systems, and through this video I was able to do that.” Watch the Crawfordsville 360 video (For optimal viewing resolution click the gear icon in the lower right hand corner of the YouTube viewing screen, and change ‘Quality’ to the highest number. To get the full experience use Chrome or Firefox)

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Watch Wide Range of Penguin Random House Digital Video’s 2017 Productions

Our Penguin Random House Digital Video team created an amazing array of new and trending videos throughout 2017: from a fun parody of people trying books for the first time and Elmo’s Trick Tongue Twisters to Norm Macdonald convincing readers to buy his book BASED ON A TRUE STORY and a BookCon 2017 panel featuring THE HANDMAID’S TALE author Margaret Atwood and showrunner Bruce Miller.  Watch and enjoy these videos below on Signature Views, Brightly and our Penguin Random House Channel.  

  People Try Books for the First Time [Parody]:   Books Are Magic: Author Emma Straub’s New Bookstore | Signature Views Mini-Doc:   Designing a Book Cover | Signature Views Mini-Doc:   The Case for Book-to-Film Adaptations | Signature Views Mini-Doc:   Elmo's Tricky Tongue Twisters #readalong | Brightly Storytime:   Meet Elizabeth Bennet from PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by Jane Austen | kick-a** characters:   Norm Macdonald Convinces You to Buy His Book BASED ON A TRUE STORY:   THE HANDMAID’S TALE: Margaret Atwood and Showrunner Bruce Miller (full panel) | BookCon 2017:  

Giving Back: Students Shine at NYC P.S. 3 Poetry Reading

ps3 studentsTwo fifth grade classes at New York’s P.S. 3 Charrette School in Greenwich Village, our downtown Read-Ahead school, recently presented the P.S. 3 Poetry Reading to celebrate the completion of IF I WERE A SUPER MOON, I’D SHINE SO BRIGHT I’D LIGHT UP THE NIGHT, a collection of poems and illustrations from a number of the school’s students.

Coordinated and sponsored by Penguin Random House, this special collection recognized 60 students who joined together and wrote hundreds of poems during National Poetry Month.  For most students, it was their first published work.  More than 25 parents and teachers beamed with pride while listening to their sons and daughters recite their own poetry as well as share their illustrations and artwork that accompanied the poems.   With the active participation of P.S. 3 teachers Lindsay Tomao (pictured), Lindsey Halligan, and Tara Cox, along with Principal Lisa Siegman and Assistant Principal Regina Chiou, this poetry writing program took place over five classroom sessions and provided additional support to Penguin Random House’s existing P.S. 3 partnership with Read-Ahead and employee volunteer reading mentors.  The writing exercises were based on odes, places, sketches, haikus, rhymes and artwork, among other topics.  For example, after a discussion about color, each student chose a favorite color and wrote an ode dedicated to and in celebration of their chosen hue. ps3-n13Ms. Tomao said, “By filtering poetry to its essence rather than its structure, Penguin Random House made poetry accessible to even the most reluctant student of English Language Arts by giving them the freedom to focus on the sounds of words beyond the phonics of spelling. I've never seen some of my students as engaged and invested in their learning as they were during the Penguin Random House Poetry workshops.” As part of our mission to nurture the next generation of writers and readers, Penguin Random House supports this program through the Read-Ahead partnership – providing employees an opportunity to give back to the community in which they work.  Penguin Random House has over 100 employee volunteer mentors and our partnership has evolved to include: author and illustrator visits, poetry workshops, book donations and various student-related events throughout the school year. To view this year’s impressive P.S 3 poetry collection, click here.

Bertelsmann’s “BE Welcome” Project Helps Refugees Land Jobs in Germany

BE WelcomeWith its “BE Welcome” project, Bertelsmann is helping young refugees from Syria and Iraq get a fresh start in the German job market.  Aimed at refugees aged 18 to 25, with the aim of helping them develop career prospects, the program was launched at Bertelsmann’s Gütersloh location with 11 participants in April

