Nov 30, 2012

Christmas Advent Calendar—In Books!

We all know the traditional Christmas advent calendars where you get a piece of chocolate every day for the twenty-four days leading up to Christmas. Well this year, we thought we would break that tradition in favor of something a little more bookish . . . and a lot more fun! (Although, if you want, you can still eat the chocolate too.)

In the spirit of the holidays, we put together a list of twenty-four of our favorite children's books—some classics, some new—and made our own advent calendar. You can wrap these up under your tree, and every night before Christmas, your family can read one together. Sounds like the perfect way to get ready for the holidays, no?

Below the image are the links to buy all the books from your favorite bookstore. This Saturday, December 1, just happens to be Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day, so grab the kids, head to your local bookstore, and stock up on these holiday favorites!

24. How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Suess
23. Olive, the Other Reindeer by J. Otto Seibold

22. Yes, Virginia There Is a Santa Claus by Chris Plehal
21. The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
20. Olivia Helps with Christmas by Ian Falconer
19. If You Take a Mouse to the Movies by Laura Joffee Numeroff
18. The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
17. The Nutcracker (this version) by Susan Jeffers
16. Merry Christmas, Splat by Rob Scotton
15. A Charlie Brown Christmas by Charles M. Schulz
14. The  Worst  Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson
13. Dream Snow by Eric Carle
12. The Twelve Days of Christmas (this version) by Laurel Long
11. Fletcher and the Snowflake Christmas by Julia Rawlinson
10. The Wild Christmas Reindeer by Jan Brett
9. Eloise at Christmastime Kay Thompson

8. Peef the Christmas Bear by Tom Hegg
7. Merry Christmas, Strega Nona by Tomie dePaola
6. Fancy Nancy: Splendiferous Christmas by Jane O'Conner
5. Wombat Divine by Mem Fox
4. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (adaptation)
3. Bear Stays Up for Christmas Karma Wilson
2. The Christmas Quiet Book by Deborah Underwood
1. The Night Before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore


Nov 28, 2012

Author Cathy Sultan on Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Author Cathy Sultan recently came back from a trip to Gaza, and she shared her experiences on WQOW in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Of the residents of Gaza, Sultan says, "These people are strong and they have resilience. My God do they have resilience, with a capital R they have resilience." Watch the entire interview:

WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Cathy Sultan's books--A Beirut Heart, Israeli and Palestinian Voices, and Tragedy in South Lebanon are available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and IndieBound.

Nov 26, 2012

What Makes a Great Picture Book? 10 Key Elements

It's almost the end of November, and man has it flown by. Not only did November mark the beginning of our reading period, but it was Picture Book Month. And between all of the talk online about picture books and the huge amount of proposals we've gotten for new children's titles, we've been thinking a lot this month about what makes a great picture book.
After a little digging around online for popular opinions, and examining our own tastes, we've narrowed it down to a list of 10 key elements:

    1. The story must understand what it's like to be a child going through something for the first time. "Picture books communicate self-acceptance, and they model coping strategies for children who are just learning to deal with powerful emotions." (Young Children and Picture Books)
    2. A picture book should be simple but thoughtful. There is a small amount of space to find the perfect combination where all the elements work perfectly together.
    3. The language should fit the audience. It should be playful, be fun, be attention grabbing, but be rich. Never forced. Every word needs to count for something.
    4. Picture books are for the adults reading them as well, and so the story should resonate with and be enjoyable for the child AND the adult reading it. There's nothing better than reading a picture book as an adult and having it still mean something to you.

Nov 16, 2012

Book Trailers: Take 2

It's no secret that we love book trailers. We put up a list of our favorites in June, and since then we've developed a Pinterest board dedicated to them, and watched countless ones in our daily newsletters from Shelf Awareness. In fact, we've come across so many new trailers that we decided we pretty much had to post a followup list. So what follows are some of our new favorites, but undoubtedly, the list will continue to grow.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

If you haven't read this book yet, you must go and buy it today. It's great. And the book trailer doesn't disappoint either. The split screen and music made me fall in love with this trailer just as much as the book.
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente

The illustrations for both of her books (see next trailer) are beautiful and simply amazing. They are somewhat reminiscent of Brian Selznick, who we featured in our first list of trailers. The song is pretty great too.

Nov 13, 2012

Social Media for Everyone!

It's time for a quick social media round up. If you love Twitter, follow @ScarlettaPress and @Scarletta_Kids for tons of bookish fun and news. Twitter not your style? Like us on Facebook. And if you're more into images, well there's always Pinterest. We have 24 boards and thinking of new ones every day. For audio excerpts, activity videos, puppet shows, music, and more, go to our YouTube channel.

We really have something for everyone, so click on any of the links below and find a new way to connect with us!

1. Scarletta Twitter
2. Scarletta Kids Twitter
3. Facebook
4. Pinterest
5. YouTube

Nov 9, 2012

Katie and Aaron DeYoe: Illustrator Interview

Katie and Aaron DeYoe are probably the cutest pair of redheads you'll ever meet, not to mention incredibly talented illustrators. They met while studying graphic design at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, and though they are both full-time graphic designers, they spend most of their free time drawing, doodling, painting, and printing. They also enjoy riding their serendipitously matching red Schwinns around Minneapolis.

We took a bit of time to chat with Aaron about their work on The Mighty Quinn, out in May from Scarletta Junior Readers, and how it's been working as a duo.


1. The Mighty Quinn is the first book that you’ve illustrated together. How has the experience been so far?

Really good! We have discovered that our process is mostly switching between art director and illustrator. Sometimes I will have a vision for a particular illustration that I know Katie can execute better than me...and vice versa.

2. What have you enjoyed most about it?

Discovering how we work as a team. A long-term goal of ours is work collaboratively full time, and this project is helping us discover what that will be like.

3. Have their been unexpected challenges?

We set high expectations for ourselves, and struggle with that sometimes. Otherwise, nothing too unexpected.

4. Where did the style for the drawings come from? Is it a combination of your personal styles or does it lean toward one of your personal styles?

A lot of the "body language" that the characters convey in the illustrations are products of Katie's expertise. I will try to simplify her sketches down into hard, minimal lines. We tag-team a lot of the details and usually art direct each other.

6. What is your process for creating the illustrations? And what medium do you use?

Nov 1, 2012

We've Got a New Website!

It's the first day of November, and with the new month, not only are we beginning our reading period but we're proud to announce that we have a new website! Have you seen it? It features a running slide of new and upcoming books, imprint pages, author pages, press rooms for all your media needs, and even an online store so you can buy our books directly from us. Pretty neat, huh?

When we were thinking of how to redesign our site, we wanted to make sure that the spirit of who we are as a publisher stayed intact. But we've also grown a lot in the past few years--expanding the number of books we publish and expanding into the children's and junior reader's markets--and we wanted our new website to reflect our new direction.

Another big change is that we've created new logos. We wanted to rebrand ourselves to reflect how we've changed as a publisher. And in the next few days, you'll see our social media sites change to connect them with our new look. FacebookPinterestTwitterYouTube, and even this blog will use the new logos and colors to create a cohesive identity that is Scarletta.  Check 'em out:


So if you haven't already, go to the new and improved, and let us know what you think of our new look!