Dec 31, 2013

A 2013 Scarletta Press Favorite Book Recap!

“A cat’s New Year dream is mostly a bird! Don’t be like a cat; in New Year, dream something that you have never dreamed! Target for new things!” 
― Mehmet Murat ildan

It's been a great year everybody but 2013 had to end sometime, so before it does let us gush a little bit about the books that made 2013 a great year in reading for us!

Dec 20, 2013

Monster Needs a Trophy Case

Every mom will fall in love with this monster, or so the shiny new gold stickers from Mom's Choice said when they arrived in the mail! The Monster & Me™ publishing team couldn't be more excited for this very deserving book. We're betting the many Monster & Me™ books created by dynamic picture book duo Paul Czajak and Wendy Grieb will be grabbing tons of attention, and tons of awards at that. We'll get started on that DIY trophy case after the holidays! ;)

The lovely librarians and educators that attend ALA Midwinter in January will be able to see the adorable cover of Monster Needs a Costume proudly displayed with an award seal in the Publisher's Group West booth. You're a librarian and can't wait until then? No worries! Contact us at, tell us you're a librarian and want to get the book with an award seal on it, and we'll give you a special librarian discount.

So how can you help us celebrate? 
  • Think about purchasing a copy direct from our website. We’ll even throw in a discount of $2 off the book! Just type in coupon code mcgold13 at checkout. Offer good through January 31. 
    • Order before December 31st and you can use the 20% off holiday promotion code too! Check out all our books to give as fun gifts this holiday season!
  • Display and sell the book in your store! (Trust us, it's a fantastic book for children, parents, teachers, librarians, and any picture book lover.) 
  • Spread the word and show some love to our author & illustrator on Twitter: @PCzajak & @Boodlewink got a #MomsChoice!
  • Read the book and love it? Tell us about it by writing a customer review on either Goodreads, Amazon, or
  • Leave a congratulatory comment on Monster & Me™'s Facebook fan page, and like it too! 
    • By liking, you'll be able to stay on top of when new books in the series come out, how to take part in awesomely monstrous contests, and of course where to go for upcoming events or book sales!

Check out our other Mom's Choice Gold winners: Lost in Lexicon, The Ice Castle, and Betsy's Day at the Game.

Dec 17, 2013

Picture Perfect: Announcing the 2014 Spring Season!

We just couldn't wait until the new year to talk about our spring 2014 title list! Okay, maybe that's just me, but I am ridiculously excited about the great children's lineup we have for all you readers, and I'm betting everyone else in the Scarletta office feels the same way.

The year of 2013 saw some amazing children's and adult books rolled out from our imprints, and the birth of our new brand image at Scarletta. It was a fantastic start to what is sure to be an incredible publishing journey, especially with the titles we'll be buzzing about in 2014! So without further ado...

Start by digging in (pun intended, folks!) on March 20, 2014, with Garden to Table: The Kid's Guide to Planting, Growing, and Preparing Food by Katherine Hengel. Kids will fill their plates with fresh, self-sustained produce that comes straight from the garden. Step-by-step planting, care, and harvesting tips, along with step-by-step photos for over 30 delicious recipes made with basil, carrots, green beans, leaf lettuce, potatoes, and tomatoes. Incorporating unique flavors and easy-to-grow veggies, these simple recipes will have you asking for seconds!

You met Monster in fall 2013, and if you're a normal or abnormal person, immediately fell in love with him. He's giant, blue, hairy, and cavorts around with the energy of a four year old thanks to talented illustrator Wendy Grieb. Well, Paul Czajak's adorable Monster & Me™ series continues on April 8, 2014, with Monster Needs His Sleep. In Czajak and Grieb's second collaboration, it's time for bed, and Monster needs to go to sleep. But he just keeps finding more things to stay awake for! It isn't until Monster admits he is afraid of the dark that he finds a glowing solution to his nightmare problem.

A picture book series not quite your style? Looking for something older? Fan of adventure and fantasy series? Then have we got something for you! That may have been too cheesy of a build up, but seriously, middle-grade readers will love our new Tristan Hunt and the Sea Guardians series by Ellen Prager. The Shark Whisperer, book one, is an action-packed story of adventure, fantasy, and humor that reveals the wonders of the ocean. After falling into a pool of sharks, things for awkward Tristan Hunt begin to look up. Tristan is invited to an ocean-themed summer camp in the Florida Keys where he discovers that he and his fellow campers have very rare talents when it comes to the ocean. After the camp receives a distress call from ocean animals, the Sea Guardians get pulled into a daring rescue in the Bahamas. With the help of sharks, dolphins, a quick-escape artist octopus, and some seabird bombers, the campers must use their talents in an attempt to outwit an evil shark-finning, reef-blasting billionaire.

