Thursday, June 30, 2016

Patriotic Reading for the 4th of July

With Independence Day coming up this weekend, we're feeling patriotic here at Peachtree. Instead of setting off fireworks (no need to scare our cats unnecessarily), we decided to do a little patriotic reading. From Benjamin Franklin to World War II, our reading list is American through and through. For your holiday weekend reading, check out these great children's books!

The Amazing Mr. Franklin
by Ruth Ashby
Everyone knows Benjamin Franklin was an important statesman, inventor, and a signer of the Declaration of Independence. But did you know he started the first library in America for the public good? 


Yours for Justice, Ida B. Wells
by Philip Dray
illustrated by Stephen Alcorn
How could one headstrong young woman help free America from the “shadow of lawlessness” that loomed over the country? (Also check out the available Teacher's Guide).


Marching with Aunt Susan
by Claire Rudolf Murphy
illustrated by Stacey Schuett
Based on the experiences of a real girl, this inspiring story offers a child's eye view of the fight for women's right to vote. (Also check out the book trailer, and available Teacher's Guide).


Mind Your Manners, Alice Roosevelt
by Leslie Kimmelman
illustrated by Adam Gustavson
The 26th president of the United States was a strong and clever man who could handle almost everything—except his eldest child, Alice.


The Everlasting Now
by Sara Harrell Banks
In 1937, the Depression is in full force, Joe Louis is the new heavyweight champion of the world, and Champion Luckey has just arrived in Snow Hill, Alabama. James Longstreet Sayre's life will never be the same.


The Coastwatcher
by Elise Weston
Day after day, Hugh looks for signs of German spies. It seems like a harmless way to spend time...at least at first.

Look for these titles and more at your local library, indie bookstore, or Barnes & Noble!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

New Fall 2016 Books

The summer is heating up, and we are getting ready for a new season of wonderful children's books. Peachtree is so excited to announce our Fall 2016 list, with some familiar faces as well as brand new characters and adventures. Enjoy!


New Board Books

Stanley's Colors, Written and Illustrated by William Bee
Everyone's favorite hardworking hamster, Stanley, is back starring in a new board book series for Stanley's youngest fans! Stanley and his friend Little Woo learn about colors and vehicles as they travel around.


Stanley's Shapes, Written and Illustrated by William Bee
Stanley's board book series continues as Stanley and Little Woo go on vacation. Help them spot circles, squares, triangles and more!

New Picture Books


Seven and a Half Tons of Steel, Written by Janet Nolan and Illustrated by Thomas Gonzalez
This nonfiction picture book tells the powerful story of how seven and a half tons of steel, which had once been a beam in the World Trade Center, became a navy ship's bow, and highlights the remarkable work that came from the devastating events of 9/11.



Never Follow a Dinosaur, Written and Illustrated by Alex Latimer
Sally and Joe are convinced that the mysterious footprints they have discovered must belong to a dinosaur. Could they be right?
 Join them in this clever, cumulative caper as they follow the clues to find out!


Madeline Finn and the Library Dog, Written and Illustrated by Lisa Papp 
Madeline Finn does NOT like to read. Fortunately, she meets Bonnie, a library dog. Reading out loud to Bonnie isn't so bad. When Madeline Finn gets stuck, Bonnie doesn't mind. As it turns out, it's fun to read when you're not afraid of making mistakes.


About Marine Mammals, Written by Cathryn Sill and Illustrated by John Sill
In this new addition to the acclaimed About... series, Cathryn and John Sill provide a first look at the world of marine mammalsfrom the small, playful sea otter to the gigantic blue whale.




New Middle Reader


Charlie Bumpers vs. the Puny Pirates, Written by Bill Harley and Illustrated by Adam Gustavson
In the fifth addition to the wonderful Charlie Bumpers series, Charlie and his best friends Tommy and Hector can't wait to try out the stupific offensive soccer plays they've perfected. But their high hopes are crushed when they see their inexperienced teammates and find out that their new coach isn't interested in stupific plays.


