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.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Goodbye, Joan

This week, the staff of Stone Arch Books and Picture Window Fiction says goodbye to our fearless leader, Joan Berge.

Joan is leaving the company after fourteen years to explore new interests and opportunities. She started working for Capstone Publishers very early on, working at Capstone Press and then working on the launch of both Picture Window Books and Compass Point Books. For the last five years, she’s been the head of our fiction division.

We’re really going to miss Joan around here: her sense of humor, her no-nonsense attitude, her belief in all of us. Joan has always pushed us to not just produce good books, but to create the best books we can—and then some. Her questions, eye, and care are responsible for so much of Capstone Fiction’s success and for the quality of both the books we publish and the workplace where we spend our days.We’ll miss you, Joan. Don’t be a stranger.

Monday, December 21, 2009

No Snow...

I'm pretty sure Fawn Braun would be quite pleased with the whiteness of the holidays this year.

No cotton or sugar or marshmallows for us. Or most of the U.S.

(Did you know you can look inside most of our books?)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Stone Arch Gift Guide, part 2!

If yesterday's post didn't give you enough ideas, here are even more! This time, our design department weighs in with their top picks for gift-giving.

I would recommend any of the Storybook Classics-elegant, coffee table like books with unique illustrations. Perfect for reading aloud around the fire on a cold winter night. If I had to pick just one from the set it would be Snow White.
— Emily, designer

I ordered the Truck Buddies level 1 readers for my nephew Boone (3 1/2). He LOVES trucks! I know that he will develop a love for reading with this series!! I ordered Princess Candy Sugar Hero for my 7-year-old niece, knowing she will love the the princess character (what girl doesn’t love princesses?). This will be a nice way to expose her to the graphic novel format and how exciting and visual reading can be. Not to mention this will be a nice girl super hero role model for her!! I also ordered her a Claudia Cristina Cortez book (Dance Trap) knowing that she is a good reader. I'm anticipating her getting hooked on Claudia and begging for more. And finally, I ordered each of my 3-year-old nieces a Storybook Classic (Goldilocks & The Three Little Pigs). I think they will love these beautiful fairytales & gorgeous pictures. These will be nice read-alouds for the parents to read to them, plus a nice way to develop a love for reading at a young age. I still remember my parents reading these same stories to me.
— Heather, creative director

I would give a copy of The Incredible Rockhead, because I think it’s a perfect introduction to children’s graphic novels and the superhero genre in general. Not only does the design and illustration pay homage to superhero comics of yore, but the storyline has been expertly crafted by our brilliant editorial staff. There’s lots of humor, puns, action, crazy characters – everything you’d ever want in a comic book for this age group (and beyond). Plus, three more titles are on the way to round out the Rockhead saga...a “gift that keeps on giving,” so to speak.
— Bob, art director

For all the little girls out there are staring to get into reading their first books, I would recommend Katie Woo. They are fun and fast reads that girls are going to love. For the tweens in the family, I think the Claudia Cristina Cortez books are super fun. (Look for the Claudia advice books in January!) I'm going to give Finn Reeder: Flu Fighter to my daughter Victoria. It’s the first book I designed and illustrated, so it means a lot to me. I never thought I would have been able to do something like it. I know my daughter is going to adore that book, not only because her mom made it, but because the story is hilarious, one of the best books I’ve ever worked on. So much fun to put together in such a short time.
— Kay, art director

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Stone Arch Gift Guide, part 1

It's cold and blustery outside. What could be better than to curl up with a book?

Just in time for the holidays, here's our Stone Arch gift guide. I asked some of my colleagues to suggest perfect gifts for the holidays. This list is the choices from the editorial department. We'll have top choices from the design department soon!

My pick is Fawn Braun's Big City Blues. The first time I read this book, I got kind of choked up. It is such a sweet story about a how a whole town comes together to make one little girl’s dreams come true.
— Julie, senior editor

I want to give the board books to everyone I know! (Editor's note: Look for a post about these upcoming books soon!) Of course any of the Katie Woo books would be perfect for a little girl. I really like the Fall '09 Spin books. I think those are perfect titles to give to any kid.
— Krista, product planning editor

My toddler son, Sam, already has a full collection of the Sam X books and many of the Graphic Spin fairy tales. This year, I'm giving him a set of early copies of our new board books. (I'll be showcasing them here in a couple of weeks, when they're available for purchase.) I think I'll also invest in complete sets of our Stone Arch Readers. My favorites are the level 3 Monster readers—gorgeously illustrated, quirky books any kid will love. He's too young for them now, but he'll love them in a few years. For other kids, I'm getting copies of our awesome Jake Maddox books—perfect for sports-lovers—and the My First Graphic Novel books, for the younger kids who want to read graphic novels just like their older siblings. All sure to be big hits.
— Beth, senior editor

