A Powerful Pitch: Jared Sams’ Vibrant Vision for Qianna and the Quantum Train
December 22, 2023
When Jared Sam’s pitch for Qianna and the Quantum Train arrived at Capstone, it was instantly clear that this series was something special. Literally bursting with vibrant colors and modern, hip-hop flair, Jared’s graphic novel series promised to introduce young readers to diverse thinkers of the past in a whole new way and with a truly authentic voice.
6 Children's Books Featuring Black Characters
December 21, 2023
With stories highlighting everyday to extraordinary experiences, here are some of our favorite books that celebrate Black joy. Featuring Black primary characters, these positive stories center on Black children being their beautiful, smart, curious, creative, fun-loving selves.
Spooktacular Tales of Every Child!
October 1, 2023
For readers who love scary books, we have the ultimate reading list of the best scary stories for kids. These 9 series are just spooky enough to be enjoyed by every child.
Hearing My Island Sing: The Importance of Music in Puerto Rico with Author Adriana Erin Rivera
August 28, 2023
In Paloma’s Song for Puerto Rico: A Diary from 1898, Paloma writes a song of hope for her island homeland during the midst of the Spanish- American War when the U.S. military invaded Puerto Rico. The song “Hear My Island Sing” expresses Paloma’s love for the sounds of the island as the future of Puerto Rico is uncertain.
10 Back-to-School Tips From Shannon McClintock Miller
August 11, 2023
This is one of my favorite times of the year as we get ready for a new year at school and in the library with our students and teachers. We dream up amazing ideas, bring back routines that have worked in the past, and look for ways to make each day meaningful, special, and fun for everyone within our school community. Here are 10 of my favorite back-to-school tips!
Ali the Great: A Conversation With Author Saadia Faruqi
July 27, 2023
In 2018, young readers first met Yasmin, a creative and curious second grader with a big imagination ready to face any adventure. Readers immediately fell in love with Yasmin and her multi-generational Pakistani-American family. This fall, Yasmin's good friend Ali stars in his own early chapter series, Ali the Great. Capstone Managing Editor Kristen McCurry Mohn sat down with author Saadia Faruqi to talk about the inspiration behind her new series.
The Fantastic Freewheeler: A Conversation with Author Molly Felder
April 25, 2023
As a children’s book editor, I’ve worked on my fair share of superhero stories. But recently, I had the absolute pleasure of helping to bring to life a hero that’s unlike any other—the Fantastic Freewheeler! Author Molly Felder brings an authentic voice to this full-color graphic novel series that stars Drew Daniels, aka the Fantastic Freewheeler, a kid superhero with cerebral palsy. With his brain boost superpower, Drew can learn all about something through a single touch and uses this ability to solve problems big and small. Fast-paced and funny, these adventures are perfect for middle-grade readers and anyone who’s looking for inclusive stories. I spoke with Molly about her graphic novel debut.
Sense of Play: Author's Note
April 21, 2023
Joy and Chip wake early for a full day of play. Inside, outside. Riding bikes, reading books. Taking turns, sharing treats. And no day is complete without creating an adventure with their imaginations. Chip is Blind. Joy has sight. Their day is filled with so much more than play.
In her new picture book Sense of Play, author Dana Meachen Rau describes a simple, joyful day between siblings celebrating the senses beyond sight—the sounds, smells, tastes, and textures that make playing together so much fun. Read Dana’s Author’s Note below to learn more about her personal connection to the story Sense of Play.
14 Great Books to Support Disability Inclusion
April 19, 2023
As a former elementary teacher, some of my fondest memories are curating my classroom library and helping students discover just the right book for them. We know intuitively as educators, as well as from neuroscience and psychology, that students need to feel physically and emotionally safe before they can effectively learn. The young people in our classrooms need to feel a deep, authentic sense of belonging and community in order to progress academically, socially, and emotionally. One of many pathways toward building inclusion is through our classroom texts.
First But Forgotten: A Conversation With Authors Dr. Artika R. Tyner and Leticia Gonzales
February 10, 2023
Whenever someone asks me what I like most about being an editor, my answer is simple—I like how much I learn as an editor. Working on First But Forgotten is no exception. I have learned a lot about some remarkable women of color, including Sarah Keys Evans, Annie Turnbo Malone, and Sylvia Mendez. I spoke with authors Leticia Gonzales and Dr. Artika R. Tyner about their experience working on this project.
Diversity is a Gift: A Conversation with Author Rachel Werner
January 19, 2023
As an acquisitions editor, I have the privilege of reading incredible stories every day. However, finding the right fit for our pub list can be a challenge. Four lines into Rachel Werner’s story about the Fillmore District in San Francisco, I knew this book was perfect for Capstone. I read it over and over, finding the lyrical and flowing text more beautiful each time.