For more on these new books, check out the full Fall 2016 Catalog. Stay tuned this fall for author interviews, giveaways, and much more.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Part 3: Children's Books Then and Now

For the past few weeks we've been delving into the history and evolution of books for children through the years. The emergence of children’s literature as a genre began in the early 1700s with books that taught manners and morals, as we discussed in our first post. In the late 1800s, books like Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland started to make children’s books look more like books for children rather than lessons on proper behavior. In our last post, we got into the development of children’s books during the first half of the 20th century; advancing technology, the rise of Modernism, and the World Wars all had their effect on the form and content of children’s books. Today the conversation moves through the second half of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st.

It would be impossible to talk about the last 60 years of children’s books without considering such historical moments as the Civil Rights Movement, the rise of young adult fiction, and the digital era of the internet, video games, and e-books. So, we begin in 1950s America during a movement that continues to have an impact on our society and our children’s books today.

The Civil Rights Movement

On first considering the effect of the Civil Rights Movement on children’s books, we decided to take a look at the children’s books published during the height of the movement’s activity. Wonderful books like Harold and the Purple Crayon (1955), The Cat in the Hat (1957), Where the Wild Things Are (1963), and The Very Hungry Caterpillar (1968) were all published and well received during the 1950s and 1960s; however, the expansive list of books about Civil Rights and Civil Rights heroes were actually written more recently in the last couple of decades.

The Civil Rights Movement led to conversations about race, discrimination, and equality in the U.S. Although that conversation did not widely contribute immediate results in the promotion of diverse authors and children’s book characters, it did create a space for stories to address topic of race and discrimination—like To Kill a Mockingbird (1960) and The Empty Schoolhouse (1965)—as well as represent the diversity seen in everyday society—like The Snowy Day (1962), which depicts "the first non-caricatured African-Americans to be featured in a major children's book." However, even in 2013, in a study conducted by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center at the University of Wisconsin, from 3,200 children’s books, only 93 were about black characters. Although the conversation started in the ‘50s and ‘60s, we have seen a fairly recent surge of awareness surrounding the need for diversity within children’s books, whether it be authors, characters, or subject matter.

In particular, 2014 saw the We Need Diverse Books movement explode in all areas of the children’s book industry. At Peachtree, we’ve loved including such books as We’ve Got a Job and Watch out for Flying Kids to our catalog to promote cultural and religious tolerance. The hopes and ideals of the Civil Rights Movement made an immediate impact on our culture, but today in the children’s book publishing industry we are still experiencing the ripples started by those who took up the cause against racism and discrimination. We love being a part of the push to see diverse characters and authors represented to children in the U.S. who should be able to find a book that relates to their life and surroundings, whatever those may be.

The Rise of Young Adult Fiction

In the same decade of Civil Rights and increasing awareness for the need for equality throughout the U.S., a new term had been coined to define an entirely new subset within American society. They were “teenagers.” After World War II, an economic boom accompanied by compulsory education laws led to this age group staying in school and having more leisure time rather than working jobs. They were therefore not recognized as adults, but they were certainly not children. Of course, just like children’s literature, until teenagers were socially defined, there was no set category of books (or entertainment in general) for or about them.

This began to change, beginning with The Seventeenth Summer (1942) and continuing with books like The Pigman (1968) and The Chocolate War (1974). As might seem obvious, most of the books published mainly from 1950 to 2016 that were meant for adolescents are about transition and transformation. They are coming of age stories. Within young adult fiction, there have been two fairly distinct trends, especially recently.

The first was a burst of fantastical and futuristic literature chock full of vampires and dystopian societies. The second trend featured tragically realistic stories set in modern, often socially unstable surroundings. Books by Rainbow Rowell and John Greene feature characters that very often fail at their hypothetical “quests.” Within both trends, however, characters face transitions (growing up, moving away, starting a new school, dating a new person) and social issues (domestic abuse, alcohol and drug abuse, body image), like in J.J. Johnson's Believarexic. No matter the surroundings, whether a futuristic city or a modern ghetto, YA fiction addresses all the internal doubts and decisions that comes with being a teenager. YA has also increasingly become a platform to address social issues and their consequences.

