Weston Woods
About Us

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 following mission:

     "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."
Morton 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 the book?
- 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?
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 medium.

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.

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.