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Friday, June 29, 2012

Foodie Friday: Confession—I'm a selfish foodie.

When someone takes my food, I get crabby!
I've had the pleasure of writing a number of picture books for Little Boost, a series that addresses typical preschool challenges in sweet and humorous ways. If you read the ones I wrote, you might notice something. My characters tend to get mad over food, even though food has nothing to do with the theme of the books!

So why does food anger keep showing up in my books? Well, the answer is somewhat personal: I hate to share delicious things. Those preschool emotions come from my real life experiences of being a selfish foodie. Consider the following:

  • If someone takes the last brownie, it puts me in a funk. I just can't shake my sadness. So it's no wonder that Roger from Crabby Pants gets mad when his brother eats the last frozen waffle, leaving him with cereal. 

  • I once returned a cookie at Starbucks because it did not have an adequate number of peanut butter candy chunks. So is it any wonder that You Get What You Get's Melvin gets annoyed if his sister's cookie has more chocolate chips than his cookie?

  • Like the bear in Eleanore Won't Share, I'm good at sharing things I don't really like. Eleanore shares the black jelly beans. I share the green ones. And when my kids want a piece of fruit, I push the apples so the nectarines will be there for me later. 

Looking at these facts, I can see that this is not a flattering situation. Deep down, I know that food tastes better when it is shared with those you love. And lets be honest, like most women my age, I need to consider portion control — sharing would help with that. But until I'm ready to change my selfish ways, I think I will bake more brownies and buy more nectarines. As Roger and Melvin and Eleanore know, doing the right thing is hard sometimes. It takes time. But I suppose it's worth it in the end.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Wednesday Comix!

It’s a steamy summer day here in the Twin Cities, and I’m daydreamin’ of being at any one of our 10,000 lakes. And then I’m dreamin’ about being underwater. And then...of being AQUAMAN. Well, the closest this landlubber will probably get to the KING OF THE SEAS is the Aquaman Shrine. Never been? Then heed this steamy day SHOUT-OUT and surf on over to this all-things-Aqua site. There you’ll find book reviews, interviews, and discussions about everything AQUAMAN.

Including reviews of Capstone’s AQUAMAN titles...!

(Black Manta and the Octopus Army, Heroes of the High Seas, Deep-Sea Duel, and Deep Water Disaster)

And excellent interviews with two of my favorite authors, J.E. Bright and Laurie S. Sutton!!

(Don’t get this reference...? Then you NEED to visit the Aquaman Shrine!)

Friday, June 22, 2012

Ask a Capstoner

Head over to Capstone Connect today and ask us anything!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Wednesday Comix! SDCC Exclusives!

21 days... Can you believe it?! Exactly three weeks from today, the doors of the San Diego Convention Center will open to 130,000+ GEEKS for the all-things-comics, all-things-movies, all-things-television, all-things-toys, all-things-gaming, all-things-cosplay festival that is COMIC-CON INTERNATIONAL! Meanwhile, however, the SDCC sneak peeks are hittin’ the blogosphere in full force. Just this morning, I spotted my first MUST-HAVE exclusive of the show... 

For the first time ever, the kid-friendly heroes from Art Baltazar & Franco’s Eisner Award-winning comic come to near-life. Not only are these five figurines AMAZINGLY cute, but their bus-shaped box features a few of our favorite furry friends...the DC SUPER-PETS!

And speaking of the SUPER-PETS, visit the Capstone Booth at SDCC (#1316) and pick from our litter of DC SUPER-PETS books. $5 each! Then fetch a limited-edition DC SUPER-PETS poster (below) and enter to win the SDCC exclusive set of all 24 titles! And don’t forget our kid-friendly comics either, featuring the FCBD breakout characters ROCKHEAD & ZINC ALLOY! Download these 128-page graphic novels for 99 cents each (!) during the show.


More SDCC updates to come...

Monday, June 18, 2012

BEA: Book Lovers' Paradise

During the first week of June, BEA shook New York’s Javitz Convention Center with all its splendor. Publishers from all over the world visited the city to showcase their wonderful material.