We'll keep on the animal theme and finish out the spring 2014 season with another adorable picture book, If An Armadillo Went to a Restaurant by Ellen Fischer, and illustrated by Laura Wood. Would an armadillo order spaghetti with meatballs if she went to a restaurant? No way! She would like a plate of ants and worms. Little ones will slurp, munch, and crunch their way through this delightful book about animal diets and habitats. In the end, you might find yourself asking just what you might like to order.

Think these books are awesome? Guess what...they're all available for pre-order from your favorite book vendor! Might we also suggest these books as great for your 2014 book lists? If you love them, tell us about it with a customer review (and tell your bookseller too so they can keep recommending our quality books to other readers!).

Dec 13, 2013

Laura Krughoff and My Brother's Name are Going on Tour!

It's tour time everyone! Tours are some of our favorite things here at Scarletta because they're always a wonderful way for authors and illustrators to get out, talk about their work, and meet fans face to face. Right now we're gearing up to head on the road with Laura Krughoff, for her first tour of the twin cities. As many of you may knowLaura is the author of My Brother's Name (Sep 2013), a psychological/GLBT fiction that questions identity and gender in a whirlwind of a novel. It will keep readers on the edge of their seats as it encounters the precipice of mental illness and just how far familial love can go.

Anytime you have a book with as much emotional depth as My Brother's Name and heavy subjects like mental health and transgender identity issues, it's crucial to use that opportunity as a window into the author as much as into the characters. This tour will also give you another chance to meet and chat with like-minded individuals, specifically book-lovers.

So join us, enjoy an evening amongst peers, and if you're lucky maybe go home with a new book or two. You'll find the schedule below. Also, if you follow our social media accounts, we'll also be posting the stops there.

January 5, 2014

2:00 PM

January 6, 2014

7:00 PM
The event at Subtext will include a giveaway of My Brother's Name to one 
lucky attendee.

January 7, 2014
7:00 PM
The party at Magers & Quinn will include hot beverages and baked goods to 
warm the winter chill away!

See you there!

Dec 5, 2013

Why Don't People Go on Book Diets? What Would It Mean If They Did?

The literary world is full of terms like "devour" or "consume" used to describe how one reads a book. Even the term "bookworm" finds it's roots in the tradition of referring to any insect that may chew through books as "worms" even though damage is typically caused by the Common Paper Louse (Don't google that if you don't like bugs. Or really, even if you do. It's just no fun).

So, if we're good with imagining books as some sort of brain food, then how far can we stretch that? Book restaurants? We've got those in the forms of book stores. Books about how to prepare books? That's an entire genre, and not a small genre at that. There are tons and tons of parallels, mostly because I'm looking for them, but they exist.

And yet, I'm not seeing much by way of book diets. I mean, diet books are everywhere, but there don't seem to be many people writing about selective book consumption for a specific purpose. Why not? Perhaps it's because people generally believe that no books are detrimental. I doubt that because if that were true, banned books week would be blueberry muffin week or something due to lack of banned books. Perhaps people are worried that going on a book diet might limit their worldview, and there may be some merit to that. I feel like the real reason is because nobody else has the right combination of spare time, relevance to work, and penchant for pointless rambling necessary to discuss the future of literary book clubs.


The Cleanse: Nothing but children's books, without any trace of sadness, scariness, or really anything that can't be described as "warm and fuzzy" or "super wicked cool". Great for getting you mentally back in shape to see the world as a beautiful place of excitement and adventure. As an adult, you may need to repeat the cleanse multiple times annually for continued effectiveness.

The Doyle Diet: Nothing but sleuth protagonists. Maybe sprinkle in a cheap murder-mystery on cheat days. Ideally a weekly dose of Sherlock Holmes accented by Poirot as necessary. This diet is sure to help you bulk up your intuitiveness, and slim down your cluelessness. Side-effects may include increased paranoia and a penchant for stylish hats.

The ABC Diet: Apocalypses, Battlefields & Catastrophes. This diet consists of steady doses of Disasters of all proportions. End-of-Days and Final Hours stories help keep you thankful that you live in a relatively safe world. Also, all that panicking you do for the characters towards the end will keep your heart rate up, burning real world calories. It's a truly transcendent diet. 

These are just a few of the many diets that I'm sure could one day come to be the driving force behind book clubs the world over. Let these culinary collections of chapter books shape how you read, and watch as your mind becomes truly fit. Or, just keep reading like you always do. That's never a bad thing.

Nov 26, 2013

Are To-Read lists still Vogue? Also, why is Vogue still on my To-Read list?

“Often on a wet day I begin counting up; what I've read and what I haven't read.” - Virginia Woolf

There are probably as many quotes about books and reading as there are books. It's difficult to find the right quote, because unlike finding a needle in a haystack, I can't just burn all the wrong quotes and wait to dig the right one from the ashes. Not that I've ever contemplated the easiest solution to the old needle/haystack problem or anything. No, instead you wind up reading quote after quote, each good but not quite relevant enough for your purposes until eventually you either stumble across the right one or you just give up and pick the next quote by Mark Twain.