Young adult fiction as its own category was just the beginning for children’s literature. The genre as a whole continues to be parsed into increasingly specific age and grade group increments. Children’s books are becoming more targeted as authors, editors, and publishers create and promote books with social and educational topics best suited to certain age groups.

The Digital Era

The development and changes surrounding the content of children’s literature was to be expected. Like every genre, history and society would have its effect, and the books and stories produced would reflect those effects. However, what no one could have seen coming was an era of unbelievable technological advances that introduced fundamental changes into the fabric of everyday life for everyone, including child readers.

Storytelling was now available not only through an adult storyteller or a book, but children began to have access to interactive and beautiful stories through movies, computer games, and video games. This of course came with a whole slew of new challenges and opportunities in the world of children’s books. As children interacted with more and more possibilities for entertainment and education, maintaining interest in children’s books became more difficult. On the other hand, technology is introducing the world of children’s books to possibilities never available before. With interactive e-books that help reluctant readers or include moving pictures, children are actually coming in contact with stories and the written word probably more than any other generation. As publishers, teachers or librarians, we all have access to the many new mediums available to teach children and the opportunity to continue telling beautifully crafted stories to the next generation.

No matter the medium, stories can teach empathy, tolerance, curiosity, humor, history, science, and math. Although we have seen the purpose of children’s books change through our history—from didactic moral stories to simple entertainment—educating children about their world and promoting a love of literature has always been a number one priority. It is a priority that should be pursued through all the changes that will inevitably come in the next century of children’s literature.

It’s the end of our conversation for now, and we’ve loved taking a look at how children’s books have changed through the years. If you’re interested in looking more into the effect of the Civil Rights Movement, the rise of YA, and the digital era on children’s literature check out these additional resources.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Celebrating Father's Day

Happy Father’s Day!

We would like to say thank you to all of the incredible fathers and father figures out there who have made a difference in so many lives. If you're looking for some Father's Day books to celebrate, we've got a list of some great titles featuring fathers, dads, and daddies.

Flying
by Kevin Luthardt
Papa, why can’t I fly? a boy asks his father. His father’s simple answer leads to another question, and then another, until the father playfully demonstrates to his son all the things the child can do. In the end the boy discovers that with a little imagination and some help from his dad he can fly—even without wings!


Dad, Jackie, and Me
by Myron Uhlberg
It is the summer of 1947 and Jackie Robinson has just become the new first baseman for the Brooklyn Dodgers—and the first black player in major league baseball. A young boy shares his love of the game with his deaf father by listening to the games on the radio and then using sign language to tell his father about the games. Finally, his father has a big surprise for him: they are going to Ebbets Field to watch Jackie play!


That's Not How You Play Soccer, Daddy
by Sherry Shahan
After a tough practice, Mikey's dad and dog Socks take him to lunch at the park, but super-competitive Mikey only wants to practice for the big game. Daddy offers to help, but to Mikey's dismay Daddy doesn't put in much of an athletic effort. He keeps bending the rules and telling his impatient son to "just have fun." After an irresistible ticklefest, however, Mikey finally comes around to Daddy's way of thinking—and joins him and Socks in the worst, best soccer game ever!


Are the Dinosaurs Dead, Dad?
by Julie Middleton
Dad takes Dave to the museum. As they walk through the dinosaur exhibit, Dave tries to get his father's attention. Why is this one grinning and why is that one interested in Dave's lunch? But Dad is too busy telling Dave all there is to know about these amazing creatures to notice that they've sprung to life! Dave gets the feeling that Dad has one hugely important fact very, very wrong...


Pennies in a Jar
by Dori Chaconas
A young boy promises to be brave when his father goes off to fight in World War II. But it isn't always easy, especially now that he and his mother are alone and the air is punctuated by sirens. Then one day a stranger with a small pony named Freedom offers the boy an opportunity to create the perfect birthday present for his father. But that means digging down deep inside to find a new and special kind of courage...


