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

Friday, August 28, 2009

Katie Woo!

Greetings from the design cube! Today I get to share with you my most favorite little character and series of books, Katie Woo. Katie is special for many reasons-she's got the sass, spunk and curiosity that makes her a great, relatable character for children.

Katie Woo is an amazing series to be working on, and my favorite part of the project (it's very difficult to pick just one!) was helping to create her outfit and look. In the beginning I had some ideas-she had to have glasses, and she must look like she picked out her own clothes to wear. From there, I let the illustrator concept how she saw Katie in her head. There were revisions of course, until we came to a version that everyone was happy with. Below is the evolution of Katie Woo:
Round 1: While cute, we were looking for something a little more funky and colorful.

Round 2: Much closer to what we had envisioned. However, we still felt like she needed something to make her 
stand out.

Round 3: Perfection! We love everything, from the cowboy boots to the turquoise glasses. She's done!

As I type this, the next set of Katie books for Spring 2010 is in the works. It was important that her look evolve a bit, something new for the new season, but still very Katie Woo. Stay tuned!

Katie has been out in the world for about a month now and people already have great things to say about her, for example:

"I stumbled across the new series, Katie Woo by Fran Manushkin, published by Picture Window Books/Capstone Books. It has me pumped!!! Kids already love Junie B. Jones for her fun and enthusiasm - I think Katie Woo has all that AND will appeal to younger kids." From In The Pages Blog, please check out the entire article!

With Fran Manushkin's excellent stories and Tammie Lyon's fabulous illustrations, Katie Woo is bound for success. I hope young readers everywhere will love her as much as I do, and that these books will spark their interest in reading that turns into a lifelong love, like Ramona Quimby did for me when I was young.

More soon!


Poetry Friday: Scantly and Selectly

At a team-building session this week, we analyzed our working personalities and split into four groups. At work, I (and many of my colleagues) were Golds: we love order, lists, planning, organizing, and deadlines. In honor of my Gold (yellow) work style, I'm posting this poem by Emily Dickinson.

Nature rarer uses yellow
Than another hue;
Saves she all of that for sunsets,--
Prodigal of blue,

Spending scarlet like a woman,
Yellow she affords
Only scantly and selectly,
Like a lover's words.

-- Emily Dickinson

Poetry Friday is at Book Aunt this week.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

SAB Readers

The Stone Arch Books Readers program. You've got to check these books out--they're not your typical readers. They're fresh, exciting, fun books that kids learning to read will adore. At the same time, the books adhere to reader program standards, like strict leveling requirements for word count and sentence structure, and they've all gotten approval by educational consultants.

Friday, August 14, 2009

"This annoys me," she frowned.

Someone linked to this Onion story today on Twitter, and while I thought it was funny, it also brought up one of my biggest writing pet peeves—misusing verbs of utterance.
Now, I know English is a rapidly changing thing, the rules are fluid, etc. But can I tell you the quickest way to make me roll my eyes and make me get out my red pen is to write something like this:

“I agree,” he nodded.

Oh. It makes me cringe just to type it! People. You can’t nod a sentence. You say it. You yell it. You cry it, maybe, or even whimper it. And you can nod at the same time. But you can’t nod speech. You can’t shrug it, or smile it, or frown it. You can speak and move at the same time, of course, but then it’s a different sentence:

“I agree.” He nodded.


“I agree,” he said, nodding.


He nodded. "I agree," he said.

I realize this is largely a nitpicky grammar thing, but to me, it smacks of something careless—not paying attention to how people move? Not knowing the limits of what certain verbs can do? When I read the first sentence, the "nodded" stops me. I can't see or hear it anymore, which is the opposite of its intention. And if you're the offending writer, you can't tell me it's in the service of the writing.

I also realize that many a famous author does this, but it drives me nuts, and I edit it out of books with wild abandon. Do other people have annoyances like this when they’re reading? Or is it mostly limited to those of us who are paid to wield our red pens?

Gosh, this post makes me sound crabby! Really, I'm not the kind of person who goes around correcting the improper use of the subjunctive, or anything like that. Some things just really get me going.

Thanks for letting me vent!
More soon--

Poetry Friday: Infant Joy

My best friends had a baby boy yesterday, so in honor of baby Cooper I'm posting this poem by William Blake. It's from his Songs of Innocence and Experience, and any good English major knows that the Innocence poems have a darker side about losing innocence, but for today, let's take it at face value: the true joy of welcoming a baby to a loving family.

