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.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Just Direct Your (Cold) Feet to Monster Street

When I was a first-grader, there was a TV anthology show my parents watched on Sunday nights called Chiller that specialized in Grade-Z monster movies. I was not allowed to join in the fun. I did, however, sometimes sneak down the hall, barefooted, and listen to the roars, screams, sound effects and near-Shakespearean dialogue. Once I listened to a movie called Attack of the 50-ft. Woman. I wondered: How scary, really, is a woman with fifty feet? What could she possibly do? Kick you? Steal your shoes?

I obviously didn’t grasp the reality of the title, but I did make some creative connections of my own. It reminded me that while children may be terrific observers, they are often terrible interpreters. And they need help when it comes to parsing out words with two or more meanings. Or when confronted by those phrases that adults use so easily, yet stumble against a child’s limited vocabulary and experience. Like the idiom “In one ear and out the other.” I used to think grown-ups were discussing flying insects. How about “having cold feet”? Sounds like a Chiller movie about the abominable snowman to me.

I had a lot of fun writing the new picture book series called Monster Street, because it involved making up stories to explain those idioms. And because I could remember how it felt to be confused about words and their tricks and twists. I think my favorite in the series is Two Heads Are Better Than One. I love how the illustrator, Migy, has portrayed the spunky, but sometimes sad, little monster George as he faces life with only one head in a family whose members all sport two. Poor George. Faces life? There’s another idiom. We’re surrounded by them! It’s raining cats and dogs with them! I think of Monster Street as a safe, cozy haven for those young listeners (and readers) like me who were afraid of “another mouth to feed” or the chilling possibility of real butterflies taking up residence in your stomach.

Michael Dahl

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Words of Wisdom Wednesday: Stress Less

Stress among children is estimated to have increased 45% over the past 30 years. In a recent poll question on Capstone Kids, we asked kids what they do when they feel stressed or upset. The number one answer was listen to music.

1. Listen to music (31%)
2. Watch TV or play a video game (27%)
3. Read a Book (16%)
4. Other - something not listed (16%)
5. Talk to friends (5%)
6. Play a sport or do something active (5%)

I’m surprised to see that talk to friends and play a sport or do something active are so low on the list. How do you see kids handling stress?

Friday, September 17, 2010

And last but not least . . .

Rounding out our Fall '10 offerings, here's your report on the newest licensed books and graphic novels from Stone Arch Books!

Last season, we introduced our partnership with Sports Illustrated Kids and launched our first graphic novels under the SI Kids brand. This season, we take it a step further and add full-color chapter books to the mix. The kids at Victory School all have extraordinary athletic ability, but they face ordinary struggles, learning that teamwork and fair play are just as important to them as they are to normal kids. Check out the awesome Victory School Superstars trailer, too:

We've also got six brand-new graphic novels from Sports Illustrated Kids. These books have been getting some great reviews. School Library Journal said they were "sure to fly off shelves." Nice!

Did you know that some of our ever-popular Graphic Revolve retellings of classic tales are also available in Spanish! Es verdad! English-language learners, bilingual kids, and Spanish-language learners will all appreciate these editions of some of our coolest graphic novels.

And we're granting wishes to librarians and kids everywhere by adding classic Arabian Nights tales (with absolutely breathtaking illustrations) to the Graphic Revolve set.

Ever wonder what certain monsters were like as kids? Find out in our brand-new Mighty Mighty Monsters series, set in Transylmania. Horror fans and kids who just love graphic novels will love this new series by Sean O'Reilly.

And speaking of awesome kids, we've added a new graphic novel in the Monster and Me series and the Princess Candy series, and two new graphic novels in the Incredible Rockhead series. (This time, Rockhead battles Scissorlegz and Papercutz.)

And for the new readers who love graphic novels, My First Graphic Novel is back with four new books, all set at school.

Finally, we have four new Batman books, four new Wonder Woman books, and four new Superman books in our DC Super Heroes set.

And that's our list!

If you missed my rundown of our newest books from Picture Window Books and our new novels from Stone Arch, check out those posts.

Here's my question for you, readers: What are we missing? As readers, authors, illustrators, librarians, teachers, parents—what would you like to see on this list? What do you want more of? Please let me know in the comments!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

What's New in Novels from Stone Arch Books

Good morning! Today is feeling even more autumnal than Monday—cold, gray, and rainy. Let's brighten things up with another rundown of what's new from Capstone Fiction!

Today, I'll talk about some of the new novels from Stone Arch Books available now for the Fall 10 season.

First off, I am so excited to introduce Monica! This series is a spin-off of our very popular The Complicated Life of Claudia Cristina Cortez. Monica is Claudia's best friend, but in this series she comes out from behind her friend's shadow. While the Claudia books are peppered with whimsical margin art, the Monica series uses text messages throughout to help tell the story. Young teenage girls are going to love this series. (You, faithful reader, may remember that I've talked about the cover shoot and editing the series in previous entries!)

The Librarian is back, and this time with longer stories, a new sidekick, creepier covers, and gorgeous art. Our Hero, the watcher of the Library of Doom, and his compatriot, the Specialist, battle evildoers who would release the world's most dangerous books. Check out our book trailer!