This problem is even worse in books, because most of the wittiest quotes are only a sentence or two but books, well books aren't. So, instead of trying to have a right book for the situation I, like I hope most readers still do, have a to-read list. A special shelf of books that I feel are important enough to isolate and focus on. Well it was a shelf, but now that ebooks are starting to fill my life it's a little more complicated. From books, to ebooks, to magazines, my to-read grows faster than my have-read and I  begin to wonder why I even try to keep up.

Because I really like things, that's why. I really like reading about bears that have emigrated from "Darkest Peru", or murders on uppity liberal arts college campuses. So I read books like the Paddington Bear series, or The Secret History. I also really like looking at photos of stunningly designed dresses or well-tailored blazers. This means Vogue will always hold a place on my shortlist for best in-flight reading. I really like things, and words or pictures printed on paper is a wonderful portal to those things.

Because there really wasn't a ton of purpose to this besides me sharing some thoughts, let's make this meaningful. Tell me your thoughts on reading lists, share with me some of the books, magazines, comics or really anything you feel should be added to my To-Read list, and I'll give it some thought. Just please, no books about quotes.

Nov 19, 2013

Nothing Brings Warmth to the Holiday Season like Good Books

“A book is a gift you can open again and again.” - Garrison Keillor

We here at Scarletta love books, and we know you do too. I can't speak for everyone else but I also love gifts; I imagine you do too. The feeling that somebody out there wants to add something to your life, be it a new car or a pair of socks. I share that same desire you have to give gifts to your family and friends to see the smiles on their faces, and that little flame of pride in your heart that flares whenever you see someone enjoying a gift you gave them in the past.

So if you love books and you love gifts, and I'm comfortable assuming that we've established that, then you must recognize the value of books as gifts. The gift of knowledge, or the gift of laughter, perhaps the gift of curiosity, there is an emotion that goes along with every genre and you're in control of what you give. Sometimes that can be a little intimidating, the number of options may be too large. Let me help you narrow that down with a special offer just for the holiday season.

To: You
From: All of us at Scarletta

If that still doesn't narrow things down enough for you, here are 4 of my own suggestions from the Scarletta catalogs.

Nov 15, 2013

The Power of Reading

"If only Jupiter would restore me those bygone years"

Every reader probably remembers the first book they read. The first time they were able to read on their own. Their first complete chapter book, and then their first complete series. Those achievements that seemed so constant when younger, and have become further and further apart as time takes hold and you begin to grow older. And somewhere among those, hopefully toward the beginning, sits a book or two that helped inspire you to become a reader. I've talked before about my favorites through the ages but this is something different, something more of a spark to light a fuse and less the fireworks that ensued.

Because I have a hard time being succinct when I discuss the things I am passionate about, I've recruited the assistance of the wonderful Josh and Sara here at Scarletta to give their input and keep my long-winded speeches at bay.

The Berenstain Bears and the Lonely Nightlight

Imagine this: A small girls’ room with a yellow lace-covered canopy bed, small writing desk and green 
shag carpet. This was my bedroom as a little girl growing up in Chicago. As a child, I had tremendous allergies. My mother discovered my allergies not because I was sneezing or coughing throughout the day, but because she saw a small light come from under my door at 2 AM. I could not sleep. At two years old, I would lay in my bed with a stuffed up nose trying to breath. What could I do? I could not get up and make warm milk or take a bath. 

Instead I turned to a new friend: The Berenstain Bears book series. The books follow the Bear family as they deal with life’s issues such as the first day of school, sickness, and following the rules. I took one book off the shelf and then two and three. After a few days, I had a stack of 10-20 books. 

Suddenly, I could breath!! 

However, when my mother saw that lonely nightlight there was trouble.  Jan and Stan Berenstain ignited my love for reading. Eventually my allergies stopped but my love of reading has continued. My favorite authors include Margaret Atwood, Maya Angelou, and F. Scott Fitzgerald but the Berenstain’s will always hold a special place in my heart. 

-Sara Lien Edelman


I believe every person should have an I CAN READ memory. I don’t mean a specific moment they can pinpoint as the beginning of their reading journey. Rather, I’m referring to the very specific, delightful series of books from HarperCollins back in the  early 90s. The I CAN READ series is full of books that have been appropriately leveled for various ages and reading levels. Among the abundance of titles, The Golly Sisters Go West is one that I can highlight as a true reading inspiration. Originally published in 1986, the Golly Sisters series involved a theatrical pair of siblings, May-May and Rose,
traveling all over the Midwest to put on shows and get into scuffles. I was so drawn to their enthusiasm for adventure; reading about their endeavors and mishaps never felt like a chore. And, besides, who doesn't love a feathered headband?

