We like books.
We're interested in ways to help more people (especially kids) like books.
You can read more about our company at www.capstonepub.com.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

New stuff online!

If you’re not on our catalog mailing list, you haven’t been able to take a peek at our latest books. Well, the wait is over—our Fall 2008 books are now available on our website. Take a look at all of our new products, including brand-new series (Graphic Spin, We Are Heroes) and fresh additions to old favorite series (Claudia Cristina Cortez, Jake Maddox, and Graphic Flash, among others!). While you’re there, you can also check out our vast repository of educators’ resources, including free Reader’s Theater scripts, book report forms, and create-your-own-graphic-novel pages. Check it all out at www.stonearchbooks.com!

Thursday, July 24, 2008


(Clockwise from top: Michael, Brann, Bob,
Sean, Heather, Krista, Beth, Carla, Michaela,
Donnie, Blake)

The Stone Arch Books staff works hard, but we love having fun, too! At our recent sales rep meeting in Minneapolis, the SAB staff played Dance Dance Revolution and Guitar Hero, mingled with sales reps from all over the country, and had a great time.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

On Being a Stone Arch Books Intern

The word “intern” evokes many reactions—most of which are somewhat unsavory. Before becoming an intern, I held my own prejudices: I thought an internship meant low pay, long hours, and repetitive work—a test of one’s motivation to become, in my case, an editor. As it turns out, being an intern at Stone Arch Books has been something entirely different.

I had scoured the SAB website for information about the company prior to applying. What struck me about SAB was the constant focus on getting kids interested in reading—something so important in the education of today’s youth. I knew that this was a special opportunity. Instead of near-crippling nervousness before the interview, I felt giddy, and any anxiety felt more like anticipation than worry.

Sitting down to interview with Stone Arch’s editorial director, Michael Dahl, was a unique experience. Rather than pose the regular questions that I’ve fielded elsewhere, Michael asked me about my opinions on the education of children, my favorite fields of literature, and how my inclinations in these areas would suit me for the SAB internship. We discussed James Joyce, graphic novels, and civic responsibility. A short while later, I was given the position.

My first day of work was actually Michael Dahl’s birthday. At our celebratory lunch that day, I had the opportunity to get to know the small, friendly staff. My supervisor joked that I shouldn’t expect every day at SAB to be as fun and exciting as my first, but she was wrong; my time here has never felt like a chore, even while I’m doing the occasional mundane, but necessary, task.

What, then, you might ask, have I worked on during my time here? A (very brief) list: I edited a fantastic series of 12 graphic novels (out next season—I’m certain it will be a big hit with fans of our other Graphic Sparks books), worked on spreadsheets, filled out applications for the Library of Congress, proofread hundreds of pages, created the additional information at the end of our books, attended graphic novel storyboard meetings . . . the list goes on and on.

Through it all, I’ve felt a sense of pride and purpose in my work. Stone Arch Books is the kind of company that is formed when you take dedicated, thoughtful, creative people and give them a task they can believe in.

--Sean Tulien
Intern, Stone Arch Books

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Mr. Strike Out

Anastasia Suen has launched a new blog! On her new blog, she’ll be featuring one of her books every week, and posting tips and activities to go along with the books she’s written. This week, she’s showcasing Mr. Strike Out, one of our Jake Maddox Sports Stories. She’s got some great baseball activities and information that kids, teachers, and parents are all sure to love. Check out Anastasia’s blog, and browse through our other Jake Maddox books at www.stonearchbooks.com.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Press check

When our books are ready to print, I sometimes visit our printers for press checks. Coming from a writer’s background, I’m always amazed when talking to the people working for our printers. They view books as more than words and pictures. To them, books are physical things made of paper, cardboard, and ink. Instead of worrying about the correct usage of “to”, “two”, and “too”, the people who work for printers concern themselves with paper weight and ink coverage. It’s completely different from what we do every day in our offices at Stone Arch Books, and has given me new insight into the effort that goes into making a printed book.

I recently visited Worzalla Publishing Company, who was printing our new Graphic Spin titles. Here’s how a typical press check there goes: Every hour or so I’m shown a large sheet of paper with several pages of the book printed on it. I either approve the pages or reject them, depending on how closely they match proofs of the book. As I do this, I usually have the pressroom superintendent or the pressroom supervisor standing next to me. We’ll discuss any issues I see, such as if the page looks too yellow or the black is too heavy, making the page look dark. Then they’ll come up with possible solutions. Afterward, another set of pages, with the new specifications, will be printed. We’ll keep working on it until everything looks satisfactory—this can go on for hours.

From concept to the final book, it always amazes me how many people, and how many hours of hard work, are necessary for the creation of a single book. When it’s all finished, it doesn’t feel like work at all, since we were able to create something that we – and our readers – can enjoy.

--Blake A. Hoena
Production Manager, Stone Arch Books

Friday, July 11, 2008

ALA Newbery Dinner

As promised, here are some photos from our ALA Newbery Dinner table!