Hey! Daddy!
by Mary Batten
In the vast animal kingdom, mommies are often solely responsible for the birth and upbringing of their young. But daddies can, and do, help in a variety of surprising ways. Among the featured fathers are the blue jay, the marmoset and the beaver, who share parenting responsibilities with the mother, as well as several animal daddies (such as the seahorse, the penguin, and Darwin's frog) that perform more extraordinary roles. Finally, the human father is singled out for devoting the most time of all to raising his young until they can survive on their own.


Friday, June 3, 2016

Part 2: Children's Books Then and Now

Starting with the evolution of thought surrounding children and their development in the early 1700s, in our last post we saw nearly two centuries of children’s books that focused on impressing morals, lessons, and proper ideals on children. In the late 1800s, however, the publication of books like Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865), Treasure Island (1883), and Jungle Book (1894) started to change the genre of children’s books. We're continuing our exploration into the fascinating progression of the genre that defines our daily life here at Peachtree.
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
original cover art


Unlike the two centuries preceding it, the 20th century was a time of abundance and a variety for children’s books. From The Wonderful Wizard of Oz published in 1900, to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone published in 1997, the 20th century witnessed an explosion of wonderful stories and characters all specifically geared to kids. Of course, the abundance of children’s books, especially illustrated children’s books, could not have been possible without the literacy and technology advances of the first decade of the 1900s.



Literacy and Technology in the 20th Century

Today we are used to the children’s section of a bookstore being colorful and bursting with fun figures and images, but widespread illustrated books were not accessible to most children until the beginning of the 20th century. In “Picturing Childhood: the Evolution of the Illustrated Children’s Book” Cynthia Burlingham remarks on the development of four-color processing and photography in creating illustrated children’s books. With the advancing technology surrounding printing and publishing, these colored picture books meant for children became less expensive to produce, and therefore less expensive to purchase.

Additionally, literacy in developed countries was on the rise at the turn of the 20th century. Specifically in the U.S., literacy rates increased by 13.3% from 1870 to 1910. More children were attending schools at younger ages, so the increasing availability children’s books was matching the demand from those families and children who had the ability and context to read.

The Effect of Modernism


Technology and literacy were advancing, and more kids wanted books, but the beginning of the 20th century also introduced a change in the content of children’s books. In her lectures entitled The Modern Scholar: Children’s Literature Between the Covers (2011), Professor Kimberly Reynolds discusses both the presence and rejection of Modernism in children’s literature during the early 1900s. At its simplest, Modernism represented a cultural and societal movement to break from classical or traditional practices. It’s interesting to note that the books that are perhaps best remembered from this time period are those that were posing a rejection of Modernism.

The Tale of Peter Rabbit
original cover art

The settings behind the most popular stories of this time like The Tale of Peter Rabbit (1902), The Wind in the Willows (1908), Swallows and Amazons (1930), and Winnie-the-Pooh (1926) are peaceful countryside scenes. Even in The Wind in the Willows when a car enters the story, it is noisy and destructive. Although Modernism was affecting art, literature, and culture in general, children’s stories remained an outlet for many authors to reminisce about older times when country gentlemen were not confined to a desk at a bank or a factory.

These children’s books were also traditionally built stories. Although some Modernistic literary techniques such as an emphasis on identity, stream of consciousness, narrative authority, and the presence of social evils can be found in Winnie-the-Pooh for example, the focus in these stories was more often what would happen next, rather than stylistic structure. With children as their main audience, the authors behind these famous books understandably put more weight on the story or plot, than the possible analysis of literary elements.

The World Wars

Of course, we cannot talk about this period without touching on the effect of the World Wars on the content and focus of children’s books. For example, books specifically for boys carried messages and viewpoints on the consequences and possibilities of wartime. From before World War I to the time after World War II, the messages behind war-focused books shifted and adjusted in step with societal feelings.

J.M. Barrie’s famous character Peter Pan was a type of boy soldier that represented a certain ideal before any real breakout of war. Peter Pan was willing to die young for a noble cause. The romanticized notion of soldiers before the wars focused on the nobility and heroism of the young men who were willing to die for their country. Additionally, G.A. Henty’s stories (The Young Carthaginian (1887), Wulf the Saxon (1894), and Won by the Sword (1899)) consistently featured young soldiers fighting bravely to the end for what often seemed like hopeless causes. Once the wars began, however, writers were more aware of and willing to address the pain and suffering of wartime in books.