-Josh Plattner

I myself hold The Boxcar Children series as the impetus behind my reading. The Alden siblings, orphaned and alone, move into an abandoned boxcar to avoid the elements. They go on to solve mysteries, discover their grandfather, and save the day countless times all while fighting to stay together as a family. It's got all the right elements of The Hatchet, Encyclopedia Brown, the Hardy Boys and the Babysitter Club. Plus, it was just the right difficulty for me to power through them in first through third grade while still building my vocabulary and there are enough books to last ages. I still pick up any books I don't own whenever I'm in a thrift store. It's a series that stays in your heart forever, and that's something magical that I think only the best books can do.

-Denzel Kingsbury

Now, we've all been lucky enough to have these resources available, helping is grow not just as readers but also as people. Books are a powerful tool for self-development, and I feel we all realize that. One of our own former employees here at Scarletta, Ashley Bostrom, has taken that realization and is working to help provide those same resources to the youth she works with in Ethiopia. Her program provides both the resources and the structure to help children who have never held a work of fiction before become well-read young adults. If you wish to help Ashley's program, she's made it super simple to do so. Just follow the link at the bottom, and it will lead you to a list of the books the program is in need of, and instructions on how to purchase copies and ship them to the school for free. I must admit, I'm particularly excited to send a copy of The Black Book of Colors and any other braille books I can to help make sure that even their blind student can be involved. 

We will never get those bygone year back, but we can make sure that we do our part to give those same opportunities and experiences to those who come after us. Thank you Ashley, and thank you to anyone else who contributes to a child's development through the power of reading.

Nov 12, 2013

An Alternative to NaNoWriMo

“Sometimes a story has no end.”

Happy National Novel Writing Month, everyone! Earlier this month, Denzel wrote a fantastic piece on the basics of NaNoWriMo, er—ahem—#NaNoWriMo that provides a fantastic introduction to those of you unfamiliar with this month-long exercise in sanity. Celebrated across the United States for the entire month, NaNoWriMo is one of those events that appears just as terrifying as it actually is.  Fifty thousand words?! That’s a remarkable amount of work for a single month.

But I suppose that’s the appeal, isn’t it? At the end of 30 painstaking days, you have a novel in front of you.

But then what? What becomes of those fifty thousand words? What do you do when December 1st rears it cold, ugly head and all you have to show for the month is a word document with countless unusable passages and multiple grammatically questionable sentences. What becomes of all your worrying, second-guessing, and coffee-fueled temper tantrums because that guy two tables down just will not stop tapping his foot to the beat of a song you can hear above the roar of the café you’re sitting in?

For most of us: nothing. Nothing will happen to that manuscript.

Nothing will come from our hard work.

No one will ever read our words and share their thoughts.

Nobody will care what happened to what’s her name or what path that one guy chose.

Nov 7, 2013

Eureka! We've Struck Gold!

It all started with a submission to the California Reading Association's Eureka! Nonfiction Children's Book Awards for 2013. And on Wednesday, November 6, we were notified of our cookbook's gold success! We knew we had gold when we decided to publish this stunning children's cookbook, but it's nice to have a little affirmation now and again.

Cool World Cooking: Fun and Tasty Recipes for Kids! by Lisa Wagner hit shelves in early July 2013, and is already into it's second printing! This durable cookbook gives up-and-coming chefs a chance to explore the foods of the world. This international cookbook has over 50 recipes from six different cultures and introduces readers to world geography, math, science, and authentic, easy-to-make recipes that taste great. Young chefs will learn about African, French, Italian, Mexican, Middle Eastern, and Japanese and Chinese cooking.
978-1-938063-12-1 (tp)
978-1-938063-13-8 (ebook)

This is the CRA's fourth annual year hosting the Eureka! awards program, and we're excited to have been a part of it. We can't wait for the years to come either, because we have a fantastic selection of nonfiction activity books for kids of all ages (and adults too!).

Help us celebrate this fantastic selection by purchasing your own copy of Cool World Cooking or by displaying this award-winning book in your store. Need we mention that this award is just in time for the holiday season!? It makes a great holiday gift... give it early and see what delicious creations come from the kitchen!

To see the other five gold winners and a list of honorees, check out the CRA's sterling list of books.

Nov 5, 2013

Crowd-Sourcing My Reading List: A Thank You to Library Patrons That Reserve Books

It's gloomy outside. I'm talking cloudy-skies, but the really sad grey instead of the fearsome black that comes with true storms, slight drizzle that hints at hail occasionally and a sort of chilly gust that doesn't just bite, but gnaws at your nose and ears and fingers until you want to run back inside and curse the skies. Truly awful weather.

And yet, I'm excited. Not for the weather, of course, but rather because of what it means. It means that it's time to go to the library. Now obviously I think it's time to go to the library basically every day, and thanks to good legislation and a well-read society that's an option. But this is different, this is the beginning of reservation season. There is nothing on the internet that I can find to support my claim, but I stand behind it. Late-October/Early-November brings a beautiful upswell of books reserved at my public library. I noticed it several years ago when I volunteered, misguidedly, to help reshelve the books that were never picked up, and it became my weekly duty. 

