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.

Monday, November 28, 2011

My new friend, Zeke.

A funny thing happens when you edit a series of books built around one character — you begin to think of him or her as someone you know. When I see a bright, colorful outfit, it isn't unusual for me to think, "Katie would love that! It is perfect for her." The Katie I'm referring to, of course, is Katie Woo. I also find myself thinking things like "What kind of birthday would Katie have? What would happen if she got to bring home the school pet? What if she got lost?" The great thing is author Fran Manushkin always has the answers to these questions. And best of all, I know that Katie is real to Fran, too.

Recently, I've gotten to know a new kid on a personal level. Zeke Meeks is a little older than Katie, and he doesn't have the same interest in fashion (though his sisters try to force it on him.) But like Katie, he is funny and memorable and real. I cannot tell you how excited I am about this new series of chapter books by D. L. Green. They were written with boys in mind, but girls love them, too. And our illustrator, Josh Alves, has a gift for taking D. L.'s hilarious words and making them come to life. As a result, I find myself noticing video games that Zeke might like and wondering what is on his Christmas list this year. But most of all, I just can't wait to hear his latest story, because that boy can tell a tale!

Take a look at our trailer and see why I am so excited to make a new friend in Zeke:

Monday, November 21, 2011

Holiday Travel

Whether you're ready or not, the holidays are almost upon us. And with holiday fun comes a not-so-pleasant aspect: holiday travel. Ick! Like many others, I'll be heading to the airport tomorrow afternoon to join a long line of travelers heading home for Thanksgiving. (I have my fingers crossed that I'll beat some the holiday travel rush by leaving a day early!) Will you be doing any traveling over the Thanksgiving holiday? Where are you headed?

To help you and the kids mentally prepare for hitting the road (or the airport, as the case may be), check out some of our books involving travel or visiting a new place:

Katie Woo is so excited to spend the night at her grandparents' house. But once she gets there, she feels a little nervous.

Zoom! Juan and Anna are flying to Mexico to visit their grandma. From the airport to the clouds, Juan and Anna experience what it's like to fly.

Three Claws is visiting his friend Snorp in the city. Snorp is so nervous. He always gets hurt when he plays with Three Claws. Maybe if they play it safe and stay inside, no one will get hurt.

The Cortez family is going on vacation! They're headed to Florida for a family reunion. But when they arrive, Claudia doesn't get to relax - she's stuck babysitting her younger cousins. She has to miss out on all the fun, and can't hang out with her new friends. What kind of vacation is that?

On a class trip to New Orleans, Catalina Duran and her friends find themselves in the middle of a voodoo mystery!

Friday, November 18, 2011

November is Picture Book Month . . . what's your favorite?

You've probably heard that November is Picture Book Month. For many of us, our earliest reading memories involved a favorite story read by a parent, grandparent, or school librarian. Books that became favorites were requested over and over, until the grown-ups in our lives finally memorized the words.

A few of the fiction staff members shared their favorite childhood picture books with me recently:

For me, it was definitely Lon Po Po by Ed Young. My mom said it scared me every time she read it, yet I kept asking her to read it to me again and again and again. It’s kind of fun to think back on, because to this day I love wolves and comics (and this book was one of the few picture books to have sequential art in the form of panels). Second place has to be The Story of Ferdinand. I’ll never forget the way Ferdinand looked back at me with his sad, timid face. For whatever reason, it captivated me as a kid.
Sean Tulien, Editor

Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson. When Harold had nowhere to walk, he draws his own path. That notion has always resonated with me because it challenges the notion of fate and empowers us to determine own destiny—that as individuals we have ability to “draw” an idyllic world to own liking. It balances on an utopian dream and a humbling reality.
Russell Griesmer, Graphic Designer

My favorite book as a child was If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. I’m not sure why I loved it so much, but I do love cookies and milk and predictability, so it might just be that simple. I’m happy to say that I now get to read this book (and many others from the series) to my children and I still love it, which is the mark of a true classic.
Christianne Jones, Managing Editor

My favorite picture book from childhood is There’s a Wocket in My Pocket by Dr. Seuss. The cover and binding on my childhood copy looks like it predates the Civil War, just to give you an idea how much I read this book. Also, this story made me feel less nervous about monsters in the house, since according to Dr. Seuss they’re mostly just lazy furry things who sit around on your couch and eat bon-bons all day. “But that BOFA on the SOFA...”
Bob Lentz, Art Director