J.R.R. Tolkien's illustration of the Shire
In J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, the Shire represented a peaceful, beautiful England. However, the threat of war is imminent, as it appeared in the reality of 1937, the year The Hobbit was published and the year before the start of World War II. War was now seen as a dreaded atrocity rather than an opportunity for heroics. During and after World War II, the purpose behind children’s books shifted yet again to help bring up a generation that could build a better world out of the destruction of the world wars. It was at this time that books began addressing current and important social issues; books became a medium for the younger generation to learn about and be aware of the world around them.

Even within the first half of the 20th century, we can see how much the purpose behind children’s books could change and shift with society. The explosion of production in children’s book publishing during this time made the genre as diverse as adult level books had been for centuries. Children’s books became embedded as a cultural medium that we are seeing advance and grow even today.


We’ve got so many more children’s books to talk about with the end of the 20th and beginning of the 21st century to cover. So, stay tuned for more discussion on the purposes and perspectives of children’s books then and now.


In the meantime, if you're interested in learning more about all the changes in children's literature through the centuries on your own, here are some resources to explore:
  • A Critical History of Children's Literature by Cornelia Meigs, Anne Thaxter Eaton, Elizabeth Nesbit, Ruth Hill Viguers 
  • The Modern Scholar: Children's Literature Between the Covers by Kimberly Reynolds

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Peachtree Spotlight: Matt Gray

It's the last spotlight of the season! This past month we've spent some time introducing all the wonderful people who make up the Peachtree team. If you missed last week, we heard from Nicki Carmack, our Creative Director. 

Today we have Matt Gray in the spotlight. He is our IT and Operations Manager as well as a consistent life saver. 

Tell us about your history with Peachtree.

I started at Peachtree ten and a half years ago as a marketing intern.  About a month into my internship, one of the ladies that worked at the front desk at the time left the company to move back home to be closer to her family.  I was asked to pull double duty: at first by working part time answering phones while spending the rest of my time continuing my internship, and then after my internship ended, I was asked to spend that time helping the sales department with stuff like order entry, invoicing, and trade shows.  Before too long I was moved over to the sales department full time.  Since I had graduated from an engineering school and know my way around computers, I started to be involved in technical projects; at the same time, my work with trade shows got me more and more involved with logistics.  That led me to a bunch of different roles over the years, ranging at times from being an information specialist to a project manager, and even running the warehouse for a bit before ending up in my current role as the IT and Operations Manager.

What are your top three favorite books, any genre?

I’m so glad you asked for three.  I couldn’t pick just two, and four would have been a nightmare, but in no particular order:

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
The Stand by Stephen King
Shogun by James Clavell

If you could be a literary character for a day, who would you be?

It might be a bit of a cop out answer, but Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next.  She’s able to move in and out of any story or book ever written at will, so I could visit all of my favorite books and characters that I wanted.

Who is your hero or role model and why?

I’d have to say my parents.  I’m extremely lucky to have them in my life providing the example and guidance that they have.

What is your favorite thing about working at Peachtree?

I’ve loved reading since as far back as I can remember, and it’s an amazing feeling getting to help bring something you loved so deeply as a kid to today’s children.

In your position, what do you consider to be your secret weapon?

Does restarting a computer count?  ;)

Do you have any big interests or hobbies that you focus on outside of work?

Reading is and always will be the main one, but lately I’ve been trying to improve more hands-on skills like home improvement and cooking.

If, in an alternate reality, you were to have gone a completely different career route, what would you have done?

Believe it or not, I was actually this close to majoring in physics in college.


Feel free to write any questions or comments for Matt below!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Children's Books: Then and Now

Here at Peachtree, we eat, drink, and breathe children's books (many of you may relate to this). If we’re not talking about and working on our latest titles, we’re discussing recent award-winning children’s books, or a title that we all enjoyed in our personal reading. A particularly fun conversation started as a result of a blog post we were writing in honor of children’s book authors and illustrators; everyone was listing favorite childhood books.