There's something strangely intimate about seeing the books that people reserve, scanning through the titles that people felt so strongly about reading at some point that they requested they be sequestered from general population. Like the collectibles section in an antique store, these things hold value greater than their peers. But to who? That was always the biggest question I could never answer, since the reserve slips only ever had a library card #, all I could do was make feeble attempts at guessing the age, gender, or interests of the intended recipient. And it was within that mystery that I found the value of the reserve section.

There are countless ways to find books, from bookstore suggestions to review sites, and they all present me with the same general information. Which books are popular, which authors are popular, what genre is hot right now? And that's exactly the information that I want from them, except, sometimes I don't want it and it's still there. And what's worse it updates constantly, so firmly rooted in the present that if you look away for a couple months, you could miss a ton of hidden treasures. But not in the reserves section. Instead it seems to be the antithesis of review sites; no names, no star system, not even thumbs up/down, in most cases the books haven't even been read by the person selecting them. And yet, it has no predilection for the present and it holds no bias, just books that people think should be read. 

It'd be as good as random if I couldn't pick out the patterns, but they're in there, a dash of late-80's wilderness fiction anchored by Gary Paulsen's The Hatchet here, Clyde B. Clason and Charlotte Armstrong providing a smattering of 1940's Fiction there. Something drives these patterns, and as such drives my own exploration. I discovered my love of 1950's science-fiction centering around utopian city planning gone wrong, or how I learned that while the mid-19th century did have more lax rules about punctuation, Charlotte Brontë really was just bad at avoiding run-on sentences (I suffer this habit myself). This is where I find my reading list to fill the gaps between new releases I've been anticipating. This is where I've rounded out my experiences, and grown beyond the genres I would otherwise have trapped myself within.

And so I thank each and every one of you that has reserved a book, I thank you for being the filter that I want but lack the experience to become, and I thank you for your unwitting contribution to my life as a reader. Now please stop reserving a million copies of Infinite Jest, they're getting hard to wade through.

Nov 2, 2013

National Novel Writing Month, or How I Learned to Stop Editing and Love the Pressure

Some people like to run in races, from the short and sweet 5K to the more arduous 10k. There are even people who can knock out the 21K Half-Marathons or their twice as grueling sibling the 42K Full-Marathon. I'm not here to teach you about long-distance running, although I'm sure I'd find a way to make it fun, but rather to talk about that truly terrifying goal that rears it's head every November.


Luckily for me, my joints, and my cardiovascular system, that number isn't a representation of physical distance. Instead it's shorthand for 50,000. As in 50,000 words. As in the 50,000 words that make up the novel you could be writing this month. 

NaNoWriMo is always a fun time of the year. Crazy, tiresome, a little reckless even, but certainly a fun time and an unforgettable experience. It provides you the goal, the deadline, and the community necessary to get your butt in gear and crank out a novel. This can be rather scary for people, especially someone like myself who is married to the backspace key, and might be having an affair with the delete key (that's just a rumor though). 50,000 words, one month, how can you do it? Luckily there plenty of people out there who have plenty of tips on how to survive NaNoWriMo, some of the most common being 

1. Just dive in.
2. Worry about all that editing later.
3. Kiss your social life goodbye for the next 30 nights.

As long as you follow rule #1, the rest is golden. Treat this like I treated every track and field day in elementary school and go for gold because you'll at least get a consolation medal. Worst-case scenario the month ends and you're left with more words than you started with, words you can continue to work with and around for as long as you want. Edit them, delete them, ignore them, at the end of the day it's all in your hands, or as I guess is more apt in this era, at your fingertips.

And now for some fun NaNoWriMo stats:

  • In 2012 there were 341,375 participants
  • 3,288,976,325 words were written.
  • Minneapolis was the 10th most active U.S. city, and the 16th overall
  • I managed to crank out 31,284 words, nearly double my product from 2011
  • You could be writing right now
  • So go do that

Enjoy NaNoWriMo Everyone!

Oct 31, 2013

House Favorites: Denzel

What's your favorite book?

That essential question, endlessly asked and answered, that often forms the basis for a person's assessment of your position as a reader. Are you a chick lit queen, a murder-mystery fanatic, perhaps a champion of comic books? Is your favorite amongst the loftier of classics, perhaps a Brontë, Poe or Melville? No favorite book is superior or truly representative of your personality, despite what some may have you believe, and so I find the most value not in asking what your favorite book is, but rather what it was. Who wrote the books that shaped you as a reader? From where did your love of your current favorite spring?

Now, it would not be fair for me to request this information without volunteering my own. And so I will now take you on a journey through time, starting with my first true favorite, Tikki Tikki Tembo.

Tikki Tikki Tembo (Age 4-7):

Tikki Tikki Tembo-no Sa Rembo-chari Bari Ruchi-pip Peri Pembo is a young chinese boy with a very long name. This name is nearly the death of him after he falls in a well and his younger brother Chang is forced to recite his full name repeatedly until he is blue in the face.

