A family-owned general publishing business founded in 1973, Auzou shifted its focus to illustrated children’s books in 2006 when it was joined and eventually headed by Gauthier Auzou, the family’s middle son. Gauthier describes himself as a “reluctant reader” as a child. “I fully understand the importance of making our stories and characters whimsical and welcoming to help encourage all levels of readers,” he says. “Our mission? To bring the magic of books to children all around the world and make every child a reader!”
Today, Auzou is a landmark in the French children’s publishing landscape. “And as we continue our expansion into North American market, we take pride in carefully selecting our best, most inviting, and accessible titles that we think will entertain children around the world and encourage a life-long love of reading. Our cutest characters now tell their stories in English, and we hope they will find a wide audience of children in the U.S.”
Auzou believes that books are the first glimpse children get into the world of imagination. “Books provide freedom to children; books open up their minds to new ideas, encouraging them to always see things differently. I strongly believe that our role as children’s publishers is to ensure we provide the most diverse stories for children of all ages and wherever they are.”
A sales engineer for 4 years, I quickly joined the family business. My publishing career started in late 2006 when I decided to found and develop the children’s department of Auzou Books. A little over 10 years on, with the help of my amazing colleagues, we have become a cornerstone of children’s publishing in France!
And to think it all started with my obsession with the story of the Three Little Pigs! Many nights as a child, I would ask my mom to read me the same picture book. I was fascinated by the Big Bad Wolf and the way he was depicted in this particular book: almost human-like, standing upright on his hind legs. He would give me nightmares, but there was nothing to be done, I would ask for this book again and again . . .
Maybe that’s why I was charmed by Orianne Lallemand and Eleonore Thuillier’s depiction of their character Wolf. He is very human but very childlike and clumsy . . . who knows, maybe on some level I wish the four-year-old me had met him?
Born into a bi-cultural home –– mom is Australian, dad is French and he is a writer –– books were always what brought us all together, like a campfire. My earliest memories are of books. Smelling and feeling their pages, and sometimes tearing them up and eating them (if that’s not true love?). I quickly moved on to actually reading them, and, from then on, I could never imagine having a job that did not involve lots and lots of stories!
My favorite picture books as a child: Possum Magic by Mem Fox, Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. My favorite novel as a child: The Call of the Wild by Jack London.
The first time a book made me cry: Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. I was 16, and I bawled my eyes out! Books that marked me for life as a young reader: Lord of the Flies, The Little Prince, The Red Pony, and Farenheit 451.
I’ve wanted to “make books” ever since I was a little girl. I studied to become an editor, but while interning, I discovered the wonderful world of graphic design. There was no turning back after that, and my life now revolves around type fonts, aligning objects, and the right amount of cyan for the perfect blue sky.
As a child I would read anything I could get my hands on. My all-time favorites were the Mister Man series, Elmer and Babar the Elephants and the Nancy Drew series (in French, she’s called Alice, just like me!). In my teen years, I developed a passion for detective stories, which surprised everyone around me: how could a scaredy-cat like me enjoy mystery and suspense stories? I guess that’s the magic of books: you can do anything and be anyone you like!