With the younger staff, we recognized all the favorites. However, a discussion sprang up when our Senior Editor and Creative Director started explaining that the books they were given in childhood were vastly different than those we publish today (check out Der Struwwelpeter, pictured on the right: a book about bad consequences for bad kids). The product of that conversation inspired an exploration into the purpose and mindset behind children’s literature in former generations, compared to current generations. This is what we found:


Children: The Shift in Thinking

The emergence of children's books began centuries ago when the notion of “childhood” started taking shape.

In An Essay Concerning Human Understanding published in 1690, enlightenment thinker and philosopher John Locke introduced the idea of humans being a “blank slate” at birth. Children were not just miniature adults, as previously understood; instead, with no ideas imprinted in them, children slowly learned and developed thoughts and ideas as they grew.

This theory about humans and human understanding was one of the first stones that started the avalanche of development and change when it came to children, children’s education, and children’s books. Ideas, morals, and manners did not come innately. Children needed to be instructed, and the children’s books of the 18th and 19th centuries reflected that.

What the Grown-ups Thought


Locke's theories about children and learning remained prevalent years later. An article entitled "On Novel Reading," published in The Guardian or Youth’s Religious Instructor in 1820 reflects John Locke’s 150 year-old (at this point) idea: “At this period, the mind as well as the body, is forming, is progressing toward the maturity of adult age; and, in this immature state, is peculiarly susceptible of impressions; and these impressions, whether good or bad, usually last, and have great influence on the future character” (p. 46).

Similarly, in an article entitled “Books for Children” and published in 1828 in The American Annals of Education, we see Locke's theory impressing upon adults the importance, and potential danger, of books on a child's mind. In particular, the article shows how adults worried that a single bad idea or habit in a book could affect children for the rest of their lives, their impressionable brains never being able to recover if an immoral habit took hold.

With the fear of immoral future generations, it makes sense that books given to children were carefully monitored. In particular, the frivolity and non-reality of novels was rejected by many adults because of the possibility that their susceptible children might not to be able to differentiate fact from fiction. Once a novel or children’s book taught a child a certain behavior, it might not be unlearned!

 from A Little Pretty Pocket-Book (1744)
“On Novel Reading” also spells out another danger of children’s books. The article explains that “The great profusion of children’s books protracts the imbecility of childhood. They arrest the understanding, instead of advancing it” (p. 48). Here, the issue is not that their kids would become immoral adults, but that they would not mature into adults at all if given the wrong type of literature to read.

With all the fears and dangers of “childish” or fictitious books, many of the American grown-ups (and adults throughout the world), focused the attention of children’s books to teaching morals, manners, and rules. Books were not meant solely for entertainment; they had a very practical purpose. However, this began to shift at the end of the 19th century.

Children’s Literature as a Genre

Children’s books as a genre really began in the 1700s; A Little Pretty Pocket-Book, written by British publisher John Newbery (after whom the Newbery Medal is named) in 1744, is widely considered the first children’s book. The genre was made up mainly of rhyming stories and fairy tales meant to entertain youth, but they also provided moral lessons. So, children’s books existed as a genre, but the books themselves were not necessarily for children for enjoyment's sake; they were for children to become responsible adults. They were to fill the empty void that was a child’s blank mind and give direction to a non-existent moral compass.

Modern attitudes toward children emerged during the late 19th century when the Victorian middle and upper classes started emphasizing, protecting, and celebrating the sanctity and innocence of a child’s imagination instead of stressing morals. With this new mindset, we began to see a very distinct shift in children’s books, which led to the Golden Age of children's literature.

In her overview of children’s literature entitled “Picturing Childhood,” Cynthia Burlingham gives us a list of genre-changing books—including Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865); Little Women (1868-1869); Treasure Island (1883); Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884); and Jungle Book (1894)—that began to change the themes of morality and manners that dominated children’s books. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, for example, was a very popular fantasy story with no obvious moral. Children’s books began to look more like the books for children we see today.