I loved this book like no other as a child. Having a middle named of 9 letters and a hyphenated last name, I had felt the sting of a name longer than anyone wants to say. It marks the first conscious empathy I can remember feeling. The illustrations also had a strong impact on my color preferences at the time, best measured in the number of blue, green and golden yellow crayons I burned through.

Oct 28, 2013

A Whole New World: My View from the Scarletta Office and a Little Poem

Greetings, fellow bibliophiles! As one of the newest additions to Scarletta Press I’d like to start at the beginning. I’ve only been working here a couple weeks and here are a few of my first impressions and thoughts about the office:

1. It is indoors. It is immensely preferable to being outdoors in Minnesota in October so we’re already on the right track.

2. The view is great. Whenever I look out the window I like to think about hopping into an airplane and pitching press kits overboard. If somebody went to the effort of parachuting books down to you from the ether you’d take a moment to read them. There’s room in the budget for tiny parachutes, right?

3. There is a fully-stocked craft room here. THERE IS A FULLY STOCKED CRAFT ROOM. If there is happiness in life does it not come from hot-gluing stuff to other stuff?

Oct 25, 2013

The Monster & Me Costume Contest!!!

Monster really does need a costume for Halloween! Can you help him out? Show off what your children are wearing this year by entering the online Monster & Me™ Costume Contest between Monday, October 28, and Friday, November 1.

Submit pictures of your kids’ Halloween costumes and be entered to win a Monster & Me™ book and t-shirt!
  • Overall Best Costume winner receives a book and a t-shirt
  • Special categories (Best group, Scariest, and Funniest) each win 1 t-shirt
  • AND all entrants receive a 30% discount to use for the book or the t-shirt on the Scarletta website
  • How to enter: Like the Monster & Me Facebook Fan Page & send a message to the page with your photo, name, email, twitter account (if applicable), and special category consideration (if applicable).

    Entry rules:
    1. Entrants must reside in the United States, including Alaska, Hawaii, and outlying territories.
    2. Entries must be received between 9:00 AM Central Time, Monday, October 28, and 10:00 AM Central Time, Friday, November 1.
    3.Winners will be selected at 12:00 PM Central Time Friday, November 1.

    Oct 10, 2013

    Why Scarletta is the Best, Why My Book Kicks Butt, and How I Became The Greatest Children's Book Author That Ever Lived!

    Okay, so I may have used some superlative terms in titling this blog post, but that's what you get when you don't send your editor a title!

    (OK, I didn't tell Paul I needed one, and I mostly wanted to make a title that was sure to grab your attention. In fact, barely any of the title is addressed in this delightful guest post from Mr. Czajak, but you're reading this and playing along so I think I've adequately done my job.)

    To kick off the Monster Needs a Costume Blog Tour: A guest post by our very own beloved author of this fantastic book, Paul Czajak.  Thanks for reading! 

    Oct 9, 2013

    Meet Denzel!

    Take a minute to meet our newest Marketing/PR intern: Denzel!

    For someone who spends so much of their time talking about himself, I'm surprisingly bad at this typed out introduction thing. Perhaps it's the fear that it will be forever immortalized online. But more so I imagine it's the enticement of the delete key, the ability to rephrase a hundred times until everything sounds perfect.
    I should avoid the delete key, lest I transform myself into some sort of superman beyond reproach. 

    Here goes.

    My name is Denzel and I'm new here. Well, new enough. I've been in Minnesota long enough that the idea of being from anywhere else feels as weird as it is true. Minneapolis is my home, and that will remain forever true. I've always been a city kid, and the Central Library is as much my place of study as any university has ever been. I'm a book lover but my collection has not grown much in the past few years, instead books cycle in and out as they change hands from friend to friend and a copy of my favorite book has travelled further from home than I have. My love of books stems in part from my love of foreign lands, and of history.

    Oct 8, 2013

    Monster Needs a Blog Tour

    Monster Needs a Blog Tour to embrace the autumn scene:
    a fun and spooky journey that lasts through Halloween!

    With reviews and books and interviews, and giveaways to win,
    there's so much fun and happiness we'll have to jump right in!

    That's right blogger buds! We're celebrating Paul Czajak and his new hit picture book Monster Needs  A Costume with a blog tour around the interwebs!  

    Not familiar with the concept of a blog tour? Have no fear: nor was I until this afternoon.

    For the next few weeks, we'll be linking to other blogs around the Internet to share new thoughts on the first book in the Monster & Me series 

    Check back on Thursday, October 10th for a feature post from The Family That Reads Together! 

    Then, on Monday the 14th: A guest post from Paul Czajak will be available right here on the Scarletta blog!

    The 17th will see an interview with Colby Sharp and his classroom over ar Sharpreads.

    With more dates to come, you'll want to leave a bookmark right here!

    So, til Thursday, have a monstrously marvelous beginning to your Halloween season!

