Surge Licensing, an entertainment IP development company that grows brands into multi-platformed entertainment and product licensing programs, has signed TOMY—a global market leader in innovative pre-school toys—as the global master toy partner for Diane Alber’s A Little SPOT book series, a market leader in social emotional learning content that parents, teachers, and children look to for compelling characters and experiences.
Initially, TOMY will develop a broad range of branded SEL-focused products, including plush toys, with and without added features and technology, and plastic figures. TOMY will also distribute A Little SPOT book plus plush box sets, to brick-and-mortar chains globally. The new products will be available online and direct-to-consumer in the first half of 2023 followed by brick-and-mortar stores later that year.
Diane Alber designs her books and products as solutions to problems expressed by parents and teachers alike. Her A Little SPOT book series—featuring the brightly colored, stick-legged sphere Little SPOT—were originally developed to help children visualize their emotions, as characters, so that it would be easier to manage them, and evolved to address topics such as kindness, empathy, honesty, diversity, inclusion, and reading. The Little Box of Emotion Box Set, geared for children 4-11, ranks #1 in Academic Development Counseling, and #1 in Children’s Moving; A Little Box Takes Action Book Set ranks #1 in Children’s Criticism and Collections; and A Little SPOT of Emotion Plush Toys with Feelings Book Box Set ranks #2 in Academic Development Counseling and cracked the top 100 books sold on Amazon with a toy. Two teaching guides and a parent guide are also available for the A Little SPOT series. Alber’s books all come with sticker sheets, and additional sticker books, coloring books and sketch books have been created for many of the titles.
“Diane has created a massive body of work appealing to parents, their children, and teachers alike, carefully crafted to make not only teaching SEL fun, but learning it too,” commented Elan Freedman, Surge Licensing EVP. “TOMY is the ideal partner and platform for Diane to design new experiences for children to explore and understand their emotions, become better humans and learn to communicate effectively.”
“The stressors associated with the pandemic and global events have only increased the need for social emotional learning tools to teach children how to handle their feeling in a healthy way,” added Alber. “I’m delighted that TOMY is our global partner to create new toys for Little SPOT that will help to support kids and families to prepare for the challenges of the world.”
“Infant and Preschool is well anchored in TOMY’s historical DNA, and we have deep expertise in successfully launching preschool brands,” said Morgan Weyl, Managing Director of Licensing and Global Development at TOMY International. “We will bring Diane’s highly inspiring and beloved series to life in playthings that can help children practice effective communication in a fun and natural way. TOMY’s mission is to make the world smile, so helping children learn to express themselves through play with the Little SPOT brand is perfectly aligned to the happy, healthy development we fully embrace in our daily work.”