I’m a bookmaker at heart. Every time BEA comes around, I’m reading blogs and researching, extremely excited to see what will be showcased by authors and publishing houses. To those that possess my book addiction for both creating and buying books, BEA is the closest thing to book paradise you'll ever get.

I’m glad to report that it was an amazing, crowded show. And even though digital was a big part of the show, traditionally printed books were handed out as much as other years, which made book geeks like me extremely happy.

Our booth was super busy with lots buzz around the release of our new imprint, Capstone Young Readers. We had author signings and wonderful giveaways, like the bags everyone begged for every five minutes. We couldn’t keep up with the popular demand!

Check out the Capstone team that attended the show, posing just for you blog readers! I hope you had as wonderful of a time at the show as we did!

Cheers for another inspiring Book Expo!

Kay Fraser, Art Director

Friday, June 15, 2012

Art Director Bob Lentz: Always ready to spread his love of food.
I love food.

I love to eat it, cook it, smell it, look at it, dream about it, draw it. I’ve probably even worn food after a vigorous workout at the local BBQ joint. And my coworkers will probably be the first to tell you that I love to talk food more than anything.

So, it’s no surprise that I’ve devoted an entire day each week to food
Thursday. Since I arrived at this office some four years ago, I’ve made it my personal mission to spread an eternal message of food and fellowship that I’ve affectionately dubbed “Thursday Lunch.” On this one day each week, I encourage everyone to leave their desk, their work, and ultimately their office in pursuit of great food. Hungry for a delicious, handmade burger? Thursday Lunch. Craving a fresh, locally-sourced salad? Thursday Lunch. Haven’t been to Taco Bell in a while? Boom! Thursday Lunch.

The thrill of it all!
But people often ask me: “Why Thursday? Why not Friday, or even Monday?” My first instinct is to reply with a “why not?” But if I had to explain it further, I’d give the following three answers:

  1. “Thursday” derives its name from “Thor’s Day,” after the mighty Norse god of thunder. Besides their penchant for violence and pillaging, Vikings were known to partake in some merry feasting. One can imagine Thor himself tearing into an enormous hambone like it was a meat popsicle. Mmm...meat popsicle.
  2. Thursday night television introduced viewers to some of the great foodies of popular culture. “Friends” gave us Monica Geller, a gourmet chef. Frasier Crane was an epicure, albeit a pretentious one. And everyone knows that Cliff Huxtable couldn’t keep his fingers out of whatever dish Claire was preparing on “The Cosby Show.”
  3. You may or may not recognize the fourth Thursday of November as Thanksgiving Day, the greatest Thursday Lunch of them all. ‘Nuff said.

In the end, Thursday Lunch is more than just “going out to eat” or “getting away from the office.” I want to believe that it lives within each of us here at Capstone Fiction, much like The Force. It calls to us. It flows through us; helps to bind us as a team. It gives us something to look forward to. It gives us hope.

-Bob Lentz, Art Director

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Wednesday Comix! BEA & DC

Last week, Michael Dahl, Capstone Editorial Director, traveled to BookExpo America, the largest book trade show in the United States. Although BEA isn’t exactly Comic Con, the show did highlight some buzzworthy graphic novels, including the Graphic Novel Reporter’s Hottest Graphic Novels of 2012! Be sure to check them out.

A special congrats to our friends at DC Comics, who received two Honorable Mentions for two AMAZING Batman titles! Michael, for one, couldn’t be prouder. Below, this lifetime comic book GEEK recalls his BEA/DC connections from this past week...

MICHAEL DAHL: You’d think that after spending days surrounded by comics and graphic novels that I would have gotten my fill. Nope. Even though I visited the comic books row at BEA twice during the conference, and helped out at the Art Baltazar signing at the Capstone booth, I still wanted more.

Here I am, standing between two giants of the comic biz: Art B. and Franco.
These guys are not only two of the most talented and prolific creators working today
(check out their stunning new series Superman Family Adventures!),
but they are funny, friendly, and have a genuine passion for kids as well as comics. 
So later in the week, I visited my friend Steve Korte at DC headquarters in Manhattan. Steve had been the group editor for DC’s licensed publishing, and now he is their archivist/librarian. His new office is on the opposite side of the building, he has a great view of Broadway, and he is alone – with thousands of original comics and illustrations dating back to the 30s. I was able to hold a copy of the original Action Comic with the first Superman story. One copy sold recently for more than $1 million dollars. I also saw the first Detective Comic (where DC got its name), and the first Wonder Woman comic.