    Sep 30, 2013

    Betsy brings home the gold

    Not only does Betsy’s Day at the Game deserve to bring home the gold, but Greg Bancroft’s delightful book did just that with a recent Mom’s Choice® Gold Award.

    We couldn’t be more proud of this little book! Plus who doesn’t get excited about putting little round gold stickers on books? Only book nerds? Naaahhh, we do! ;) It’s something like a celebration when you see that book cover with an award sticker.

    This award came at a perfect time too. We’re wrapping up the baseball season in the sports world (don’t forget to check out the upcoming playoff games starting tomorrow night!) with a little gold sticker for a great kid’s baseball book. Besides, everyone enjoys a good book as the fall months roll in.

    So how can you help us celebrate?

  • Think about purchasing a copy direct from our website. We’ll even throw in a discount of $2 off the book! Just type in coupon code mcgold13 at checkout. Offer good through October 31.

  • Display and sell the book in your store! (Hey, it fits the season!)

  • Spread the word with some social media: #BetsyGoesGold

  • Read the book and love it? Show the love by writing a customer review on either Goodreads or Amazon!

  • Leave a congratulatory comment on Betsy's Facebook fan page
  • Aug 27, 2013

    30 Day Challenge: Day 30

    Day 30: Your Favorite Book

    FINAL DAY! Aren't you just overly excited about finding out our favorite books of all time!? Well, we're excited to share! But first, a little recap of our #30DayChallenge.

    We had some great moments talking about our favorite characters, you discovered how passionate we are about our favorite writers, and you even caught a glimpse of our personal lives, not to mention our bookshelves. Even though Josh's shelf was a little chaotic, and mine a little too neat, we wanted this challenge to be fun and also to show that we mean what we say here at Scarletta: "Publishers by Trade. Readers at Heart." We're voracious readers of a wide variety of books, and we hope our challenge has inspired our dear blog readers to pick up a few new books, or maybe look at a book in a new way. 

    Aug 26, 2013

    30 Day Challenge: Day 29

    Day 29: A Book Everyone Hated But You Liked

    Our penultimate post! How exciting. We've reached that point in the thirty day challenge that's almost a little tragic. It's been a fun few weeks of blogging. We've learned a lot, reflected a ton, and made assumptions and assertions that have been unpopular, well-loved, and debated. Books have a funny way of creating dialogue within the community that loves them.

    Today's prompt is a little trickier than most. It's hard to gauge just how disliked a book is relative to your love for it. So, I thought I would look to my Goodreads list and do a little cheating. It's nice to have a fairly comprehensive list of books to reference when you're stuck as I am today.

    Aug 23, 2013

    30 Day Challenge: Day 28

    Day 28: Favorite Title

    “Gradually the awful truth dawns on you: that Santa Claus was just the tip of the iceberg - 
    that your future will not be the rollercoaster ride you'd imagined, that the world occupied by your 
    parents, the world of washing the dishes, going to the dentist, weekend trips to the DIY superstore to 
    buy floor tiles, is actually largely what people mean when they speak of 'life'.” 

    Plenty, plenty, plenty to choose from today!

    A title is a tricky thing. It has to be clever, catching, and all-together meaningful to the manuscript. And appealing! It has to have that X-factor, the ish, the it! That's what makes titles so tricky, folks. The title is responsible for the initial impression and is the most lasting way we communicate with and about a book.

    Aug 22, 2013

    30 Day Challenge: Day 27

    Day 27: Most Surprising Plot Twist or Ending

    I thought about being generic and choosing Fight Club, but we don't talk about Fight Club. (Yeah, I went there.) But then I thought, why be generic, so I'm picking The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. 

    Long before reading the book, I had seen the following review on Goodreads: "If you love to read and if you love to care about the characters you read about and if you love to eat words like they're ice cream and if you love to have your heart broken and mended on the same page, this book is for you." How could I not eventually pick up this book? It definitely took a while to read due to the complexity and the interweaving plot lines, but so worth it. There are definitely those out there who don't like it/vehemently hate it, so I'm not going to necessarily recommend it. However, I will say that if you pick it up, to keep an open mind on why people like it. Once you finish the book, you'll understand why. 

    Aug 21, 2013

    30 Day Challenge: Day 26

    Day 26: A Book that Changed Your Opinion

    “The single greatest lesson the garden teaches is that our relationship to the planet need not be zero-sum, and that as long as the sun still shines and people still can plan and plant, think and do, we can, if we bother to try, find ways to provide for ourselves without diminishing the world. ” 

    I thought this prompt would be incredibly taxing to write to. I'm not sure that we're always aware of our ever-changing minds, or the way our feelings and opinions wax and wane while learning from every aspect of our daily existence. Certainly we become aware of our changed thinking, but only after a certain amount of reflection. 

    I used to barista at the most lovely coffee shop in the entire world, River Rock Coffee in St. Peter, MN. With a strong focus on local product, sustainability, and high quality, River Rock was not only my favorite place to be throughout college, but, perhaps, where I did the most learning and growing as a human being. In many ways, River Rock as a community, as a school of thought, was responsible for the overhaul of my person. Still, there were a few books that assisted them along the way.