of 2016 and all of them were on the road to employment by their farewell dinner last year.  With positive feedback from everyone involved, and the job placement successes, Bertelsmann colleagues decided to continue the project this year. [caption id="attachment_6377" align="alignright" width="240"]Andreas Majewski and Anna Terletzki Andreas Majewski and Anna Terletzki[/caption] “We are pleased that we are not only able to continue the project, but also that we recruited more participants for 2017,” says Anna Terletzki, a social worker and head of the project at Bertelsmann. “Thanks to the varied program, we hope to prepare them as well as possible for entering working life.” Eleven men and four women between the ages of 19 and 26 are on board for BE Welcome 2017. Thirteen of the participants come from Syria, two from Iraq. They have lived in Germany for a year or two, and come from a variety of backgrounds. “As a socially responsible company, Bertelsmann takes responsibility for refugees, providing them with sustained, effective support in entering the German job market with ‘BE Welcome’,” says Immanuel Hermreck, Bertelsmann CHRO. “Having career prospects is a key contributor to successful integration.” BE Welcome is designed to help refugees acquire key prerequisites needed to navigate through Germany’s dual-training system. The top priority is to learn German.  The participants receive intensive language training over a 12-month period – daily for the first four months, then weekly. Another equally important element is the intensive socio-educational support they receive from the project team, which is again reinforced by the social pedagogue Andreas Majewski for this purpose. [caption id="attachment_6376" align="alignleft" width="240"]Immanuel Hermreck Immanuel Hermreck[/caption] For the refugees in the first “BE Welcome” group, participation definitely paid off.  Each of them has gained new prospects.  One has begun his entry qualification in the print department at Mohn Media; a second plans to start this in the summer. Two others are poised to become an auto mechanic and an electronics technician, respectively. Two participants have begun state-subsidized apprenticeships, one in retail, the other in warehouse logistics. One young man is going to school to become an assistant IT specialist, and a young woman is being trained as an early-childhood educator. One participant has been studying German as a foreign language since October, and another has begun his orientation studies in order to study International Business in the coming winter semester. “The first edition of the project exceeded our expectations,” says the “BE Welcome” team. “We were especially impressed by the group’s high level of solidarity and motivation. We are delighted that we were able to help the participants gain new prospects – and of course we will try to do so as best as possible again this year, with the second year.”
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Employee Milestone Spotlight: Ben Cheslawski

milestone-spotlight_ben-cheslawski Milestone Spotlight features an interview with a recent recipient of a Penguin Random House Milestone Award, which is given out to employees who have reached 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, etc. years of service with the company.  The Employee Milestone Spotlight interview allows us celebrate our colleagues’ service by highlighting their successes within the company, and, is a chance for them to share some fun and personal information about themselves!


This month, we shine the spotlight on Ben Cheslawski, Adult Mass Merch. Sales Manager, who celebrated his fortieth year with the company on February 21, 2017!  Get the scoop on Ben by checking out his interview below: What is your role at Penguin Random House? I handle all PRH adult books that are sold to Hudson News Co in their wholesale division. This includes buying offices in NJ, PA and NH that distribute to the 6 New England states, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and Washington DC. What do you find most challenging about your role at PRH? The vast amount of new titles. When I began 40 years ago I sold Bantam Books. All we had were 36 new to mass market books a month. I was there for the first hardcover and the first trade paperback from Bantam Books. What is your favorite book of all time? What is your favorite book right now? My favorite all time is THE DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY. My favorite right now is anything by Lee Child. What is the most interesting job you’ve ever had? Helping one of my best friends in his apple orchard. I’ve spent most of the last 20 years every weekend in September and October out in the orchard. No heavy lifting….. just helping families You Pick their own fruit. I’ve been there long enough that the children I helped in the beginning are bringing their children to me. They introduce me as the apple professor and I try and explain a little about the farm and apples. Who is or has been one of the biggest influences in your life (professionally or personally)? My father. He was one of the smartest well-read  people I ever knew. He died very young but he instilled in his children a strong work ethic that has served me well. My twin brother and I had our first jobs (taking out the trash for an elderly neighbor) when were in the first grade. We could only take money from the neighbor if we put it in the bank. My parents created workers and savers at the same time. I’ve had a job ever since.   Every employee celebrating a milestone anniversary is given the opportunity to be featured in Employee Milestone Spotlight. Think there is a milestone we’ve missed? Let us know! Email Faith Engstrom in HR to set up an interview.

TSP Creative Director Emma Campion on Collaborating with House Industries

Emma CampionThe newly unveiled Watson-Guptill colophon came to life because of a close collaboration between House Industries and a visionary team led Ten Speed Press Creative Director Emma Campion. Here Emma answers three questions about this very fruitful working partnership.

How would you describe the inspiration behind the new Watson-Guptill colophon and the creative process involved, from development to final design? Collaborating with House industries on their new book, HOUSE INDUSTRIES: The Process Is the Inspiration, was a real catalyst for us to work on a new colophon, especially as this is the imprint’s 80th anniversary. To begin the creative process, Executive Editor Jenny Wapner and I shared visuals and brand identities that inspired emotion and spoke to the history of the Watson-Guptill imprint. We winnowed our ideas down and decided to keep a thread to the original logo through the continued use of a horse but in a more modern and graphic format. House ran with the direction, and after digging into the history of the logo, they evolved the look, coming back with a great colophon that has personality and simplicity. What have been the most compelling aspects of your creative work with House Industries and the books that you have worked on together – including the new one – as well as their other projects? House clearly have the highest design skills, but their deep appreciation for textural elements and interesting, layered printing processes really pushed our skill and knowledge of bookmaking. Who do you see as the primary readers and consumers who are most interested in House Industries books Watson-Guptill has published? I see consumers from all creative fields coming to these books, as House pulls on their passions outside of just design and typography; their followers are diverse, avid typographers, vintage cars fanatics, cyclists, interior designers, parents with a passion for thoughtfully designed toys, and more. Read this corresponding article: Watson-Guptill Unveils New Colophon Created by House Industries

Watson-Guptill Unveils New Colophon Created by House Industries

watson guptillThe Crown Publishing Group is pleased to announce a new colophon design for its Watson-Guptill imprint, which publishes instructional and influential illustrated art books for both amateur and professional artists around the world. The new logo, which will debut on books published this summer, is a reimagining of Watson-Guptill’s classic horse icon, and was created by the renowned font design studio House Industries.

