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, August 13, 2008

Good Books or Gross Books?

An article in the Wall Street Journal recently claimed that to get boys to read, you’ve gotta give them blood and guts. Here at Stone Arch Books, we understand the balance between what boys want and what kids want. Our (proven, kid-tested) method of getting boys to read simply consists of publishing books that contain elements boy readers are looking for—action, sports, humor, adventure, and just a pinch of irreverence. At the same time, we’re publishing books that librarians and teachers and parents can be comfortable with.

In the WSJ article, Jan Harp Domene, the president of the PTA, asks why boys won’t read the classics, like Tom Sawyer and books written by Jules Verne and stories from Greek mythology. Our answer: they will, if the package is cool, the format is right, and the book is presented to them as something fun—not something they’re being forced to read. Our Graphic Revolve books (which include The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, two Jules Verne sci-fi classics, and next season, will include stories from Greek mythology) combine a format boys love (graphic novels) with content teachers, parents, and librarians can feel confident about.

Do we have to publish “gross” books to appeal to kids? Of course not—but sometimes it’s fun, like our Jimmy Sniffles books about a boy with a super-powered schnozz, our retelling of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and the sure-to-be-classic Boy Who Burped Too Much. But even these books are safe—not gory. Boys, however, won’t even notice the lack of blood . . . they’ll be too busy reading. And that’s the point.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Staff Spotlight: Krista Monyhan

Name: Krista Monyhan

Occupation/role at Stone Arch: Planning Editor, specializing in prek-2nd grade. I look at new products, brainstorm with all the wonderful people at Stone Arch, and decide what we will publish. This can be such a challenge!

Years at Stone Arch:
Two years in September.

Education: I have a BS in Elementary Education from St. Cloud State University, St. Cloud, MN.

What's your favorite SAB book? I have so many favorite SAB books. This season, if I have to narrow it down to one title, I would choose Red Riding Hood. I have always loved this fairy tale, and the Stone Arch version just made it better in a new format with the great art. Another book that I really like is Legend of the Lure. It reminds me of all the time that I spent fishing with my dad when I was growing up. Even if we weren’t catching fish, it was always fun to be with my dad.

What was your favorite book when you were a kid?
I had so many favorite books when I was a kid! The series I could not read enough of was The Babysitters Club. I loved those books because of the friendships and the problems the friends had while babysitting. I couldn’t wait to be old enough to babysit.

What were you like as an elementary/middle-school student?
I was very shy in elementary school. I loved to read and pretend I was a teacher and my sister was my student. From this early age, I knew that I wanted to become a teacher. You may be asking why I’m not teaching. When I graduated from college, a lot of school districts in Minnesota were going through budget cuts and couldn’t hire new teachers. I was a substitute for 3 years hoping the financial situations of schools would change. It did get a little better but I never landed a full-time job and had enough of substituting. I was trying to decide what other career I could go into while still using my education. I started looking at children’s book publishing and saw that Stone Arch had an open position. I was so excited at the thought of working with books every day all day.

What's your favorite thing to do in your free time? In my free time, I love to be outside as much as possible. I love to camp and hike. I also like to spend time with my family.

Tell us a memorable Stone Arch Books moment from the past year. The day the new and much-anticipated Graphic Spin books finally arrived in our office. We had all seen the files, but holding the finished book in your hand is great. The books turned out just as beautiful as we all expected.

What’s the best part of your job? The best part of my job is that it’s always changing. I learn new things every day and I’m constantly being challenged. That makes every day a new surprise.

What’s the hardest part of your job? The hardest part of my job is keeping everything organized and staying up to date on what’s popular with kids. Part of my planning process is finding out what kids are doing in their spare time and what they think is cool. It can also be hard to decide what we will publish. We plan our seasons years in advance, and we try to stay around 100 titles per season. We occasionally purchase books from other countries, but we develop the majority of our books here. I need to make sure that the purchased product contracts are approved and that the rest of the books are on schedule. If anything’s delayed, it is a mad rush to find titles to replace it. Even though it’s a big puzzle, it’s a very fun one!

This is the sixth post in a multi-post series that spotlights the members of the Stone Arch Books staff. Drawing of Krista Monyhan by Brann Garvey.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Jake Maddox--Olympian?

The Opening Ceremonies of the 2008 Olympics are this week!

Jake Maddox won’t be participating in this year’s Games, but many of the sports in the summer Olympics have been featured in the Jake Maddox Sport Stories series. From BMX, basketball, track, and volleyball to soccer, wrestling, skateboarding, and tennis, eager sports fans (boys and girls!) will find their favorite sport both on television and in the pages of a Jake Maddox book.