    Aug 20, 2013

    30 Day Challenge: Day 25

    Day 25: The Character You Most Relate To

    Over the past 25 days of this challenge, I've mentioned character a lot. I love character development. I can't say it enough. So when I read a book that gives me complete relation to a character, that makes me feel as if I am the character, then I obviously don't want the book to end. I almost feel like I should read it slower to make the feeling last longer. 

    Today is another day of indecision; once again I'm picking two, and for very similar reasons. Candy Quackenbush from Clive Barker's Abarat, and Isabella Strand from Molly Beth Griffin's Silhouette of a Sparrow, are my two most relatable characters.

    I'm not choosing Candy Quackenbush because she is from small-town (Chickentown, to be exact) Minnesota, but because of her desire and passion for the eccentric, the adventure, and the risk. Other than that, I'm probably not much like her, but since the books are all about the eccentric, the adventure, and the risk, I find her extremely relatable. Her desire for something more, and to leave the small town with it's mundane, cyclic lifestyle behind for something exciting. And when she does, she jumps at it (literally). I grew up in a small town that had that cyclic feeling, and I needed something bigger---something adventurous. My adventure just wasn't quite like Candy's journey to another world.

    Aug 19, 2013

    30 Day Challenge: Day 24

    Day 24: A Book You Wish More People Would Read

    There are plenty of books that I wish more people would read. This morning, particularly, I would love it if Minneapolis drivers would read more books on how to appropriately use their turn signals or correctly stop for pedestrians. Or perhaps a novel that highlights the best way to interact with your barista! Or a collection of short stories that emphasizes how terribly offensive and inappropriate racist, homophobic, sexist, misogynist, or ethnocentric hate speech is an everyday life but especially in a cramped, freezing elevator at 8:30 in the morning.

    But, you know, those are just random examples.

    Aug 16, 2013

    30 Day Challenge: Day 23

    Day 23: A Book You've Wanted to Read for a Long Time

    I have a long to-read list. But one that has been on there for a while is Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. I even got as far as purchasing a paperback version of the book, but I have yet to open it. Something always comes up, or someone has been recommending me books that I end up reading first.

    I have no specific reason for wanting to read this book; I just do. It’s described as a coming-of-age story that illustrates how strength of character and a love of literature can help overcome racism and trauma. I’m not big on more recent coming-of-age stories generally, but anything set in the first half of the 1900s, and anything written as an autobiography usually peaks my interest. Who knows, maybe it was the title itself that caught my eye. All that matters is that it is on my shelf, and hopefully someday soon I will read it.


    Full disclosure: there are currently 27 books on my 'to-read' shelf on Goodreads. That's a lot of books, y'all. And I know--I KNOW--that's not the extent of the list. It would be too embarrassing to include them all. There is just so much to read and too little time to do so. You've got to be choosy, I guess, when it comes to books.

    Tangentially, that is why I don't subscribe to the philosophy of finishing every book you pick up--too much good material out there to stick it out with the lackluster, the trite.

    There are plenty of titles I could rattle off today, but I am going to take another route for today's prompt. 

    The book I have most wanted to read for the longest time is not a book that hangs out on my shelf. It hasn't been on my nightstand for years. Actually, it's not even available! But soon...Oh-so-soon.

    I've been waiting on The Goldfinch for years. YEARS, people. When I discovered The Little Friend by Donna Tartt, all I wanted to do was read everything she'd ever written. Short stories, journal entries, dissertations, poetry: Just. Everything. Finally, last year, it was announced that she had a new book heading our way this coming October. 

    I have been shivering with anticipation ever since.

    Is it October 22nd yet?


    Aug 15, 2013

    30 Day Challenge: Day 22

    Day 22: Favorite Book on Your Bookshelf

    I decided some of these prompts are too similar. I mean, how can I tell you about my favorite book I own without giving away my favorite book of all time (Day 30)!?! So I decided to be more creative today and take a photo of my largest bookshelf (no, this is definitely not all our books.) I love almost all the books I own, and so I display them with pride. You can see there is quite a varied taste of reading material on the shelves, so we are never bored.


    Doesn't Desiree's bookshelf look entirely too organized?! It sort of puts my bookshelves to shame. Still, I am definitely stealing her idea.

    I agree that this prompt is entirely too similar to a few of the others. And, let's be clear, my favorite book on my bookshelf is also my favorite book! 

    Spoiler alert: IT'S IN THIS PHOTO SOMEWHERE!

    This bookshelf is, unfortunately, double stacked. There is another whole layer of books behind the ones up front, but I just haven't had the time to spread them out to my other bookshelves around the house. 

    So, yes, this is a small sample of the books around the place, but I think this shelf, in particular, is a great representation of my book taste: wonderfully varied, but always in great taste.

    What's your favorite book on our bookshelves?