Quentin and Alfie 220

Podcasting is full of authors who have found that storytelling in the audio format fits nicely with what they do on the written page. As children’s podcasting continues to grow, one kid-targeted book publisher sees an opening. Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group has formed an alliance with Pinna, the subscription podcast service targeting listeners aged 3 to 12. But the first joint effort won’t be a book turned into a podcast, but rather a book that is based on a podcast.

"This latest collaboration with Pinna has grown out of Macmillan's long-standing history of publishing podcasts and supporting podcasting with its own networks,” said Kathy Doyle, Vice President, Content Development at Macmillan, which is among the only major book publishers with a dedicated podcast network.

Under the partnership, Pinna’s popular podcast series Quentin & Alfie’s ABC Adventures will be adapted into a series of books for young readers from Farrar, Straus, and Giroux Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Macmillan. The series of hardcover titles will launch in early 2023, with books to follow in multiple formats. 

Children’s book author Randy DuBurke will write and illustrate the books, which, like the podcast, will center around young Alfie and his super-cool babysitter, Quentin, and their adventures on a fantastical sidewalk — making new friends and learning the alphabet along the way. Each book will place a strong emphasis on functional literacy, a loving Black male relationship between a boy and his babysitter, and finding extraordinary things even in ordinary days.

''I am very excited about becoming a part of Pinna's Quentin and Alfie family,” said DuBurke in the announcement. “The Quentin and Alfie’s ABC Adventures podcast is a fun, engaging way to bring young children the joys of learning. I hope I can add to the growth of Quentin and Alfie by expanding the podcast into a series of entertaining, informative picture books.''

The Quentin & Alfie’s ABC Adventures podcast tells the stories of five year-old Alfie and his babysitter Quentin, and their daily adventures filled with fun, friends, and lots of letter learning. Each day, a magical sidewalk takes them to an exciting new location, from A (amusement park) to Z(zoo). The podcast, like the upcoming series of books, introduces preschoolers to the alphabet and early literacy learning, with a focus on exploration and fun.

“The series will deliver fresh new stories that immerse young children in literacy-based, play-along adventures that get readers looking for and learning about signs, symbols, words and more in all of the places where the magical sidewalk takes them,” said Pinna CEO Maggie McGuire. “Collaborating with Randy and the team at FSG to bring this world and our characters to life in picture books and extend our stories in new directions is thrilling.” 

Pinna began in 2017 as a pilot under podcasting network Panoply Media. But after Panoply announced it would get out of the content business and instead focus on hosting and ad services, the direction shifted. Pinna relaunched in 2019 as a stand-alone entity backed by Graham Holdings.