Left to right: Gay Patrice (Dallas ISD), Gloria Miller (Charlotte-Mecklenberg ISD), Diane Chen, Kathy Baxter, and author Caroline Arnold

Gay Patrice, Gloria Miller, Kathleen Baxter, Nick Sykora (Capstone Publishers' nonfiction distributor sales manager), Maureen Hatteberg (Capstone Publishers' marketing/communications director)

Deanna Spears (Book Wholesalers, Inc.), Sarah Johnson (Perma-Bound), Jennfer Allen (Perma-Bound)

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

From the silver screen to the library

Looking for a way to draw your movie-fan readers into the library? The (PG-rated) movie version of Jules Verne’s Journey to the Center of the Earth opens this Friday, July 11, and our graphic novel version of the classic book is a perfect complement—and a great way to introduce movie lovers to classic fiction. Check out our version of Verne's novel, and the rest of our Graphic Revolve set, here.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

ALA Report

What a fun and exhausting weekend we had in Anaheim, meeting up with old and new friends to discuss future plans for Stone Arch Books. As busy as it was, the real buzz was in our booth! Of course the fact that we have safe graphic novels continues to draw attention. A well-known graphic novel illustrator told us that his son searches for our “Safe Graphic Novel” symbol to find graphic novels that are as cool as the books Dad creates and wholly accessible for younger readers. Maybe someday Dad will illustrate a graphic novel for SAB!

Another hot topic in our booth was our new We Are Heroes series. Everyone wants to show kids how to be active in their communities and be good citizens. These books show how kids can get involved. Several librarians were especially happy to see that all the proceeds from our book Kids Against Hunger are going to the Kids Against Hunger organization. We’re excited that educators can use our books to show kids that they can influence their communities and at the same time, the proceeds will directly benefit an admirable community activity.

Watch for photos of our Newbery Dinner table, coming next week!

--Maryellen Gregoire
Director of Product Planning and Public Relations, Stone Arch Books

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Staff Spotlight: Donnie Lemke

Name: Donnie Lemke

Occupation/role at Stone Arch:
Senior Editor. I work mostly on the graphic novel titles at Stone Arch Books, developing these authors, managing projects, and shaping manuscripts from inception to final product.

Years at Stone Arch:
About a year and a half, although I’ve worked within Capstone Publishers for nearly six years now.

Bachelor of Arts degree from Minnesota State University, Mankato. I’m currently working toward my Masters of Arts in Liberal Studies from Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota.

What's your favorite SAB book?
Each season I have a new favorite, and this season it’s The Hound of the Baskervilles. Both the author and the illustrator did an amazing job of updating this classic Sherlock Holmes mystery into a modern graphic novel (you’d never guess Sir Arthur Conan Doyle published the original version more than 100 years ago!). I also really like the new Graphic Spin titles (Cinderella, Red Riding Hood, etc.). Each of these fairy tale retellings is unique in both mood and style, giving the stories a fresh new life for new readers. Great stuff!

What was your favorite book when you were a kid?
Like many young boys, I suppose, my favorite book was Hatchet by Gary Paulsen. Every afternoon in sixth grade, my teacher, Mrs. Henderson, would read a chapter to the class (or, Heaven forbid, call on one of us to read), and each day I was left hanging in anticipation for the next installment. Will Brian find shelter? Will he learn how to build a fire? Will he ever see his parents again? Or will he succumb to the harsh Canadian wilderness? I tell you, it was torture. I also really liked another survival story called Avalanche by Arthur Roth. I can’t find this book anywhere today (believe me, I’ve tried), but if you can, be sure to check it out (and let me know where you found it!). It’s about a boy who’s trapped beneath the snow for a week, and the author gives all of the gruesome details of his survival. What’s not to love?

What were you like as an elementary/middle-school student?
I was a pretty quiet kid, got good grades, and stayed out of trouble. Actually, I distinctly remember the only time I was ever disciplined in elementary school. It was second grade, and I was standing in the lunch line. My teacher, who shall remain nameless, supposedly asked the class to stop talking. Now, even to this day, I don’t remember her (or him) giving this instruction. But anyway, I talked, and she (or he) gave me a “Sad Snoopy,” a disciplinary slip decorated with the frowning face of the Peanuts pooch. That night, I had to take the slip home and get it signed by my parents. Honestly, I still can’t look at a Peanuts comic without getting a little teary-eyed.

What's your favorite thing to do in your free time?
I spend most of the day with my face buried in a book or crammed against a computer screen. So, during my free time, I like to get outside as much as possible. During summer evenings, you’d probably find me relaxing by the lake or the pool. I also like to run, and I just recently completed my fourth marathon in an excruciating 3 hours, 9 minutes, and 26 seconds (Boston, here I come!).

Tell us a memorable Stone Arch Books moment from the past year.
Several months ago, the editors and designers at Stone Arch Books visited a nearby school library in Edina, Minnesota. While there, we had a chance to observe a classroom of elementary students. Seeing actual kids reading and enjoying the books we had created was extremely fulfilling—kind of like a publishing circle of life, or something like that.

What’s the best part of your job?
The constant variety. Every day at Stone Arch Books is different than the last. One day I’ll be editing a Graphic Sparks manuscript, trying to come up with a booger joke that’ll make boys laugh. The next day, I’ll be working on a Zone book, thinking of ways to make them scream. It’s never boring.

What’s the hardest part of your job?
Keeping up with the kids. The hottest trends are always changing, and we’re always trying to figure out the next big thing. Everyone at Stone Arch Books spends countless hours reading comics, playing with the latest action figures, and watching Saturday morning cartoons. Okay, I guess it’s really not so hard (Pass the Cap’n Crunch!).

This is the fifth post in a multi-part series that spotlights the members of the Stone Arch Books staff. Drawing of Donnie Lemke by Brann Garvey.