Lion Forge Entertainment Sets Development Pact with Penguin Young Readers for Children's Film and TV Projects

Bringing Penguin Young Readers books to life on the screen.

By: Sep. 14, 2023

Lion Forge Entertainment Sets Development Pact with Penguin Young Readers for Children's Film and TV Projects

Lion Forge Entertainment and Penguin Young Readers, a division of Penguin Random House, have entered into an alliance to develop film and TV projects based on popular children's books published by Penguin Young Readers. Under terms of the deal, Lion Forge Entertainment retains rights to develop and adapt a multi-title slate of Penguin Young Readers books as animated and/or live action properties. The books initially selected for development include WANNABE FARMS (Penguin Workshop, ages 8-12), NORTH POLE NINJAS (Penguin Workshop, ages 3-7), MONSTER JUICE (Grosset & Dunlap, ages 8-12), and THE PATHFINDERS SOCIETY (Viking, ages 8-12).

Penguin Young Readers, one of the leading children's book publishers in the United States., boasts an award-winning catalog of fiction and nonfiction books, featuring classic authors and illustrators, as well as licensed properties, across twelve imprints.

The projects will be shepherded by Lion Forge Entertainment President and Chief Content Officer Stephanie Sperber, who brokered the deal. Projects that go into production will be produced by Lion Forge Founder and CEO David Steward II, along with Sperber, Francesco Sedita from Penguin Young Readers, and Media Consultant Rich Korson.

Said Sperber, "The creative team at Penguin Young Readers are as passionate about storytelling and world-building as we are at Lion Forge. Their publishing list aligns perfectly with the content we bring to market and we are eager to develop these books for kids and family audiences globally."

David Steward II added, "Each book we're developing with Penguin offers something different to audiences but all share heart, humor and sense of discovery that we love to highlight at Lion Forge Entertainment. We look forward to working with these talented authors to bring their stories to the screen."

Penguin Young Readers President Jen Loja said of the pact, "Lion Forge is the perfect partner to bring some of Penguin's most exciting properties to screens worldwide. With their expertise in engaging diverse audiences with unique yet universal stories, we couldn't be more excited to see how these projects develop."

As a mission-driven entertainment company founded by David Steward II, Lion Forge Entertainment focuses on diverse storytellers and helps amplify under-represented voices by creating content that is both authentic and appealing to a broad audience. Having recently expanded its production slate to include live action as well as animation, the company develops and produces animated and live action content targeting the kids & family and YA audiences, building on the success of earlier Lion Forge Animation projects including the Oscar-winning Hair Love, and the upcoming Iyanu animated series for Cartoon Network and Max.

The deal with Penguin Young Readers continues a busy summer for Lion Forge Entertainment, which recently closed a first-look deal with Nickelodeon Animation and set a strategic global content partnership with advertising giant Dentsu. Through the deal with Nickelodeon Animation, which covers animated series and features, Nickelodeon has a first look at all Lion Forge kids and family IP across series, features, short-form and digital content, while bringing select Nickelodeon and Paramount IP to Lion Forge to develop and produce. Meanwhile, the ground-breaking Dentsu partnership aligns Dentsu's unparalleled brand clients and network of agencies with Lion Forge, which serves as a specialized entertainment resource to create brand-friendly content across feature films, TV series, shorts and digital content aimed at kids and families, as well as adult audiences.

Lion Forge maintains a strategy to monetize its own IP to build franchises, as well as to create new IP that can be leveraged across its publishing businesses.

About the Books

WANNABE FARMS by Brian McCann (Penguin Workshop, ages 8-12)

Emmy Award-winning comedy writer Brian McCann's (Late Night With Conan O'Brien) Wannabe Farms, is an insanely funny, rhyming collection of stories that asks the question: What do farmyard animals really want to do with their lives?

On Wannabe Farms, the animals like to wonder and dream, plot and scheme, and definitely not act how they're supposed to. In rhyming verse, Brian McCann (writer for Conan O'Brien) shows readers what happens when cows want to drive, pigs dream of being sophisticates, and sheep take their hairstyles into their own hands (well, hooves). What emerges is a delightful, hysterical romp through the farmyard, as animals discover the place where dreams meet their limits, and the power of adjusted expectations.

NORTH POLE NINJAS by Tyler Knott Gregson and Sarah Linden (Penguin Workshop, ages 3-7)

A yuletide call-to-arms to save the spirit of Christmas, with special missions to help anyone get back on the nice list

The North Pole Ninjas are Santa's team of special elves, selected for their ability to perform top-secret missions that are all about helping, giving, caring, and listening. Anyone receiving this book is called upon to help carry out those missions with a bit of stealth and an open heart. The gorgeously illustrated picture book retells the legend of the North Pole Ninjas for new recruits, and includes 50 secret tasks to stealthily help others before the Holiday.

Tyler Knott Gregson is a poet, photographer, artist, and author of Chasers of the Light, All The Words are Yours, and Wildly into the Dark.

MONSTER JUICE Series by M.D. Payne (Grosset & Dunlap, ages 8-12)

When Chris signs up to volunteer at a retirement home, he has no idea that its residents are monsters! But it turns out that the elderly monsters are actually in danger, and they need Chris's help to fight back. This offbeat middle-grade series is full of gross-out humor, horror, and adventure.

THE PATHFINDERS SOCIETY Series by Francesco Sedita and Prescott Seraydarian (Viking, ages 8-12)

"A fun mystery in the mode of The Goonies or Stranger Things, with appealing artwork that glows and brings the book alive!" -Jeff Smith, creator of the New York Times bestselling, award-winning Bone series

Summer camp becomes a whole lot more interesting when five curious kids accept a mysterious challenge: work together as a team to uncover a series of strange clues, reveal a secret path, and follow its twists and turns to a legendary treasure hidden in a creepy castle that seems to warp time itself.


A TIME FOR EVERY PURPOSE Sets Digital Debut for October Photo
A TIME FOR EVERY PURPOSE Sets Digital Debut for October

A TIME FOR EVERY PURPOSE, a gritty and evocative drama, is set to make its digital debut on October 17 for North American VOD and DVD.

HOME ECONOMICS Canceled at ABC After Three Seasons Photo
HOME ECONOMICS Canceled at ABC After Three Seasons

ABC has cancelled Home Economics after three seasons. The comedy was inspired by the life of writer and executive producer Michael Colton. It starred Topher Grace, Caitlin McGee, Jimmy Tatro, Karla Souza, Sasheer Zamata, Shiloh Bearman, Jordyn Curet, Chloe Jo Rountree, and JeCobi Swain.

THE JENNIFER HUDSON SHOW Sets Season 2 Premiere Week Lineup Photo
THE JENNIFER HUDSON SHOW Sets Season 2 Premiere Week Lineup

'The Jennifer Hudson Show' Season 2 kicks off with an incredible premiere week lineup featuring Gwen Stefani, Niall Horan, Shaquille O'Neal, Cedric the Entertainer, and Taye Diggs. The show will showcase extraordinary heroes sharing their stories, talents, and passion. Premieres on Monday, October 2.

AIR BUD Movie Collection Coming to Disney+ Photo
AIR BUD Movie Collection Coming to Disney+

Stream the beloved 'Air Bud' movie collection on Disney+ starting October 1. Watch all five original movies including 'Air Bud,' 'Golden Receiver,' 'World Pup,' 'Seventh Inning Fetch,' and 'Spikes Back.'

More Hot Stories For You