From music to art to poetry, creativity filled the air in the Fillmore District. The creativity and inclusion brought communities together—with no exceptions. Everyone was welcome, and everyone was accepted.
Meet the Author: Judy Allen Dodson
January 3, 2023
The Ashe Brothers: How Arthur and Johnnie Changed Tennis Forever is a story that transcends sports. We sat down with archivist, librarian, and author Judy Allen Dodson to talk about her picture book debut, a layered story about sibling love and sacrifice.
5 Things I Wish Educators Would Think About When Teaching Black History Month
January 2, 2023
Black History Month serves as an invitation to build an inclusive classroom by engaging all learners. It can provide students with an opportunity to find inspiration from Black leaders who have made a difference. A student may be inspired by NASA’s first Black female engineer, Mary W. Jackson, to explore a career in STEM. While another student may decide to become an entrepreneur after learning about Reginald Lewis, the first Black business leader to build a billion-dollar company. Through my writings, I seek to inspire Black children to find the role models that motivate them to learn, grow, and lead. It follows the notion that you cannot be what you cannot see.
13 Scary Stories for Kids
September 27, 2022
For readers who love scary books, we have the ultimate reading list of the best scary stories for kids. These 13 scary stories are just spooky enough to be fun and entertaining but won’t keep readers up all night.
Our scary stories list features spine-tingling chapter books, creepy graphic novels, frightening hi-lo for striving and reluctant readers, and terrifying nonfiction – a chilling tale for every reader! As a bonus, all of these books are part of larger series so if your reader likes one, there’s many more spooky adventures to try. Here are our favorite scary stories for readers who delight in the fright and want to devour every terrifying tale. . .
The Fabric of Culture
September 9, 2022
I was born in Guatemala. It is the country south of Mexico. In Guatemala, they weave beautiful fabrics with bright colors. Each thread is essential. The thread by itself is just one color, but woven with the other colors makes a magical creation! The same is true with every individual. Each child has unique stories and experiences that make them who they are.
15 Perfect Back-to-School Books!
September 2, 2022
Back-to-school can be an exciting time, but also one filled with uncertainty and big feelings. Books can be a perfect way to start conversations about all of the changes and the emotions that children may be feeling. From common school worries like being away from home or fitting in, to reintroducing important social emotional learning skills and personal hygiene, here are some of our favorite books to ease kids back to school. If you’re looking for the perfect read for back-to-school, we have you covered!
Celebrating Ukraine: A Conversation with Author Oksana Lushchevska
August 15, 2022
When Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022, Capstone was moved to provide support in the best way we know how—by creating a book. Not just any book, but a book that would honor the people of Ukraine and provide monetary support. Throughout the process, we were fortunate to work with celebrated Ukrainian children’s author Oksana Lushchevska. The proceeds from her book Blue Skies and Golden Fields: Celebrating Ukraine will be donated to Ukrainian relief organizations.
Top 8 Graphic Novels for Young Readers!
June 28, 2022
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: Graphic Novels are REAL books! Kids today are choosing the sequential art-style more than ever. There is no better time for having kids choose their own books than summer break! So, when the young reader in you life reaches for a more graphically pleasing piece of literature, fear not! We’ve got you covered for the top 8 graphic novels for the young reader in your life!
Meet the Author/Illustrator: Jay Albee
June 14, 2022
Jay Albee is the pen name for an LGBTQ+ couple named Jen Breach and J. Anthony. Between them they’ve done lots of jobs: archaeologist, illustrator, ticket taker, and bagel baker, but now they write and draw all day long in their row house in South Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Reasons to Let Children Choose Their Own Books
May 4, 2022
It’s well known that reading has many benefits, especially for children that are developing reading comprehension skills. Educators will always promote and encourage summer reading because it is the easiest way for children to maintain their reading skills they have picked up during the school year, and even improve those skills! So, how can you encourage summer reading and reading at home in order for your child or students to reap these benefits? The short answer is: Let them choose!
You Are Life: Author's Note
April 22, 2022
The genesis of a children’s book is not always a happy event. Motivated by the increased violence and cruelty against Asians and Asian Americans at the onset of the pandemic, author Bao Phi came to us with an idea for a book. By offering words as salve and balm and armor, he hoped to undo at least a bit of the hurt he knew children in his community were feeling. Read Bao’s Author’s Note to learn more about the story behind You Are Life.
