Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Arm Chair BEA... We Have Books for You!

Today has been a BUSY day at BEA. I have more books than I can possibly carry home and my feet hurt so bad they might fall off. Despite this, I have not forgotten you #ArmChairBEA readers! I have FOUR books to give away from our author signings:

  • 14 Cows for America signed by Carmen Agra Deedy
  • Throwing Heat signed by Fred Bowen
  • The Blue House Dog signed by Deborah Blumenthal and Adam Gustavson
  • How to Play Ball Like the Pros signed by Steven Krasner
We'll pick a winner to get this signed set of Peachtree books next week, so leave a comment (including your e-mail so that I can contact you if you win!) and tell us why you want to win. This giveaway will be open until Tuesday, June 1st! Stay tuned for more posts about BEA 2010.

Monday, May 24, 2010

About Raptors... the Birds, Not the Dinosaurs...

I'm not going to lie. When I saw that we were publishing a book called About Raptors: A Guide for Children, I got really excited. You see, I love dinosaurs. Velociraptors in particular. I am well aware of the American Society for Velociraptor Attack Prevention and can't stop laughing at the XKCD webcomic pictured below.

And then it hit me... The raptors in this book were not the ones I was picturing in my head. They were birds. Cue the disappointment. However, I soldiered onward and read the book, coming to the conclusion that raptor birds are nearly as awesome as raptor dinosaurs. So below, I give you my list of:


  1. They are birds of prey  that hunt and eat other animals, just like velociraptors did.
  2. Raptors have hooked beaks for tearing meat, just like the sharp teeth did for the velociraptor.
  3. Both have strong feet with sharp claws, or talons.
  4. Birds can FLY. Some can even capture their prey in the air or snatch food from the water! Take that velociraptor! (Fun Fact: Raptors fly different ways according to the shape of their wings!)
  5. Some raptor birds hunt for and eat animals that are already dead. I don't know if velociraptors did this too, but either way, I think it has that gross factor that would fascinate kids.
  6. Birds create really cool nests. Some are on the ground, others are in trees.  Some are even in holes or on cliff ledges. I'm no expert, but I doubt many velociraptors hung out on cliff ledges.
  7. Raptors live almost everywhere in the world, when velociraptors a) are extinct and b) when they were alive, only lived in Central Asia. 
  8. There are 450 types raptor birds in the world, but only one type of velociraptor.
  9. When referring to raptors, I get to use cool words like carrion and crepuscular, that make me sound smart.
In conclusion, I learned there are some things in the world that can be just as great as velociraptors. This is a perfect book to use to introduce your dinosaur loving kiddos to the raptors of today. Do you have a favorite dinosaur? Did you learn something today about raptors? Don't forget to check out the other books in the About... Series.
How can you not laugh at a velociraptor on a bike?! Oh the wonderful things that the internet brings to me...

Thursday, May 20, 2010

New Fall 2010 Books!

We have some fabulous books coming out this fall! Check them out and let us know what you think!

Picture Books:
About Raptors: A Guide for Children
Written by Cathryn Sill and Illustrated by John Sill
HC: $16.95, September 2010, 978-1-56145-536-2, Ages 3-7

About Raptors uses simple, clear language to introduce a young audience to the many types of raptors that live in various parts of the world. The book covers the physical characteristics, the nesting habits, and the movements on land and water of the fascinating birds of prey.

The Blue House Dog

Written by Deborah Blumenthal, Illustrated by Adam Gustavson
HC: $15.95, August 2010, 978-1-56145-537-9, Ages 4-8

A boy without a Dog—and a dog without an owner—find each other in this powerfully moving story of loneliness and redemption. When his elderly owner dies, Bones is left to wander the neighborhood. But someone is watching—Cody, a young boy who once had a dog he loved very much. Slowly, cautiously, Bones and Cody grow closer, as each learns to trust and love again.

Immi’s Gift

Written and Illustrated by Karin Littlewood
HC: $15.95, October 2010, 978-1-56145-545-4, Ages 4-8

Immi is a little girl who lives in a faraway, frozen white land, where people rarely travel. But one day, as she fishes for supper, she discovers the most colorful thing she has ever seen… A beautiful wooden bird that will brighten her life in many different ways—and trigger a wonderful cycle of curiosity and connectivity.

