News for Authors

Connecting Students and Readers with Our Books by Extending PRH’s Open License

by The Author Newsletter Team|July, 2020

In March, Penguin Random House issued a temporary open license, which was designed as an immediate measure during the coronavirus outbreak to connect our books directly with students and readers, while protecting the long-term value of our authors’ and illustrators’ intellectual property. In response to an increase in permission requests to use our titles, the open license simplifies the process for educators, librarians, and booksellers to conduct distance learning and read-aloud videos. Read on to learn more about the open license, which has been extended to August 31, 2020.


On March 17, Penguin Random House shared our plans for a temporary open license, which was designed as an immediate measure to connect our books directly with students and readers while protecting the long-term value of our authors’ and illustrators’ intellectual property.

We are pleased to share that as of June 11, Penguin Random House has extended this temporary open license to August 31, 2020. Details regarding the extension can be found here.

In mid-March, our teams worked quickly to enable virtual learning environments and livestreamed story times for our authors and readers, as well as educators, librarians, and booksellers, to support schools and public libraries forced to close by the escalating COVID-19 outbreak. As a company, we understand and embrace the role that books and reading play in connecting us, especially when we are physically apart.

Since the initial announcement, we have received more than 15,000 unique requests for more than 1,200 different titles for livestreamed events, from educators, librarians, and booksellers, as well as many of our authors and narrators. We have also received many requests from other readers such as nurses, doctors, mayors, and prominent public figures, all of whom have shared our books to facilitate connections. Below are just a few of the numerous submitted requests:


  • NASA astronaut Christina Koch, who recently returned from a 328-day mission, the longest spaceflight by a woman, read Magic Tree House: Midnight on the Moon by Mary Pope Osborne and illustrated by Sal Murdocca and The Lorax by Dr. Seuss on Instagram Live as an educational and fun activity for all the kids staying at home during COVID-19.
  • Doctors at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital streamed on SJTV readings of The Rabbit Listened by Cori Doerrfeld and The Monster at the End of This Book by Jon Stone and illustrated by Mike Smollin to children in isolation due to the COVID-19 virus.
  • New England Patriots cheerleaders shared Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar on their fan site for kids.
  • Compost Stew: An A To Z Recipe for the Earth by Mary McKenna Siddals and illustrated by Ashley Wolff was shared by the ambassador to Lithuania via Facebook Live to Lithuanian families during the crisis.
  • First Lady of Hawaii Dawn Amano-Ige read Mirette on the High Wire by Emily Arnold McCully to children on the governor’s office’s Facebook page.
  • The chief of the Yakima Police Department in Yakima County, Washington, read Grumpy Monkey by Suzanne Lang and illustrated by Max Lang to kids on Facebook.


In this uncertain and unsettling moment, many are working to bring their communities closer together. We are honored to extend this program throughout the summer as many children and families navigate the continued concerns around COVID-19. We all share a commitment to storytelling and reading, and to our collective belief in the power of books to connect us—especially during times like these.