Children’s books continued to evolve during the century following Kipling’s Jungle Book, and the genre is now far from the didactic fear-inducing lessons that were once the staple. So our next question is about the change in the purpose of children’s books during the 20th century. If they’re not for teaching manners and morals, what do we see as their purpose today? Check out our next conversation on the evolution of children’s books in Part 2!

In the meantime, if you're interested in learning more about all the changes in children's literature through the centuries, here are some resources to explore:

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Peachtree Spotlight: Nicki Carmack

The spotlight continues! We have spent the last several weeks highlighting some of the very talented people who work at Peachtree. In case you missed it, you can check out last week's post from Farah Gehy, our Special Sales Manager and Subsidiary Rights Director. Today we get to hear from Nicki Carmack, our Creative Director. 

Nicki answered some questions so that we could get to know her a little better. Check out her responses. 


Tell us about your history with Peachtree.

I worked as a freelance designer with Peachtree back in the 1990s and then pursued a design/marketing career in the financial industry. However, I returned to Peachtree on a full-time basis in 2012. I think my position is constantly evolving since I have to be aware of ongoing trends and technologies in the creative industry. I also work with a lot of different authors and illustrators each season so that creates new opportunities. Now I’m going to sound old! Next year it will be 30 years since I graduated from art school! Yikes! I first met Peachtree at a local book fair in Atlanta, shortly after moving to the U.S. from England. Since I had just left a publishing job in London, I was excited to find a local publisher.

What are your top three favorite books, any genre?

I’m not sure I can list just three, but probably any historical biography or murder mystery. My favorite all time book is Thérese Raquin by Emile Zola.

If you could be a literary character for a day, who would you be?

Some kind of detective. Probably Sherlock Holmes!

Who is your hero or role model and why?

My parents! They have been together for over 60 years and still enjoy life to the full. They have kept me well grounded too.

What is your favorite thing about working at Peachtree?

I work with such a talented group. It’s a pleasure to brainstorm new ideas and projects, and I feel we all have mutual respect for each other. You can’t ask for more than that.

In your position, what do you consider to be your secret weapon?

Multi tasking and diplomacy! I juggle many, many projects every day and have to stay on track to avoid missing deadlines. I also interact with a lot of artists, and giving constructive criticism and art directionwhilst still respecting the author and editors’ wishescan sometimes take a little diplomacy.

Do you have any big interests or hobbies that you focus on outside of work?

I love to travel! I start planning my next trip before I’ve returned home from my current trip and love to build complicated itineraries and spreadsheets! Vacations are never a time for relaxation!

If, in an alternate reality, you were to have gone a completely different career route, what would you have done?

Definitely something in the fashion industry. During my days in art school I considered being a textile designer before focusing on graphic design. No matter what, I was always destined to pursue a career in creativity.


Feel free to write any questions or comments for Nicki below!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Summer Reading

Everyone is gearing up for summer, andof courseworking out summer reading lists. If you need ideas for good summer reading, we've got some suggestions! For kids and young adults, we have everything from beach life to summer road trips.

Board Books

At the Beach
by Elizabeth Spurr
For very young readers, Elizabeth Spurr and Manelle Oliphant show all the fun of a day at the beach.


Little Rabbit Lost
by Harry Horse
The fun and excitement of an amusement park is brought to life by Harry Horse as Little Rabbit spends the day exploring with his family. 


Picture Books

Camp K-9
 by Mary Ann Rodman
This lighthearted story from Mary Ann Rodman is all about summer, secrets, and fun. Nancy Hayashi's warm illustrations are a comfort throughout this camp life tale. 




Mrs. Armitage, Queen of the Road
by Quentin Blake
For summer road trips, Quentin Blake has just the thing! Join the offbeat Mrs. Armitage in her liberating adventure on the road with new friends. 


The Sound of All Things
by Myron Uhlberg
Enjoy the sights and sounds of Brooklyn and Coney Island through the eyesand earsof a hearing boy and his deaf parents. Myron Uhlberg and Ted Papoulas transport readers to the experience of roller coasters, fireworks, and the beach on a summer day in the 1930's.