Mr. President Goes to School

Written by Rick Walton, Illustrated by Brad Sneed
HC: $15.95, July 2010, 978-1-56145-538-6, Ages 4-8

When Mr. President becomes frustrated and overwhelmed by the many pressures of his job, he puts on a silly disguise and returns to the place where things are just a little bit simpler…kindergarten! While Mr. President is enjoying snack time and shaking it all about with his new classmates, he is also relearning important lessons in sharing, caring and compromise. Mr. President brings what he learned back to the White House and takes a fun new approach to getting his job done.

Three Scoops and a Fig

Written by Sara Laux Akin, Illustrated by Susan Kathleen Hartung
HC: $15.95, August 2010, 978-1-56145-522-5, Ages 4-8

Tired of always being “in the way” in the busy kitchen of her family’s Italian restaurant, Sofia cooks up a delicious new recipe of her own.

Ol’ Bloo’s Boogie-Woogie Band and Blues Ensemble

Written by Jan Huling, Illustrated by Henri Sørensen
HC: $16.95, September 2010, 978-1-56145-436-5, Ages 6-10

The Bremen Town Musicians, featuring a group of questionably talented but determined animals, is retold with a spicy Louisiana flair.

New in Paperback

Little Rabbit’s Christmas

Written and Illustrated by Harry Horse
PB: $7.95, October 2010, 978-1-56145-557-7, ages 2-6

On Christmas morning the red sled I waiting for Little Rabbit, courtesy of the Christmas Rabbit. Little Rabbit cannot wait to try it out and show it off to his friends. Everyone begs him for a turn, and Little Rabbit goes off in a huff to sled alone. But when a fast hill and a frozen stream spell trouble for Little Rabbit, he quickly learns the value of friendship.

The Horned Toad Prince

Written by Jackie Mims Hopkins, Illustrated by Michael Austin
PB: $7.95, September 2010, 978-1-56145-548-5, Ages 4-8

Reba Jo loves Riding all other the wild Prairie and roping any critter unlucky enough to cross her path. But when the spunky cowgirl finds herself in a mess of trouble, she’s forced to strike a deal with a horned toad—he’ll save her hide, but only if she grants him three wishes.

Snow Day!

Written by Lester L. Laminack, Illustrated by Adam Gustavson
PB: $7.95, October 2010, 978-1-56145-553-9, Ages 4-8
HC and CD: $19.95, 978-1-56145-554-6
CD Only: $6.95, 978-1-56145-556-0

When the television weatherman predicts a big snowfall, the narrator gleefully imagines the fun-filled possibilities of an unscheduled holiday from school.

New in Spanish:

14 Vacas para América
Written by Carmen Agra Deedy, Illustrated by Thomas Gonzalez, Afterword by Wilson Kimeli Naiyomah
HC: $17.95, August 2010, 978-1-56145-550-8, Ages 6-10
PB: $8.95, 978-1-56145-555-3

In the Spanish version of the powerful new New York Times bestselling children’s book from Carmen Agra Deedy, this true story recounts the gift of hope, generosity and compassion one small Kenya village made to the American people in the face of tragedy. This Spanish version is being released in both a hardcover and paperback

Middle Readers and Young Adult:


Written by Chris Platt
HC: $14.94, September 2010, 978-1-56145-541-6, Ages 8-12

Thirteen-year-old Lily O’Neil’s passion is Arabian horses. Someday she wants to be a great endurance rider like her mother. But a year earlier, when a freak riding accident too her mother’s life, Lily’s father sold her beloved horse and forbade her to ride ever again. Lily is determined to fulfill her mother’s dream. But how will she convince her father to let her ride again?

Hide and Seek

Written by Katy Grant
HC: $15.95, August 2010, 978-1-56145-542-3, Ages 8-12

Thirteen-year-old Chase, a geocaching enthusiast, must constantly rely on his wits to solve unexpected problems. This outdoor adventure and boy’s coming-of-age story is set in the remote, rugged mountains of North Arizona.

Throwing Heat

Written by Fred Bowen
PB: $5.95, July 2010, 978-1-56145-540-9, Ages 7-12

Jack throws the fastest pitches around, but lately his blazing fastballs haven’t been enough. He’s got to learn new pitches to stay ahead of the batters. But can he resist bringing the heat?


Written by Kristen Wolden Nitz
HC: $16.95, October 2010, 978-1-56145-543-0, Ages 12-16

Jen is surprised by her grandmother’s latest obsession: Jen’s long-absent mother. Grandma Kay now believes that Jen’s mother was murdered on the day she vanished almost fifteen years ago. As the family gathers at Grandma Kay’s bed-and-breakfast for a murder-themed weekend, Jen confronts not only her ambivalent feelings toward her mother, but also the person responsible for her mother’s death, a person whom she had loved and trusted all her life.

