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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

When good books become mediocre movies

When I picked my son, Noah, up from his after-school program last Friday, he was in an uproar. After finishing Roald Dahl's James in the Giant Peach, his class got to watch the movie version. Noah, who loved the book, was extremely upset that some of his favorite characters were missing. "Why would they do that?" he asked. "Why is the movie never as good as the book?" Welcome to one of the biggest wonders of readers everywhere, young Noah.

Usually I like to watch the movie, before I read the book. That way I can save the best (the book) for last. For example, I loved the first Chronicles of Narnia movie. And while I still feel it is a fine film, now that I'm reading the book, nothing can compare to the picture in my mind.

This spring, one of my favorite books comes to the big screen: Water for Elephants. I am thrilled with the casting. Reece Witherspoon and Robert Patterson are the perfect Marlena and Jacob. So I am keeping a positive outlook, and if I'm disappointed? Well, there is nothing stopping me from rereading the book.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Crunch Time!

We’re always a busy group here at Stone Arch Books, but around this time of year “busy” takes on a whole new meaning for everyone on the fiction team. You can tell we’ve really gotten into the end-of-season crunch here recently. All of us editors and designers are working double-time to try to get books out the door and into your hands. Everyone is loaded down with books routing in red folders and hyped up on plenty of caffeine . . . as evidenced by the fact that our first, giant pot of coffee was gone this morning before 8:15. Yikes! My desk used to be under this pile of red folders . . . fingers crossed I find it again sometime soon.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

It's National Puppy Day!

According to my coworker's calendar, today is national puppy day. While I'm not a pet or animal person, I do realize most people are. I also realize that most children love books about animals (especially puppies and horses). My youngest daughter loves Play Time for Puppy. So even if you are not a pet person, I encourage you to read a puppy book today.

Monday, March 21, 2011

When is a library a destination?

The youth section of Cape Girardeau's public library.

Last week, I vacationed down to Cape Girardeau, Missouri, to visit family. My to-do list while there was quite short: exercise, relax, eat, and . . . visit the public library. I had read up about the city a bit and had discovered that the new library, opened in 2009, was considered a destination library. Well, that was certainly right up my alley. After all, a normal, plain-jane library is my ideal destination, so I couldn't wait to see what this one had to offer.

Cape's library is home to gathering places, an impressive collection, and loads of audio and digital resources. I had a blast strolling through the beautiful building, spotting Capstone books and visiting with the media specialists there.

This destination library serves everyone in the community! Babies have their own special place to roam.

From babies to teens...a fun area to hang out and read that latest Sarah Dessen novel.

Look! It's our good friend, Max!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Do you see spring?

I think spring may actually be on its way! The snow is finally beginning to melt, birds are out and about, and the temperature is slowly creeping upward. I cannot wait for spring to officially arrive, and I am just as excited about our new set of toddler books. They are sweet, rhyming stories that walk a child through the beauty of each season. With adorable characters and vibrant art, these little gems will hopefully get everyone excited about the changing of the seasons.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

New friends!

Oh, my. I am sooooo excited to introduce these little guys to you.

Meet Vivienne. She's messy.And Pete. He's . . . well, let's just say he needs to work on his manners.And Ruth. Oh, Ruth. She just loves those pink pajamas.
And then there's Sam. He's shy.

You'll get to know them all soon.


Monday, March 14, 2011


Hi friends,

I just returned from a beautiful vacation back home in South America. I visited Buenos Aires, Argentina, making various stops in Colombia and Miami. I thought I would share some of my favorite pictures from the trip with you.

Wishing you warm spring weather soon. Greetings from South America!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

An Icon

Today we celebrate the birthday of an icon. Like many great women (Cher, Madonna, etc), she goes by just one name—Barbie. On this very day in 1959, Barbara Millicent Roberts was born. You may love her or hate her (I love her and am very happy to play Barbies with my girls), but you can't argue with her icon status. I must point out that she's had about a billion careers, but she's never been a book editor. I guess even Barbie can't handle the book world.

Happy Birthday, Barbie!
My first Barbie was Peaches & Cream. My sisters were jealous because she had bent arms and their Barbies didn't.

Monday, March 7, 2011

You CAN go home again!

You know that saying, “You can’t go home again.” It isn’t true. You can go home, and when you do, people will welcome you with open arms.

Last Friday, I had the pleasure visiting my former elementary school in Howard, South Dakota. Thanks to a large addition, the school was about twice as big as it was when I attended, yet the hallways and some of the classrooms seemed smaller. (Isn’t it funny how places seem smaller just because you are bigger?)

I read to the kindergarten, first-grade, and second-grade classes, sharing my picture books Crabby Pants and Eleanore Won’t Share. They were wonderful and attentive listeners, Even though I spend my workdays thinking about children and their reading, it isn’t often I get to witness it. Until you hear a group of kids laugh at something you have written, you just never know if the joke really works. I am happy to say that I heard a few laughs on Friday, and saw many smiles.

The first graders all had questions ready for me.

Thanks to all the little Howard Tigers who listened so nicely, to the teachers who made room in their schedules, and to Mrs. Ulrich, the librarian who organized it all. Also, thank you to the familiar faces who came out to a book signing after school. It is all of you that make me proud to say Howard is my hometown.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Happy National Grammar Day!!!

It’s that time of year again. Time for my favorite holiday: National Grammar Day. You might find it hard to believe that there are people who actually enjoy and celebrate this holiday, but there are. They are editors, and I am not embarrassed to be one of them. Case in point, this is an actual email exchange (which I still have saved) that took place last year on National Grammar Day between my managing editor Beth and myself:

Beth: It’s National Grammar Day! Anyone have a nerdy grammar thing to add — a favorite punctuation mark, etc. (Haha! Don’t you guys have one too??) Let me know.

Me: Probably commas in compound sentences. Which is super nerdy. Or hyphens between compound adjectives. On another note, things that are incorrectly hyphenated are my biggest pet peeve. Aka, “The 40 Year-Old Virgin.” Which leads me to a question I’ve been meaning to ask you for days: Should “Hot Tub Time Machine” be hyphenated? I feel like it’s extra nerdy of me to have been pondering that for days.

Beth: We are SOUL MATES. I think Hot-Tub Time Machine . . . right???


Now that I’ve shared some embarrassing grammar tidbits with you, what are your favorite grammar rules? (On that note, I hereby give you permission to correct someone’s incorrect grammar today . . . after all, it IS National Grammar Day!)


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Happy Read Across America Day!

Today is Read Across America Day as well as Dr. Seuss's birthday. The perfect day to grab your hat and read with the Cat!

Pledge to read aloud (to your classroom, child, younger sibling, or anyone!) here.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Is it Spring Yet?

It's been a rough winter, and sometimes it feels like we are stuck in Narnia with only one season on repeat. I know that spring will come eventually, but it's difficult to keep things in perspective when all you can see are piles of white outside of your door. Are there signs of spring where you are? Please share them with us desperate Minnesotans!