Mine was (and is) Goodnight, Moon. I loved all the details—the tiny mittens, the little mouse, the lit fire, the bowl full of mush. And now I love reading it to my son, who at one point a year or so ago asked for it so often that I had it memorized. It’s such a lovely book.
Beth Brezenoff, Managing Editor

My dad read a ton of picture books to me growing up, most of which were a bit fractured or skewed, but since the holidays are coming up, I’ll pick Berkeley Breathed’s A Wish for Wings that Work: An Opus Christmas Story as one of my favorites. It’s so adorable and funny, about a penguin who makes a Christmas wish that he could fly and ends up saving Santa’s sleigh. I could probably recite the whole thing from memory at any given time. My family still reads this book every Christmas!
Alison Deering, Editor

My favorite picture book from my childhood was titled Cheese, Peas, and Chocolate Pudding. Our school librarian often read it to us, and I loved the stubborn boy who would only eat . . . you guessed it: cheese, peas, and chocolate pudding. But the best part is its funny ending. It is out of print now, but when I need to hear it, I can watch a video of a stranger reading it on YouTube.
Julie Gassman, Editor

What about you? What is your favorite picture book? Do you love any of the same ones from our list? And has anyone out there ever read Cheese, Peas, and Chocolate Pudding?!

Friday, November 11, 2011

What day is it? Oh yeah...

Is today really a lucky day? Are you placing bets and buying lottery cards like a crazy person? I've heard so much hype about today that I've become completely immune to all the hoopla. According to David's Bridal wedding store, 57,000 weddings will take place today. Maybe Kim Kardashian should have waited until today to get married. It might have been luckier for her! I digress...

Anyway, what do you think about today? Are you all about the spirit of 11-11-11 or could you care less?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

What if you were eaten by a book?

At Capstone Fiction, it is always fun to hear how librarians and teachers use our books. Most recently, we learned about a special project featuring Michael Dahl's Library of Doom series at Thomas Deacon Academy in Peterborough, England.

The school's librarian selected the series to be the focus of a regular DEAR (Drop Everything and Read) time at the school. The school has a DEAR Homepage, on which the librarian shares information about the various themes she chooses. To get the students excited about the Library of Doom series, the librarian included some great links on the DEAR author site, including Michael's website, a book trailer for the Library of Doom, and an interview with Michael.

A highlight of the project was a contest that asked students to consider what it would be like to be eaten by a book. They were asked to write a letter to the librarian telling her which book ate them. What did it look like inside? What did it smell like? And so on. The winners received signed books by Michael Dahl.

Hearing about the project made me consider, what would it be like to be eaten by a book? It sounds awful, but if it was a book in a great library, like Thomas Deacon's, maybe it wouldn't be so bad.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Music to our ears...continued

In our latest edition of posts about music to work to, we get a look at the many musical moods of art director Bob Lentz. Who knows why Metallica unlocks his creative blocks? It just does. Read on:

When I’m working on a new design: Personal faves such as Ben Folds, Jason Mraz, Fountains of Wayne, Coldplay, and Foo Fighters.

When I’m stumped creatively: Punk music like MXPX and NoFX; and heavy metal legends such as Iron Maiden, Def Leppard, and Metallica.

When I’m doing production work: 70s and 80s R&B, including Al Green, Lionel Richie, and lots of Motown. A great accompaniment to relaxing, monotonous tasks.

When I’m designing a series with a more epic, cinematic scope: Classic film
scores like Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and E.T. There’s something very inspiring about the works of John Williams, especially, that elevates a book visually from so-so to film-worthy.

Guilty pleasures: Let’s just say that I’ve been busted on two separate occasions for listening to Hall & Oates and Olivia Newton-John, respectively.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

An AASL Highlight

Last week, the 2011 AASL conference (American Association of School Librarians) came to Minneapolis.What a crazy week it was! I worked at the Capstone booth the last day of the show during our book giveaway, and oh my, librarians really love our books — the line was roughly 150 people long!

But the real highlight for me was meeting the author of the Kylie Jean books, Marci Peschke. She came up from Texas for the show, and it's always so fun to meet the author of a series that I've worked on. I love to hear about their process and find out more details about the books (like there really is a Kylie Jean and a dog named Ugly Brother!). Check out Marci's jean jacket and pink cowboy boots. Aren't they fabulous?! So nice to meet you, Marci!