Seeking a crossover of a different kind, top recording artists Madonna and LeAnn Rimes are about to invade the children’s book market. “Artists are starting to realize how important the children’s audience is,” says Stephanie Owens Lurie, president/publisher of Dutton Children’s Books, which on Aug. 25 is releasing “Jag,” the first book by country/pop artist Rimes. “The children’s audience has a lot of spending money and influence over what their parents buy for them.”
Madonna’s first children’s book, “Jag,” which she co-wrote with her husband, Dean Sheremet. Media exposure includes CBS programs “The Early Show” and “48 Hours,” VH1 and ABC Radio. On Aug. 25, Rimes will appear on NBC’s “Today” and sign books at Barnes & Noble’s Fifth Avenue location in New York.
“Jag” is about a young female jaguar dealing with issues of friendship and insecurity. “The story has a lot to do with my experiences growing up,” Rimes tells Billboard. “I was picked on by other kids at school, and I think a lot of kids are dealing with those life experiences right now. The message of the book is be yourself, conquer your fears and stand up for yourself in a good way.”
Rimes has inked a deal with Dutton, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group, to write a sequel to “Jag.” The sequel, which has the working title, “Jag’s New Friend,” is scheduled for publication in 2004. Rimes says that she and her husband have developed about five story ideas for other books. “I’m writing children’s books because I wanted to connect with my fan base of small children, and I think this is a cool way to do it other than my music,” she adds.