Weston Woods was founded in 1953 by Morton Schindel who became fascinated
with picture books while reading to his children. He was inspired
by their involvement with the stories and the rapt attention they
paid to the illustrations and their eagerness to listen to a story
over and over again. And so, he began Weston Woods based on the
"It is our role at Weston Woods
to create audiovisual adaptations that are faithful reflections
of the books themselves. We will seek the best books from all over
the world and adapt them in such a way as to preserve the integrity
of the original. By doing so, we will help children discover the
riches that are trapped between the covers of the books and motivate
them to want to read for themselves. We believe that a child who
wants to read will easily learn to read, and we believe that a child
without reading problems will be a child without learning problems."
Schindel's mission is as contemporary now as it was then. Weston
Woods has remained the principal innovator in the translation of
picture books into the audiovisual media, and the pioneer of the
multimedia approach to children's literature. Throughout this
time, the philosophical underpinning of Weston Woods has been fidelity
to the original.
Each Weston Woods production is based on a picture book that is
deemed to be one of the best in children's literature. Outstanding
picture books are carefully chosen according to the following criteria:
First of all, books must be desirable. To find them, we comb
reviews in respected publications and study books that have received
special recognition such as the Caldecott Award, given by the American
Library Association to the Best Children's Picture Book of the
Year. Teachers and librarians let us know which books they like,
and which books children respond to. Books are then carefully scrutinized:
- Will children relate to and enjoy the meaning of
Next a book is judged for its adaptability. Not all good
books make good audiovisual adaptations. All the mood and action
described in the text must appear in the illustrations. The graphic
style which includes the striking qualities of the lines, color
and composition must lend itself to reproduction in an audiovisual
- Do the illustrations stand up on their own and interact artistically
with the text?
- How universal is the message?
- Will the book withstand the test of time?
Finally, if a book meets these standards, we determine its availability.
Permissions must be received from the author, illustrator and publishers.
Our relationships with our licensors are one our most valuable assets.
We strive to preserve the artists' intent as much as possible,
often working closely with the author and illustrator to ensure
that each production is a mirror image of the book.
Our films, read-along cassettes and CD-ROMS provide formats whereby
children can easily experience the text over and over again, helping
to build a reading scaffold that broadens vocabularies, stretches
attention spans and flexes thinking skills.
WESTON WOODS TODAY
In 1996, Weston Woods became part of the Scholastic family. This
partnership with Scholastic Inc. - the world's largest publisher
of children's books - has given us the opportunity to impart
the gift of literacy to many more children around the world. Since
the founding of each of these companies, Scholastic and Weston Woods
have shared a common vision: To provide educators with the best
possible learning tools to enhance positive learning experiences
and to instill in children a lifelong love of books and reading.
Weston Woods, headquartered in Norwalk, CT, provides materials to
more than 50,000 schools and libraries nationwide and has distributors
in more than 20 countries around the world.