Meet the Author: Dorothy H. Price
April 6, 2022
We Need Diverse Books Mentee Dorothy H. Price brings authentic voice and experience to her debut early chapter book series, Jalen’s Big City Life. Perfect for early reader fans of Yasmin, Katie Woo, and Pedro, the stories in Jalen’s Big City Life center on realistic adventures in a city setting and teach important lessons including kindness, responsibility, sharing, and respect. We recently sat down with Dorothy to talk more about her exciting new series!
Increase Access to Books in Your Community this Summer
March 28, 2022
When the final bell rings and the school year comes to a close, many children are setting foot into a summer long break from reading. This is known as the “summer slide” and refers to the learning loss that occurs when school is not in session, largely attributed a child’s lack of reading. But the absence of reading can’t merely be chalked up to children avoiding books for outdoor activities. A lot of children, specifically those in underserved communities, simply don’t have access to books.
Soaring in Style: Author's Note on Amelia Earhart
February 11, 2022
A first in flight. A first in fashion. Amelia Earhart was fearless.
One of the world’s most celebrated aviators, Amelia Earhart is an icon for her achievements in the sky. But you may not know that Amelia was also an incredibly creative and talented fashion designer. Her designs encouraged women to move freely and be just as active as men which was a highly unconventional idea at the time.
How Female Characters in Children's Books Empower Girls
February 10, 2022
Studies show that for every three books featuring male characters, there are two featuring female characters. In fact, it’s more likely a book will have no lead character than to have a female lead.
8 Book Series Featuring Strong Girl Characters
February 9, 2022
In celebration of Women’s History Month, we wanted to highlight some of our favorite strong girl characters in early chapter books and middle grade fiction. All written by women, these stories prominently feature girls who readers can relate to and admire...
When the Past meets the Present . . . While You’re Writing
January 21, 2022
1921 and 2021: separated by one hundred years, yet in some ways, not separate at all. The past always influences the present, and the present always reflects the past. But events during these two years—1921 and 2021—were hauntingly similar...
5 Standout Books on Democracy, Equity, & Equality
January 19, 2022
For Black History Month I wanted to curate a list of important books based upon the current cultural issues taking place throughout America today and to provide students with a greater understanding of how history can repeat itself to its own detriment if there is not a proper understanding of its history...
Share a Holiday Hug This Season!
November 23, 2021
This holiday season, Capstone and Buncee are teaming up for Holiday Hugs and we invite your classrooms to join us! Holiday Hugs helps spread cheer to children spending their holidays in the hospital with thoughtful ecards AND fun books. The more Holiday Hugs students create, the more books we’ll donate to Children’s Minnesota, a nonprofit pediatric health system...
Why We Celebrate Native American Heritage Month
November 5, 2021
November is Native American Heritage Month. Like Indigenous Peoples’ Day, which is celebrated in October, Native American Heritage Month is a chance to celebrate Indigenous resourcefulness, resistance, and resilience. It’s a recognition of Native peoples, cultures, and languages, and it’s an opportunity to honor our pasts, our presents, and our futures...
Favorite Picture Books to Teach Social Emotional Learning
October 29, 2021
I am so excited to introduce myself. My name is Joe Burns, and I am a new member of the Capstone curriculum team. Prior to joining Capstone, I spent 10 years teaching in public education ranging from kindergarten through fourth grade. I pride myself on being able to find unique, engaging, and authentic ways to present concepts to students. I have a passion for emotional intelligence and celebrating the diversity of school communities...
5 Creepy Cool Creatures
October 1, 2021
Big, orange eyes. Venomous fangs. A liquid diet of blood. A living body with no head.
These creatures are made for scary stories! But while some may call them creepy, we think they're pretty cool and a lot of kids do too! Who says a creature can’t be both frightening AND awesome anyway? We’ve gathered our top five favorite creepy and cool creatures. Help rewrite their scary narrative and share these fascinating creatures with your readers. Who knows, maybe you’ll even agree that what makes these critters creepy, is also very cool...
What Camila Means to Me as A Bicultural POC
August 16, 2021
Bicultural…I’m not sure when I learned the word, but I remember the exact moment when I learned the idea. I was about 9 years old. I was invited to my neighbor’s house for dinner. They were white, monocultural (as far as I know) Americans. They had customs I had never been exposed to like cloth napkins and table settings, but those weren’t the moment. The moment came when the main dish was served: fried chicken. Up until then, my culinary experience had been limited to mole, caldo, tortillas, rice, and beans. Even my few excursions to restaurants had been limited to Mexican restaurants. Fried chicken was otherworldly. Fried chicken was exotic. That dinner was my introduction to the idea that the culture I grew up with and the culture that surrounded me were not the same, although both were a part of me...