Jan 29, 2013

A Note From Lexy, Scarletta's Editorial Intern

So often, interns are belittled to coffee runs or stuffing envelopes. Fortunately, my experience as Scarletta's fall editorial intern was much more valuable, and due to Scarletta's small size and friendly staff, I got to be very involved in many of the steps it takes to take words on a page and turn them into a book.

My first responsibility was to read through new submissions and organize them. I was surprised no only by the huge amount of submissions a small Minnesota press got, but also by the wide range of content that spanned every genre and character imaginable. It was clear that this was a very busy, yet very creative environment, one where everybody's vision and talent helped to create the finished product.

The launch of Scarletta Kids brought piles of picture books to our desks. Envisioning the colorful illustrations and whimsical characters, then brainstorming with the rest of the staff about what the manuscript would allow the designers and illustrators to do, pushed our imaginations. Seeing how words become a playful puppet show or an interactive e-book indicated that books are not remaining static, but becoming more dynamic, creative, and interactive, especially for young readers.

Every detail is considered and re-worked until the color scheme, font, and illustrations come together to bring the words to life. I realized over my four months that the many small steps in this process and the decisions made are what gives each publisher their own specific fingerprint on the books published. That cover, that type, those words-- they have been mulled over and picked for specific reasons. Each of the designers, marketers, and editors at Scarletta make up a team of some of the most innovative and imaginative people I have worked alongside. With the new imprints, a stronger social media presence, a new website, and magnificent spring books, there is an energy in the office that I was not expecting in what so many have deemed to be a dying industry. These books are the final product of so many talented people and their creative vision.

Every time I walk into a bookstore with its packed shelves, or crack open a new book, I will be reminded of the collaboration of bright minds that sparked each one into being. I am excited for Scarletta going forward, and though my time with them is over, it seems like a new direction for them is just beginning!


Jan 24, 2013

Spread the Love: Apply to Be a World Book Night Giver

Full disclosure: this is our please-apply-to-be-a-World-Book-Night-giver blog post.
The deadline is fast-approaching (ok, it's tomorrow!), so if you've been having internal debates, or even external ones, about whether or not to apply, we're here to settle the argument and tell you to APPLY!
For those of you who don't know about World Book Night (or WBN), it takes place on April 23, and over the course of one night, thousands of givers hand out over half a million specially printed books to people who don't normally read that much. In places as varied as bus stops, coffee shops, shelters, and grocery stores, people go outside of their comfort zones to spread the love of reading and hand out a book to someone. It's a magical thing.
Last year was the first time it took place in the U.S. and it was a resounding success. Here are some of the quotes from WBN's website:

“Gave a book to a woman this morning, who took it with tears in her eyes. She told me that she rarely gets to the library and cannot afford to buy new books on her own. She graciously took the book, opened it up, smelled the pages, said ‘God bless you, my child,’ and walked away clutching her new found treasure. Makes me tear up too, thinking about what a difference we are making today!” – Adrian
“Tonight I had a high school boy say, ‘I’m new to the whole reading for fun thing,’ and then show me the books he got for #wbnamerica.” – Lauren
“I gave

The Kite Runner to a veteran who had been stationed in Afghanistan. He was very excited to read the book and ‘learn something about the place and gain some understanding.’ So rewarding. Thank you to the organizers, authors and publishers!” – Jennifer “Shared my books with ESL students tonight. They were so excited and a bit surprised that it was for ‘enjoyment,’ not ‘homework.’ Thanks for a wonderful idea.” – Kevin “It was great to walk back by where I had been and see people already reading!!” – Colleen
This year--with over 2,000 library and bookstore partners, and events that will be hosted around the country--things prove to be just as exciting. It really is a wonderful night and a great thing to be a part of, so like we said before, APPLY! In fact, we'll make it really easy for you, here is the link directly to the application. The only hard part is deciding which book to give...

Jan 14, 2013

How Characters Are Created - From Idea to Full Illustration

Most children's book editors will tell you that when they read a manuscript for the first time, they are always thinking about the potential illustrations. Which lines will go in the spread? What action will be illustrated? How can the illustrations and the text work together? What will the characters look like? What style of illustrations do we want?

All of these questions, and more, run through our minds when we are working on a new picture book, but the last two are especially important early on. Many people might not realize that characters can go through many phases before they become what ultimately ends up in the book. And that is exactly what happened with one of our new picture books, Monster Needs a Costume by Paul Czajak, which will be the first in a new series called Monster + Me and is being published this fall by Scarletta Kids. It's an adorable rhyming story about a monster who keeps changing his mind about what to dress up as for Halloween. Ultimately he learns that a little creativity and boldness makes for the best costume of the night. Obviously, that fun and creativity needed to come across in the illustrations as well, and over the last month, we have been working with our wonderful illustrator, Wendy Grieb, to come up with the perfect look for Monster and the little boy who takes care of him.

We can't talk enough about how great of an illustrator Wendy is. Right away she had a ton of ideas for Monster, and sent us countless sketches. Here are a few of them:

We always knew from the text that Monster is big. He has an innocence about him, but he's definitely huge and has a significant presence in the room. So the one highlighted above seemed closest to what we were after: burly and big, but friendly. Working off of that description, we got to these (aren't they cute?):

Jan 4, 2013

A Preview of What's to Come: 2013 Books

New years are a time for new resolutions, new beginnings, new relationships, new... everything. For us, 2013 is going to be an exciting year. After all, this past year was full of exciting changes for us, including a new website, new logos, new staff members, and new imprints. This year, as we may have mentioned before, we are expanding our list and publishing more titles than we ever have. And instead of keeping it all to ourselves, we thought we'd share a bit about what's coming out soon and what we're working on for later in the year. Take a look and let us know which one you're most excited about!


Nalah and the Pink Tiger (March 12)
By Anne Sawyer-Aitch

Nalah and the Pink Tiger is about a rambunctious little girl who lives so intensely in her imagination that grown-ups view her as a troublemaker. Things come to a head when, in addition to all the exotic animals that Nalah has “placed” in the house, a pink tiger “follows” her home from the zoo and creates havoc. 

Nalah and the Pink Tiger also takes the form of a puppet show put on by the author/illustrator in both English and Spanish versions.

Find out more from the book's website, download the app, or keep up to date by liking the Facebook page

A Day at the Lake (March 20)
by Stephanie Wallingford and Dawn Rynders, illustrated by Erica Pelton Villnave 

Flippity flop and splash your way through this colorful trip to the lake. Jump in with your senses and play with rhymes as you experience the waves, the boats, and the many animals. This cheery book follows three children as they enjoy the simple pleasures and rare glimpses that nature offers us around the lake.

A Day at the Lake is told using all five senses, and teaches children vowels and sound effects. Contemporary, large, and brightly colored illustrations bring this story to life. Simple, short text leaves much to the reader's imagination as they experience their own day at the lake.

Like the book's Facebook page for all sorts of lake facts and fun!

Betsy's Day at the Game (April 9)
by Greg Bancroft, illustrated by Katherine Blackmore

Betsy loves hanging out with her grandfather, especially at the ballpark. Today is another game day, and Betsy is ready to show her grandpa all she's learned about keeping score. Best of all, some exciting things are about to happen at today's game. As the anticipation builds, Betsy keeps track of it all—foul balls, home runs, and favorite players.

This heartwarming story about a family tradition and America's favorite pastime includes a fully illustrated scorecard. With great illustrations, Betsy's Day at the Game teaches kids how to fill out a scorecard, and encourages them to share their memories with their families.

And if you love baseball, the Betsy's Day at the Game Facebook page is for you.