New in Paperback:

Gabriel’s Triumph: Book Two in the racing to Freedom Trilogy

Written by Alison Hart
PB: $4.99, July 2010, 978-1-56145-547-8, Ages 8-12

The year is 1864, and with his competitive spirit and natural talent for racing horses, Gabriel is burning up the horse track—and stacking up wins for his former mast, Mister Giles.

When Mister Giles asks him to ride Aristo, a powerful but unpredictable horse, in the prestigious Saratoga Chase, Gabriel jumps at the chance to compete against some of the greatest jockeys in the business. But as soon as he begins the journey to Saratoga with Aristo by boxcar, he finds that high-stakes horse racing can be a nasty business. Gabriel also learns the difficult lesson that being freed is not the same as being free.

Moon Shadow

Written by Chris Platt
PB: $6.95, September 2010, 978-1-56145-546-1, Ages 8-12

A young girl’s love for a beautiful mustang mare fuels her fierce determination to save the life—against all odds—of the wild horse’s orphaned filly.

Willow King

Written by Chris Platt
PB: $6.95, September 2010, 978-1-56145-549-2, Ages 8-12

Inspired by the true experiences of a real championship racehorse, this beautiful tale is a moving celebration of the power of caring and the rewards of hard work. When thirteen-year-old Katie Durham learns that the owner of a neighboring Thoroughbred farm is going to destroy a newborn colt, she rushes to save him. Although Willow King’s legs are badly twisted, Katie fights for his life, begging for the chance to raise and train him. Because one of Katie’s own legs is nearly an in shorter than the other, she feels an immediate kinship with Willow King. Together, Katie and Willow King embark on a demanding journey of training that becomes more challenging than Katie ever expected. Yet through it all, she remains determined to see this brave little colt grow into the beautiful Thoroughbred champion she knows he’s meant to be.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Book Expo America 2010

That's right everyone! The infamous BEA is upon us and we will be there (Booth #2869 to be exact)... along with a few of our wonderful authors and illustrators! For those of you that can't be there (I know a lot of you are participating in the #ArmChairBEA on Twitter), we will be giving away books signed by our authors that will be at the event! Be sure to check out our website during BEA for more information! We also have an amazingly fun giveaway for those of you that will be attendance. Read to the end of this post to find out more info!

Now... back to the details! Where will our authors be and when are they signing? I'm so glad you asked.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010
1:00pm-2:00pm: Carmen Agra Deedy will be signing 14 Cows for America in the autographing area at Table 7.

Thursday, May 27, 2010:
***3:00pm-4:00pm: Carmen Agra Deedy will also be at the Association of Children's Booksellers Author Tea at the Javits Center 1E11.***
    Wednesday, May 26, 2010
    2:00pm-3:00pm: Fred Bowen will be signing Throwing Heat in the autographing area at Table 4.


       Wednesday, May 26, 2010
      3:30pm-4:30pm: Deborah Blumenthal and Adam Gustavson will be signing in the autographing area at Table 8.They will be signing their new book together, The Blue House Dog. You can read the New York Times article that inspired the book here.
      Wednesday, May 26, 2010
      4:00pm-5:00pm: Steven Krasner will be signing Play Ball Like the Pros: Tips for Kids from 20 Big League Stars, 2nd ed. in the autographing area at Table 7.

        Don't forget to stop by our Booth #2869. If you missed our authors, we'll have some signed stock in the booth.

        Three Scoops and a Fig Ice Cream Maker Give-Away
        We are doing a contest at our booth around the picture book Three Scoops and a Fig (August 2010), which is about a little girl who is tired of always being in the way in the busy kitchen of her family’s Italian restaurant, so she comes up with a delicious new recipe of her own: The Italian Flag Sundae. The sundae includes gelato and some juicy figs from the tree outside her house. To celebrate and promote this book, we will be giving away an ice cream maker so the winner can make their own Italian Flag Sundae.  

        BEA attendees can enter the contest at our booth, and the winner will be announced via email after the show.

        Sunday, May 9, 2010

        Children's Book Week is Upon Us!

        I LOVE Children's book week. To celebrate this past Friday, I got to take my little brother to see Rick Riordan speak. This was his very first time meeting an author. We got there plenty early, just in case, and even had time to stop at Everybody's to get pizza. 

