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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Staff Spotlight: Maryellen Gregoire

Name: Maryellen Coughlan Gregoire

Occupation/role at Stone Arch Books:
Director of Product Planning and Public Relations. I work with Michael Dahl to determine what types of books we should publish and make sure they are appropriate for elementary and middle-school kids. I also work with the sales channels to make sure they get what they need, and I am in charge of any ancillary pieces we create to support the use of our books in the school.

Years at Stone Arch Books:
I’ve been here since the beginning, but that’s only three years. Prior to launching SAB, I was in product development for Capstone Press, our sister company, focusing on nonfiction for grades 3-5.

It’s a joke in my family: How many degrees can Mom get before she dies? I have a BA in English, a BS in Elementary Education, a Masters in Elementary Education, and I am currently working on my MLIS degree.

What's your favorite SAB book?
I like the quirky stories. This is a draw between two books: I loved Steel Eyes from the first season! It just caught my interest from the start. My other favorite is Trapped in Space. I had never read anything like it before.

What was your favorite book when you were a kid?
I loved Dr. Seuss, especially Horton Hatches an Egg and Are You My Mother? My mom loved to read those two. She would repeat phrases like "I meant what I said and I said what I meant; an elephant's faithful, 100 percent” in a very funny way.

What were you like as an elementary/middle-school student?

As the youngest of 8 kids, I was always compared to my siblings. While I was smart enough, I could never be as smart as some of the older kids! I tried to please my teachers until about 7th grade, and then I was a quiet rebel. Let’s not talk about high school!

What's your favorite thing to do in your free time?
There are a few things that I like to do: knit, read and go to movies. I made my son an ugly Christmas sweater this year, and I’m in the process of making my daughter an ugly Christmas vest. I read mostly kids/YA books, and thank goodness for my book club so I can read an adult book once in a while! I didn’t realize that I went to movies so much until I went through the award list and I had seen too many of them.

Tell us a memorable Stone Arch Books moment from the past year.
The day I remember most is our holiday party. We sponsored a family for the holidays whose dad had been diagnosed with brain cancer. The mom works as a paraprofessional in a local school district and they have three teenage kids. Our staff pulled together and bought over $600 worth of food and presents. Then we wrapped the presents at our holiday party. Our staff is pretty young, so every penny counts to them. For them donate as much as they did was amazing to me. The family was extremely grateful!

What’s the best part of your job?
I never have a boring day. The best part is being able to read kids books for my job! Plus, I didn’t know that I would enjoy working with my sister (Joan Coughlan Berge, the SAB president) and brother (John Coughlan, the SAB publisher) so much…it’s a lot of fun!

What’s the hardest part of your job?
Not having enough time. I have so many pieces I want to get out and so many projects to do for both marketing and sales on top of choosing good books to publish. It’s all fun and I just don’t have enough time to get to everything I want to do!

This is the second post in a multi-part series, which spotlights the members of the Stone Arch Books staff. Drawing of Maryellen Gregoire by Brann Garvey.

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