Infant Joy

"I have no name:
I am but two days old."
What shall I call thee?
"I happy am,
Joy is my name."
Sweet joy befall thee!

Pretty joy!
Sweet joy, but two days old.
Sweet Joy I call thee:
Thou dost smile,
I sing the while;
Sweet joy befall thee!

Poetry Friday is hosted at a wrung sponge today.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Around the blogosphere

We try to keep our links list (over to the left, if you're reading this at stonearchbooks.blogspot.com) updated when Stone Arch Books is mentioned elsewhere in the blogosphere or on Internet news outlets. But today, there are a couple of things worth pointing out specifically.

Over at Paul Kupperberg's blog, the author of The Kid Who Saved Superman has posted a detailed write-up of his tour to the DC Comics headquarters with some of our staff and the winner of the DC Super Heroes contest. Check it out here.

And author Steve Brezenoff is hosting a contest for a bunch of books at his blog. Click here and leave a comment about a school memory for a chance to win.


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Superman, meet the kid who saved you.

What better way to cap off a whirlwind of press and excitement than by meeting Superman himself? Our own Joan Berge and Michael Dahl are in New York today, and they're touring the DC Comics offices with our contest winner Hakeem Bennett and his hero, Mr. Brown.

Hakeem and his hero, Matthew Brown. If you look closely, you can see seeing-eye-dog extraordinaire Stanley next to Mr. Brown!

And Stone Arch Books' editorial director and author Michael Dahl couldn't resist getting in on the fun, too! (Those of us who work closely with Michael would expect nothing less.)

Friday, August 7, 2009

San Diego Comic Con 2009

Just last month, the rest of the world watched as 150,000 people descended upon the sunny harbor city of San Diego for one purpose: to feast their eyes on everything that the comic book, publishing, film, television, and video game worlds have to offer. Yes, I’m talking about Comic Con International, the largest comic book convention and pop culture phenomenon in the world. Over the past five summers, I’ve had the pleasure of attending this event, and I’ve seen a lot of great product and met a lot of great people. This year was no different, as Stone Arch Books sent me to San Diego in hopes of signing a few more great illustrators to add to our already amazing talent pool. Over two days, I reviewed over 100 portfolios and collected lots and lots of free posters, catalogs, and whatever else I could get my hands on, also known as SWAG (“Stuff We All Get”). Not only that, Comic Con is a great way to get our name out to those who may not yet know us. It’s no coincidence that we now have a working relationship with DC Comics – they found us at Comic Con!

Below are a few snapshots I took while traversing the vast landscape of booths and exhibits (not to mention negotiating the massive throng of people). Until next year...

Bob Lentz
Art Director
Stone Arch BooksThe San Diego Convention Center, home of Comic Con International for 4 1/2 days each July. It’s interesting to note that a vast majority of this convention center was added to house the ever-expanding Comic Con, which in the last 10 years has grown exponentially thanks to big budget superhero films and hyper-realistic video games.

DC Comics consistently has one of the best (and largest) booths at Comic Con, and they offer many great freebies and promotional items. I waited in line for one half hour just to get some posters and buttons. Well worth it.

A quick shot of the “Big Three” banner at the DC booth: Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. Did we mention that we offer beautiful chapter books featuring the crown jewels of DC Comics and the superhero world?? Pretty awesome to walk into the DC booth knowing that you get to make books with their characters in them.

Just a small sampling of the many costumed Con-goers who masquerade through the halls of the San Diego Convention Center each year. Seen here are a few alien creatures from the “Star Wars” films.

Captain Jack Sparrow from the “Pirates of the Caribbean” film series. Is it really Johnny Depp, or a wax figure? You decide. (Actually, it’s another costumed attendee who just happened to look strikingly like the real Mr. Depp...!)

Myself (right) and C.S. Jennings (left), the soon-to-be legendary illustrator on our “Incredible Rockhead” series from Graphic Sparks. C.S. had a booth this year in the small press area, where many freelance illustrators and self-employed comic book artists go to peddle their wares and drum up business. It’s worth mentioning that that is exactly how we came to work with C.S. in the first place – finding him at Comic Con several years ago!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Field Trip Mysteries contest/giveaway!

Want to win a complete set of the first four Field Trip Mysteries books? Head on over to the author's blog and leave a comment about a field trip memory of your own. You've got until Saturday to enter--good luck!