Independent Publisher Makes Mighty Impact: Flashlight Press Celebrates 20 Years of Popular Picture Books

Since 2004, Flashlight Press has published picture books that explore and illuminate different social and family situations. The Brooklyn-based publisher’s in-demand books are available in hardcover, eBook, and paperback, and have appeared 73 times on 33 state award lists and been translated into 19 languages.




Flashlight Press’s core team may be small, but their work has scored big, delighting children ages 4-8 in the U.S. and around the world. Since 2004, Flashlight Press has published picture books that explore and illuminate different social and family situations. The Brooklyn-based publisher’s in-demand books are available in hardcover, eBook, and paperback, and have appeared 73 times on 33 state award lists and been translated into 19 languages. They are distributed to the trade and educational markets by IPG, making these titles easily available at all resellers.

“We’re very careful in terms of what we select to publish. Every book is a serious investment and production commitment,” says Publisher Harry Mauer. “So, it’s important that we want to read through a story again and again and again.”

The publisher’s journey as a producer of picture books started from a love of the genre and a serendipitous meeting with the right person to spearhead the company’s efforts. Editor and Art Director Shari Dash Greenspan’s background in art and advertising design, plus 20 years’ experience with children’s story hours and enrichment programs, have made her uniquely qualified to lead Flashlight’s mission. “I understand what makes children’s picture books work,” says Greenspan. “Putting the language and art together is a very special job and I love it.”

Matty’s slime demonstration makes a sticky mess in So Much Slime by Jason Lefebvre, illustrated by Zac Retz, September 2024, ISBN 9781947277335 (hardcover). When Matty forgets a key ingredient, his classroom slime presentation turns into a super sticky disaster that keeps spreading, in this fun companion book to the award-winning Too Much Glue. “It comes with a slime recipe in the back matter,” reports Greenspan. “I tried it with my grandkids last week and it works great!”

Carla’s homemade glasses create a special friendship in Carla’s Glasses by Debbie Herman, illustrated by Sheila Bailey, September 2024, ISBN 9781947277717 (hardcover). In this companion to Carla’s Sandwich, Carla, who loves to stand out, hopes her in-school vision screening will show she’s the only kid in class who needs glasses. To prepare, she makes her own collection of fabulous, funky frames. Alas, Carla does not need glasses. But she uses her frame-making talent to support her friend, Buster, who does need glasses but likes to blend in. “Carla's ingenuity helps Buster through his social emotional issue,” says Greenspan.

The new paperback edition of The Mess That We Made by Michelle Lord, illustrated by Julia Blattman, August 2024, ISBN 9781962269001, shows the destructive environmental impact of garbage and plastic on our oceans and marine life. Four children in a boat discover the terrible pollution problem and inspire readers to save the seas. Readers will find gorgeous artwork, information about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch—the largest accumulation of plastic in the open ocean—plus calls-to-action for kids and adults.

“This book was a Japan Picture Book Award finalist and has gotten wonderful feedback as a STEM curriculum item,” notes Greenspan. “It’s on educational young readers’ lists in Pennsylvania, Nevada, and New South Wales in Australia.”

In the paperback edition of Hey, That’s MY Monster! by Amanda Noll, illustrated by Howard McWilliam, August 2024, ISBN 9781947277380, Ethan checks under his bed to find his monster has gone. Monster Gabe has moved under Ethan’s younger sister’s bed to help her get to sleep. Ethan knows his sister keeps getting out of bed to play and knows she needs the monster’s help—but does Gabe have to go away forever? This spooky, funny story joins Flashlight’s blockbuster monster titles I Need My Monster, How I Met My Monster, Are You My Monster?, and D is for Drool.

“Schools have organized inter-class activities where the younger class draws their own monster from their imagination,” says Marketing Manager Juliet Tresgallo. “Then an older class sews dolls based on those drawings and surprises the younger kids with real life plushies of their monsters.”

In addition, Flashlight publishes Spanish translations of some of their beloved titles for the U.S. market. International Literacy Association Book Award Winner Maddi’s Fridge will soon arrive in paperback as La nevera de Maddi by Lois Brandt, illustrated by Vin Vogel, translated by Teresa Mlawer, July 2024, ISBN 9781947277540. This title features best friends Sofía and Maddi. One day, Sofía notices Maddi’s empty home refrigerator and finds out that Maddi’s family struggles financially. Sofía must choose between keeping Maddi’s secret or taking steps to help her friend.

Maddi and Sofía’s story, which has been adapted for children’s theater, illuminates the issue of food insecurity and child hunger. The book includes backmatter explaining how children can help their communities, like volunteering at a food pantry. “Child hunger is a heavy topic, but we don’t shy away from stories we think are great,” says Greenspan.

To celebrate its 20th anniversary, Flashlight is having different bloggers interview one of its authors or illustrators each month in 2024 and will give away 20 copies of their titles. Fans can also check out the SAG-AFTRA Foundation’s Storyline Online animated readings of Flashlight books by celebrities including Rita Moreno, Lily Tomlin, Jennifer Garner, Julianna Margulies, and Allison Janney.

For more information, visit Flashlight Press at



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