About Blue Panda Press
Blue Panda Press is an independently owned publishing company dedicated to creating high-quality educational materials for children, families, and teachers. With 20+ years’ experience in publishing, we launched Blue Panda Press with a single goal: to create products that reflect what decades of research and our own experiences as parents tell us—that play is essential not only to children’s physical development, but to their intellectual, social, and emotional growth. Our products reflect a commitment to quality, with distribution strategies that support access to books and create affordable opportunities to promote the well-established benefits of reading at home.
At Blue Panda Press, we also provide a full range of editorial and design services—including packaging, project management, Web design, and interactive. Our clients benefit from our years of editorial and design experience in all phases of publishing—from concept development through final product. We’re serious about our work, but playful in our approach, and strive to create materials that nurture children’s naturally inquisitive minds and inspire thinking, learning, and having fun.
Blue Panda Press was founded by Holly Grundon and Joan Novelli, who met as freelancers when they teamed up to produce an award-winning 10-book series for teachers. Joan and Holly continued partnering on dozens of projects, working from Burlington, Vermont (Joan) and Jackson, Mississippi (Holly). Drawn to the picturesque Green Mountains of Vermont, Holly moved her family north to Lincoln, Vermont, where she added a rippling brook and a couple of dogs to the picture. With their collaborative ventures firmly rooted, Joan and Holly formed Blue Panda Press to expand their creative ventures. They continue to enjoy life in Vermont, where their work is inspired by their families, a menagerie of personable pets, and the endless and awe-inspiring natural beauty that surrounds them.
Joan got her start in the education field as a reading specialist, then joined Scholastic as an editor on classroom and professional magazines. As a freelance writer and editor, she continued to partner with Scholastic, as well as Curriculum Associates, Pearson, Reading Plus, and other publishers on hundreds of preK–12 projects. Favorite assignments over the years include writing a column for Sesame Street Parents (Children’s Television Workshop), interviewing authors such as Eve Bunting, Kevin Henkes, and Phyllis Reynolds Naylor for Instructor magazine (Scholastic), and developing content for Good Habits, Great Readers, a comprehensive K-5 literacy program (Pearson). Nancy Drew was a fixture in her childhood. Her son discovered Daniel Pinkwater as a child and read Five Novels more times than she can remember.
Holly has worked in a variety of positions since receiving her BFA in Graphic Design from Savannah College of Art & Design. As Art Director/Creative Director at Scholastic, Holly was part of the design team that created the first issue of Update (now The New York Times Upfront), in partnership with The New York Times. She went on to launch bhg Graphic Design, providing comprehensive creative services to wide-ranging clients, including Scholastic, Grolier, UNICEF, WHO/Children and AIDS, and best-selling author Debra Bell. Holly also co-founded bMighty2, specializing in custom web development for small businesses. Holly still has the entire Nancy Drew series from her childhood. Her daughters were fans of Winnie-the-Pooh, which she read to them so many times, she had it memorized.