        We bought Riordan's newest book, The Red Pyramid, that came out this week along with a companion book to the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. My brother is 6, and is just learning about the Percy Jackson books, but came along with me anyways, more to spend time with his big sister than to meet an author. I appreciated that he was willing to humor me, so that I wasn't a lone adult amongst a sea of children. The Michael C. Carlos Museum and my local children's bookstore, Little Shop of Stories, sponsored the event on the Emory campus. They always bring the coolest people into town.

        Then we waited... a lot... especially to a six year old. Rick started speaking around seven and told us about his new book. My little brother was all ears. More exciting to him was when Riordan asked the audience questions and called on him, out of the hundreds of kids there. He was glowing! After speaking for about 20 minutes, we waited for our turn to get our books signed.

        Here is what was really awesome. Riordan took time to look every kid in the eye and talk to them. When we got to the front of the line, he answered more of my brothers questions and signed all of his books (along with more than a few of mine). When we walked away, my brother clung to his new book. He didn't want to let it go and kept looking at the autograph. Then he said the most wonderful thing...

        "Will you read this to me?"

        My brother is an excellent reader, but this was the first time that I saw him really excited about a book. He wouldn't put it down and said that he was going to hide it in a very safe place, which is big talk when you're little. He wanted me to read more to him. He wants to meet more authors. He wants to visit the museum and see mummies and learn about the Greeks! There was so much excitement in his little face... isn't that what Children's Book Week is all about? Getting kids to fall in love with reading? Making them get excited about a book or an author?

        Which bring me to my point... How are you going to celebrate Children's Book Week and what is your favorite children's book? Our Peachtree staff are going to be visiting local schools to read to kids. I get to go to a career day on Friday to talk about books! We are also giving away a book on the Write for a Reader Blog. Check it out to find out what book! 

        Happy Children's Book Week Everyone!!!

        P.S. I would also like to give a huge THANK YOU to Hyperion for being so awesome and bringing Rick Riordan to Atlanta. You may just have made a lifetime reader out of my little brother.

        Monday, May 3, 2010

        It Takes a Village to Acquire a Book...

        The mystery of the acquisitions meeting. What happens behind closed doors? How do publishers decide who gets published, and who they must let down? It all starts with a manuscript. We have acquisitions editors whose job it is to find books for us to publish, which happens in a lot of different ways. 
        • Editors have established relationships with authors they have previously worked with that they receive new manuscripts from.
        • Some go to conferences and speak or do workshops where they meet aspiring authors, who pass on manuscripts to them.
        • A few manuscripts can come from the unsolicited, or "slush" pile
        • Sometimes books are brought in from other publishers outside of the country that we consider buying U.S. right to.
        • Agents will often send manuscripts that they think will be a good fit for an editor or publishing house.
        However, just because an editor loves a book, doesn't mean it is guaranteed to be published. When a book is to be brought to an acquisitions meeting, it is made available to everyone in our office for review, and in turn, we fill out readers reports. This is where we are able to state our opinions about books we are considering. Readers reports ask questions like:
        • What audience would this book be ideal for?
        • How would you compare this manuscript to competitive titles as well as our own?
        • What are key positive elements of the manuscript? Are there any negative elements?
        • Recommended format, price, art?
        • General comments.
        These are all things that are important and that a publisher looks at. Whenever anyone asks me for advice on how to get published or about writing a manuscript, I always tell them to look at those key points, especially audience and competitive titles. Someone may be a wonderful writer, but if their book doesn't bring anything new to the table to make it stand out from competitive titles, that is a strike against it.

        All of these mini-book reports (which is how I personally tend to think of them) are given to the editors who are working on that particular manuscript. After reading over everyones thoughts, the editors present each manuscript in the acquisitions meeting. This is really where an editor has an opportunity to fight for their story and address any negative comments from the readers reports. It also gives other staff members a chance to ask questions directly. This is why it is important to have an editor really champion your book. They are the ones that, in a way, have to convince everyone else that it is beneficial to publish your story even though it is a risk, especially when publishing a new author.

        The reason all of the different departments are included in these meetings is to have different perspectives. Maybe a story is really great, but difficult to market or publicize. Perhaps there is a weak story, but great writing and illustrative promise. Sometimes an author we have worked with before only submits an outline to an editor and they have to fill in the blanks for the rest of the staff to show it is worth acquiring a book before it is even finished. These issues can be addressed and considered before a contract is draw up to publish a book. 

        Depending on the book, there can be a lot of questions and disagreeing on a title, or overall agreement. Ultimately, our publisher has the final say in whether or not we publish a book, but all notes, feedback, questions, and comments are taken into consideration. 

        Do you have questions about manuscript submission or acquiring books? Let us know!