Steve sitting next to a replica of the famous Action Comic.
I'm holding one of the very first Superboy comics.
Steve knows I love Superboy and Jimmy Olsen stories, as well as The Legion of Super-Heroes and Wonder Woman from the 60s, so he let me peruse dozens and dozens of the originals. What a strange feeling! I would pull out a comic and was immediately transported back decades to when I first read it. In some cases, I could remember where I was when I read the story: in my yard lying in the grass during summer vacation, sitting in the backseat of the family car, or in my bedroom, totally immersed in Krypton or Paradise Island or Earth in the 30th century. For me, comics were not simply escapist literature. They changed the way I looked at life. The codes of honor and self-sacrifice and courage of those young heroes became goals for my younger self. As an 11-year old, I dreamed about one day joining the Legion of Super-Heroes. I might not ever be able to fly, or turn invisible, or bend steel with my bare hands, but I could be brave and honest and stick up for people in trouble. Now, as my love of comics has led me to meet and work with so many talented and inspiring people, I think, maybe I did join after all.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Troll Hunters!

Our very own Michael Dahl has truly outdone himself this time. His epic fantasy tale involving trolls, teens, and the stars isn’t set to run wild until August 1st, but I thought I’d give our blog’s readers a sneak peek at what’s to come.

First off, we’ve already received a handful of glowing reviews, including this testimonial from School Library JournalKirkus Reviews cited the story's “Compulsive plot, non-stop action … fast-moving narrative [with] lots of suspense ... A page-turner.”

Another review compared the book to a younger version of the His Dark Materials series of books by Phillip Pullman (The Golden Compass, The Amber Spyglass, etc.). Good company, to say the least.

Last but definitely not least, nearly every review thus far has mentioned the amazing illustrations done by Ben Kovar. But don’t take my word for it, or theirs—judge for yourselves.

Make sure to mark August 1st on your calendars! In the meantime, keep your eyes on the skies!
Sean Tulien, Editor

Friday, June 8, 2012

Foodie Friday: Three Cheers for Food!

Welcome back to our second edition of Foodie Friday. A few months ago, I came across an article with recipes that were inspired by The Hunger Games, and I thought it was awesome. I could picture myself on my patio eating the goat cheese appetizer while reading about Prim and her pet. The idea combining two of my favorite things — food and books — was absolute brilliance. And I thought it would be figure out my own combinations.

The latest editions to our Team Cheer series will be coming out this summer — with a whole new look for the cover! Focused on the lives of four cheerleaders, the books often give glimpses of the girls favorite foods — both that rich in nutrition and that rich in sugar! So to celebrate the set, the cheerleaders, and of course, food, here are a few recipes inspired by the new books.

Faith is heading to her first school dance, and she better not forget to eat something before she goes! Here is a light, but filling sandwich, perfect for a quick bit before she goes.

Faith's Chicken Pita Sandwich
(serves one)

1 whole wheat pita bread
1-2 T plain Greek yogurt
3 oz. sliced cooked chicken breast
5 cucumber slices
2 tomato slices
5 banana pepper slices
1-2 T feta cheese crumbles

Spread 1 tablespoon Greek yogurt on the pita bread. Top with chicken, cucumbers, tomatoes, banana peppers, and feta cheese. If you would like, add another tablespoon of yogurt on top.

Lissa injures her tailbone and is stuck in bed for a few days. Her mom feeds her chicken noodle soup, but since Lissa really likes her food spicy, these poppers might be the faster way to recovery.

Lissa's Pepper Poppers
(Serves 4 to 6)

4 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
6 large jalapenos, halved and seeded
4 strips of bacon, cut in thirds

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a small bowl, mix the cream cheese and cheddar cheese. Fill each jalapeno half with about a tablespoon of the cheese mixture. Wrap a piece of bacon around each pepper and secure with a tooth pick. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the bacon is browned.