I would give Katie Woo: Boss of the World (or really any Katie Woo book) to any parent with children between the ages of 2-8. It has a ton of teachable moments, it’s funny, and it’s totally relatable.
— Christianne, managing editor

My SAB gift recommendation is Zinc Alloy: Coldfinger, illustrated by the incredibly talented Douglas Holgate and written by . . . yours truly! Besides some shameless self-promotion, the fourth installment in the Zinc Alloy saga is a great holiday read. It takes place during Zack Allen’s winter vacation, where the young super hero must tackle the ski slopes, take on the school’s biggest bully, and face his toughest challenge yet — the fearsome (and frozen) super-villain Dr. Icee! This action-packed comic is sure to make your own holiday stresses seem, well, comical.
— Donnie, senior editor

I’d pick My Frozen Valentine from the DC Superheroes: Batman series for all my cousins. Great book title, fluent writing, and the illustrations are dynamic and beautifully colored. Also, the harsh, wintery, nighttime illustrations resonate perfectly with the crux of the story: Mr. Freeze’s cold-hearted revenge versus Batman’s shadowy pursuit of justice. Also, lots of explosions!
— Sean, associate editor

The Ugly Duckling. This is one of the most hilarious, fizzy, surprising, and dynamically-drawn graphic novels I’ve read in a long time. Artist Aaron Blecha (who also illustrated PAUL BUNYAN and THE THREE LITTLE PIGS) has filled this book from copyright page to back matter with a quirky, swampy palette, narcissistic ducklings, cynical toads, and a sense of humor that both kids and adults will appreciate. Grown-ups will come to the story already familiar with Hans Christian Andersen’s plot and characters, so they will be entertained by reteller Martin Powell’s insight into the Ugly Duckling’s loneliness and desire for belonging, as well as the wacky visuals. Kids will love the funny dialogue and the bright, contemporary cartoon-like panels. It’s a win-win for anyone who loves fairy tales, graphic novels, or a good laugh. I can’t wait to see what Blecha and Powell do next.
— Michael, editorial director

Monday, December 7, 2009

Remembering Pearl Harbor

Today, December 7, is National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, a day to honor those who fought and died 68 years ago in Hawaii. Please take time to thank a veteran or active soldier, and learn more about how these brave men and women have shaped our country.

Read more:
Captured Off Guard (Graphic Flash)
Pearl Harbor (We the People)
The Attack on Pearl Harbor (Graphic Library)
Pearl Harbor: Day of Infamy (Snapshots in History)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Sports Illustrated Kids: Then and Now

It’s funny how things come full circle sometimes: When I was a kid, I was a huge sports fan (still am, actually). Maybe it was my love of the local sports teams, or certain players. Or my obsession with baseball card collecting. Or, maybe it was the simple fact that I loved to draw sports team logos in my notebooks at school (imagine that). Whatever the case, my appetite for sports was insatiable. So, it was no surprise that when my mom found out about the inception of Sports Illustrated Kids magazine, she signed me up for a subscription immediately. The premiere issue arrived in our mailbox around my birthday back in 1989, and I couldn’t have been more excited (Michael Jordan!!):

Now, 20 years later, Sports Illustrated Kids is still going strong and celebrating a big anniversary. And, though my subscription ended long ago, I happened to run into SI Kids again–at work.

For the past 6 months or so, I’ve been working with Sports Illustrated Kids to create a brand new and exciting way to deliver sports fiction to an ever-changing world of sports-hungry kids: sports graphic novels. Since Stone Arch Books specializes in graphic novels, it was no shock that SI Kids came knocking when they decided to branch out into additional markets, especially the school library market. The concept we came up with was a no-brainer: let’s create fast-paced stories about everyday kids in interesting sports situations and combine them with superhero comic-caliber artwork. Sprinkle in some character-driven “sports broadcast” narrative and some stats, and we had something that hasn’t been done before...in any market. These books are sure to appeal to the most reluctant readers, and keep them coming back for more. Six hot, new titles (with topics ranging from football to paintball) will be available soon. Check out the cover and a sample spread from Point-Blank Paintball:

As we move forward with this innovative series (more seasons are on the way), I’ve already learned something very interesting about the artists who illustrate our Sports Illustrated Kids Graphic Novels: many of them actually play the sports that they are illustrating! The best example is Gerardo Sandoval, who is currently working on our upcoming soccer title. He told me in an email that he plays soccer consistently, mostly as a goalkeeper. Even though we (Stone Arch and Sports Illustrated Kids) make extra sure that every sports detail is accurate, it’s nice to know that we can count on our illustrators to do their homework and produce the highest level of sports action for the printed page. I can’t imagine any better research than playing the sport in real life!

Look for Sports Illustrated Kids Graphic Novels in January–only from Stone Arch Books!

Bob Lentz
Art Director
Stone Arch Books