Middle Readers

The Somewhat True Adventures of Sammy Shine
by Henry Cole
Join Sammy Shine on an adventure discovering new friends and a whole new world. For all you summer field and forest explorers, Henry Cole has the perfect story. 




Summer on the Moon
by Adrian Fogelin
Summer vacation takes a turn when Socko and his family move away from the neighborhood he knows so well. Fogelin weaves this summer read with family, loyalty, and community.




Some Kind of Magic
by Adrian Fogelin
It's the summer before freshman year of high school for Cass, Jessie, Ben, and Justin. They are way too old to believe in magic, but an old fedora might just change that. 


Young Adult

The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl
by Melissa Keil
Under the hot Australian sun, Alba and her friends are enjoying summer, Christmas, and the end of high school. When a doomsday prophet names their town as the only place that will survive the upcoming Armageddon, Alba's life is thrown into even more chaos as she anticipates the end of her world as she knows it. 


Flash Point
by Sneed B. Collard III
Wildfire season in Montana is threatening Luther's home, his stepfather's livelihood, and the raptors he has come to love. Through the voice of this high school sophomore, Sneed B. Collard III illustrates the difficulty of balancing competing environmental and economic interests.


What are some of your favorite summer reads? Share them with us in the comments!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Peachtree Spotlight: Farah Gehy



We're back at it, spotlighting some of the wonderful people who work here at Peachtree! Last week we heard from our Senior Editor, Vicky Holifield, and today we are excited to introduce our Special Sales Manager and Subsidiary Rights Director, Farah Gehy!

She answered some questions so that everyone could get to know her a little better.


Tell us about your history with Peachtree.

I have been working here almost 6 years, and I can’t believe that this summer will mark 21 years working in the industry. I was planning a move to Atlanta and wanted to stay in publishing, and luckily found Peachtree. I met with our publisher at BEA the year before moving, and as luck would have it, everything lined up and I started at Peachtree shortly after moving to Atlanta from New York.

What are your top three favorite books, any genre?

This is a tough one, as I LOVE to read! I don’t think I can limit it to just 3. Here goes, in no particular order:
        - The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini (or as I like to call him—             God's gift to humanity)
        - The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (I LOVE him!)
        - Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling
        - The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man by James Weldon Johnson
        - Captain Corelli's Mandalin by Louis De Bernieres
        - To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
        - Brother, I'm Dying by Edwidge Danticat
        - Lies: And the Lying Liars Who Tell Them by Al Franken
        - Lord of the Flies by William Golding
        - The Basque History of the World by Mark Kurlansky
        - Between Shades of Gray and Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys
        - Kindred by Octavia Butler
        - The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan
        - A Song of Ice and Fire series (AKA Game of Thrones) by George R.R. Martin
        - Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

If you could be a literary character for a day, who would you be?

This is another hard one. I don’t think I can choose.

Who is your hero or role model and why?

This one is easy. My Mom is my hero. She put herself through nursing school, after her father passed away when she was 16. She always instilled in her daughters the importance of education and self-sufficiency.

What is your favorite thing about working at Peachtree?

I love that I wear many different hats. While it can be overwhelming at times, I love that I’m learning so much about the industry as a whole. I worked in subsidiary rights for 15 years before coming to Peachtree, and it will always be my first love. Although I still handle rights, I’m also handling special sales, international sales and eBooks here. I feel a lot more well-rounded in my knowledge of the industry because of this.

In your position, what do you consider to be your secret weapon?

I don’t know that it’s a secret, but I aim to be fair in all of my dealings. I hope that my reputation over the past 20+ years reflects that.

Do you have any big interests or hobbies that you focus on outside of work?

My hobby, outside of work is… reading! I know, it’s crazy. I’m surrounded by books every day, and I go home and surround myself with more! It’s not unusual to find me up until at least 12:00 reading a book.

If, in an alternate reality, you were to have gone a completely different career route, what would you have done?

Perish the thought! I’ve always worked in the field of words—my very first job in high school was at our local library. If I did not work in publishing, I would hope that I could still work with words, somehow.


Feel free to write any questions or comments for Farah below!