Founded in 1937, and part of Ten Speed Press since 2013, Watson-Guptill is celebrating its 80th anniversary in 2017. The imprint publishes respected experts who instruct and inspire artists in a wide range of traditional and fine arts, including drawing, painting, craft, and printmaking. The first books to feature the new Watson-Guptill logo are the elevated craft book, THE FINE ART OF PAPER FLOWERS by San Francisco-based artist Tiffanie Turner (August 22), and two new titles in the legendary “Draw 50” series, DRAW 50 OUTER SPACE and DRAW 50 SEA CREATURES (both July 25). When asked about the decision to work with House Industries on the new logo, Ten Speed’s Creative Director Emma Campion explained: “Our in-house team wanted to realign the visual branding of the imprint, and when we became publishing collaborators with House Industries for their new Collection book series with us, they spoke with such reverence for the heritage of Watson-Guptill that they were the obvious choice for the redesign. We asked them to create a logo that felt bold and modern, but that retained the integrity of the brand’s history. We want the mark to communicate that we can stand astride the two worlds of traditional and more cutting- edge art instruction and design.” Known throughout the world for its eclectic font collections and far-reaching creative exploits, House Industries has been a standard-bearer for American graphic design for twenty-five years. House has worked with a diverse list of collaborators, including Jimmy Kimmel, the New Yorker, and the Estate of Charles and Ray Eames. House’s work is in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, and will be the subject of a major exhibition at The Henry Ford Museum this summer. 9780399578106Their new book, HOUSE INDUSTRIES: The Process Is the Inspiration, an illustrative and entertaining journey through the studio’s creative process, will be published by Watson-Guptill on May 30.  The book marks the launch of the House Industries Collection, a new collaboration with the Crown Publishing Group. House Industries is represented by Katherine Cowles of the Cowles Agency. When asked about the challenge of creating the design, Andy Cruz, who art-directed the project, and Ken Barber, who handled the design, illustration, and typography, said: “The biggest challenge in developing the new identity for Watson-Guptill was creating a mark that would stand as a convincing extension of the publisher’s legacy, while maintaining a decidedly modern feel. The original logo, drawn by Norman Kent, was based on a pencil drawing by the imprint’s co-founder, Ernest Watson. Considering the brand’s heritage, as well as the publishing house’s long-standing commitment to both tradition and innovation in art instruction, we want the mark to represent a sense of history, while speaking to Watson-Guptill’s future.” Read this corresponding article: TSP Creative Director Emma Campion on Collaborating with House Industries

Penguin Random House Partners with LA Dodgers and LADF, Donates 5,000 Books to LA Reads

dodgersThe Los Angeles Dodgers and the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation (LADF) launched LA Reads, a joint initiative to help address the literacy crisis in Los Angeles by getting children excited about reading, with a special event at the Los Angeles Central Library on Saturday, April 1. Book partner Penguin Random House donated 5,000 titles

that were given away to attending families for their children after Dodgers players such as Rich Hill, Andre Eithier and Yasmani Grandal read to 80 3rd and 4th grade students from local schools and non-profits. Guests also had the opportunity to have their photos taken with the players as well as Dodger alumni Billy Ashley, Dennis Powell and Al Ferrara and the Dodger character. dodgers1“We are proud to partner with the Dodgers and LADF in support of their LA Reads program. We believe that books and baseball are a perfect fit. In the same way that team sports help children learn to work and play together, books bring together young readers everywhere, expanding their worlds and opening their hearts and minds,” said Claire von Schilling, Executive Vice President, Corporate Communications, Penguin Random House. “We look forward to bringing together Penguin Random House books and Dodger baseball, as we work with the Dodgers’ Foundation, the team and their fans throughout this 2017 season.” “Getting children excited about reading during the summer baseball season and throughout the year is at the heart of our literacy work,” said Nichol Whiteman, Executive Director of LADF and Naomi Rodriguez, Dodger Vice President, Community Relations and External Affairs. “With LA Reads, we hope to give children the tools and incentives to develop a lifelong love of reading.” dodgers3Dodger players, coaches, wives, executives and alumni will continue to read to children at local libraries, schools and non-profit program sites. The Dodgers “Reading Champions” challenge will take place from April to August, further motivating 1st- 8th graders to read. Students who read more than 30 minutes per day will be rewarded with incentives, including monthly opportunities to be on the field at Dodger Stadium.  Students and families can learn more about the program at