Sweet-toothed Gaby is feeling down about budget problems that are threatening to cut the cheer program at Greenview. Maybe one of her famous smoothies would cheer her up!

Gaby's Famous Smoothie (some would call it a shake)
(Serves 1-2)

1 cup vanilla ice cream
1 cup milk
1 cup crumbled chocolate chip cookies
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
1 chocolate chip cookie

Blend the ice cream, milk, crumbled cookies and chocolate chips. Pour into a glass and top with cookie.

Brooke is facing a huge decision: Does she head off to a new private high school or follow her friends to Greenview High? The best way to make any decision is with a full belly! Brooke's family specializes in Italian dishes like this one.

Brooke's Stuffed Shells
(Serves approximately 8)

20-30 large pasta shells
1 can spaghetti sauce
16 oz. cottage cheese
8 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 c. parmesan cheese
1 T. parsley flakes
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook shells according to package. Empty sauce into large 9 x 13 pan. Combine all the cheeses, the eggs, and parsley in a large boal. Once shells are cooked, stuff them wiht the cheese mixture. Bake for 30 minutes.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Wednesday Comix!

Get ready, folks... For all you fanboys, fangirls, and fanfortysomethings out there, Wednesday is our new Friday. Starting today, and continuing throughout this blockbuster of a summer, Library Bound is going mid-week GEEK!! That’s right. As comic book characters (like the Avengers, the Dark Knight, and Spider-Man) break box-office records, we’ll break down our own season of superheroes!

Event updates (San Diego Comic Con!)
Sneak previews
Creator interviews
Insider insight
Featured reviews

And, of course, CAPSTONE COMIX!! First up... A Quick Comic featuring the Incredible Rockhead, the stone-faced hero of our newest 128-page graphic novel, The Incredible Rockhead: Rock, Paper, Scissorlegz! 

More on everything in the weeks to come, but for now...TGIW!

Donnie Lemke, Managing Editor

Monday, June 4, 2012

This summer, dream big and read!

Summer is a magical time when you’re a kid. I have fond memories of riding my bike to the pool each day, swimming for two hours, then stopping at the library to choose a book or two. The rest of the day was spent reading, so that I could do it all again the next day. The library summer reading program was the best: I earned prizes for something I loved to do.

This year the Collaborative Summer Library Program has selected the theme of Dream Big: Read! for its public-library members. The CSLP website has a bibliography of books that fit this theme of dreaming, sleeping, and things that happen in the night. Be sure to check it out. But in the meantime, here are a few Capstone titles that fill the bill.

For the young listener and beginning reader:

Nap Time for Kitty by Michael Dahl

The Scary Night by Anastasia Suen

The Noisy Night by Gwendolyn Hooks

For early readers:

Katie Goes Camping by Fran Manushkin

A Nervous Night by Fran Manushkin

The Kylie Jean series by Marci Peschke ~ no one dreams bigger than Kylie Jean!

For graphic novel lovers:

A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a graphic retelling of William Shakespeare's play

For those who want a little fright in their night:

The Midnight Witches by Roberto Pavanello

Full Moon Horror by Jason Strange

Skyfall: Volume 1 of Troll Hunters by Michael Dahl

Friday, June 1, 2012

Happy National Doughnut Day!

There is only one thing people in our office love more than books, and that is doughnuts. Although we certainly never need an excuse to go buy doughnuts, especially on a Friday, it's definitely nice to have one. Luckily, today is National Doughnut Day! There's literally no better excuse than that. And while we weren't able to find any free doughnut giveaways near our office, my fellow editor Beth and I did manage pick out this deliciously impressive selection at a nearby bakery. We actually had two of these full boxes when we first returned, but doughnuts move fast around this place. 

It's obviously no secret that our office revolves largely around food (particularly of the Dairy-Queen variety), so in that spirit, we'll be starting a new tradition on the SAB blog: Foodie Fridays! Sadly, we can't have National Doughnut Day every Friday (trust me, I've looked into it), but I can promise a new, exciting, food-related post to look forward to next Friday. Is your mouth watering already? Have a doughnut to tide you over.