About Handprint Books

More than twenty-five years have passed since my first attempts at designing a colophon for the publishing house I felt certain I would one day establish. Thus this venture is the realization of a more than half-a-life long dream. It is an independent, and for the moment, compact enterprise, perched in offices on the top floor of a brownstone in the Park Slope section of Brooklyn. An old Vandercook letterpress stands in the basement.

Handprint’s mission is simple: to publish good books. If the list seems a bit idiosyncratic and eclectic, this is only because it reflects my own interests. But it is my hope that each book in its own way will be the best of its kind. Handprint’s inception virtually coincided with the birth of our daughter Anna. In fact her handprint literally gave shape to its name. Since then many more hands have contributed to mold this first list. Foremost are those of the authors and artists whose work I am both proud and privileged to be publishing. No less so the hands of the designers, copyeditors, separators and printers who gave form and reality to their ideas.

And now, these books pass into the hands of booksellers, librarians, teachers, and parents–all those who are not simply gatekeepers standing between children and the world, but rather are gate-openers, setting forth hand-in-hand with children out into the world. But none are more important than the hands of the young readers for whom these books are ultimately intended. It is my fervent hope that their handprints–some barely noticeable, others dirt- or jam-stained–will join Anna’s and impress themselves onto the pages. Perhaps then these books, too, may leave some small impression in return.


Christopher Franceschelli

(Reprinted from the first Handprint catalog, Fall 2000)