We have three new series in our Stone Arch Readers program this season. In Level 1, Little Lizard has a party, hangs out with his family, enjoys his first day of school, and gets a new bike. In Level 2, the members of the Pet Club have a ton of fun with their fish, dog, cat, and rat. And in Level 3, Buzz Beaker (from our popular graphic novel series) is back with new inventions.

Older readers will adore Annie, the main character in the Ridgeview Riding Club series, and will want to read all eight books. This season, we've added four more.

School Library Journal
called The Graffiti Mystery "an excellent, lighthearted, and enjoyable read with many humorous situations and clever crime-solving tactics." Now Damian Drooth has more cases to crack!

If you've got mystery lovers in your library, Stone Arch is your new best friend. We've added four more books to our bestselling Field Trip Mysteries series. This time, Cat, Gum, Sam, and Egg are on field trips to four exciting cities in the United States: New York City, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, and New Orleans.

And one more super sleuth to round things out: Klooz, everyone's favorite kid detective, solves two more crimes in record time.

Finally, it wouldn't be a season round-up of Capstone Fiction novels without more sports stories from Jake Maddox. This season, we see the Wildcats football team through the eyes of four different players on the team. Each guy has his own challenges and victories, but they all have to learn teamwork if the Wildcats really want to win.

Whew! That was a big list. Next time, new graphic novels and licensed books (we'll see if I can fit it all in one post!)

Enjoy your Wednesday. More soon!

Monday, September 13, 2010

What's New from Picture Window

Happy Fall!

Here in Minnesota, the leaves are JUST beginning to change, and school buses are making their daily trips around the neighborhood. Fresh apples line the tables at the farmers' market, days are getting shorter, and mornings are cool. And the final sign of fall? New books from Capstone Fiction. This week, I'll be highlighting the newest books on our shelves, available now!

Today's new books are all from our Picture Window Books imprint. When we're choosing books for Picture Window, we think bright, wholesome, and fun—the very best of childhood.

We're so excited about introducing Little Boost—adorable picture books that kids will love, about new experiences and common preK troubles. (Roger from Crabby Pants is a personal favorite.) Check out our book trailer for more about all four books!

We're also debuting another new series of picture books, Monster Street. These books turn idioms into hilarious stories, full of bright, gorgeous, interesting art by Migy.

Introduce young readers to classic tales with My First Classic Story, a new set of fourteen (with more to come!) bright and colorful books in a kid-friendly size.

And last but not least of our brand-new series, MICHAEL DAHL PRESENTS SUPER FUNNY JOKE BOOKS. Here's a great one from Screaming with Laughter:

Why didn't the monster eat the comedian?
Because he tasted funny.

Everyone's favorite spectacled and sassy little girl, Katie Woo, is back! This time, she's celebrating different holidays with her family and friends.

Stay tuned this week for more of the season's best from Capstone Fiction. Happy Monday!

Friday, September 3, 2010

On libraries

Happy Friday, blog-readers!

Many of you probably already know that this is Library Card Sign-up Month. Many of you probably already have a library card, work at a library, or frequent a library.

Big confession time.

I've had a library card for most of my life. As a kid, I spent a ton of time in the library, both at school and at the public library. But around the time I got an income of my own, I stopped going to the library. It didn't seem convenient when I could just pop into a bookstore or order something online. The ease of buying cheap used books online made my habit even worse. I'd still buy the expensive hardcover when it was one of my favorite authors, but I never went to the library.

My husband and I have over a thousand books, which makes sense since he's a writer and I'm an editor. But we also live in a house that's less than a thousand square feet. You do the math. We have boxes and boxes and boxes of books stacked in the basement. We have books stuffed on top of books on the shelves upstairs. Our bedroom's bookshelf has books stacked three books deep. And our 2-year-old son seems to have inherited our problem--his books don't fit on his dedicated shelves.

Enter the library. We have a great library in our neighborhood of St. Paul. They have a children's storytime, lots of computers, friendly staff. I've had a library card here since we bought our house, but I hardly ever use it. Besides, though the library is great, the collection is fairly small. Easier to just order it online, right? Then I realized that I'd been missing the point. In the amount of time it takes to find a cheap used book online and buy it, I can request the same book at the library, have it delivered from another branch (if necessary), and walk through my cute neighborhood to pick it up. I was definitely patting myself on the back for that display of genius until I realized that everyone else already knew to do that.

So here's to library cards. For letting me try new authors and old favorites without committing to an investment of space and money. Let's face it--I'm still going to buy books. Obviously I'm going to continue to buy books. I work in publishing. I love books. But now I'll be able to justify my purchases even more and seek out even more new authors. Yay for library cards! I'm just sorry I'm so late to the party. Apparently I should behave more like my ten-year-old self more often.

Have a happy holiday weekend, and bring on autumn--I've got a ton of books waiting to be read.

more soon!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Words of Wisdom Wednesday: Read In Public!

Saturday was Read Comics in Public Day. (Note: For most of our staff, every day is Read Comics in Public Day. Yesterday, editorial director Michael got a box of comics shipped to him, and within seconds, half of my coworkers were huddled around his desk, paging through all the new stuff.)

To celebrate Read Comics in Public Day this weekend, Bob, one of our art directors, combined two of his passions: comics and the Minnesota State Fair.

Where do you like to read--comics or otherwise--in public? Is there a place you wouldn't read in public? Tell us!