Friday, August 18, 2017

Author Interview: Cynthia & Sandy Levinson

In a conversation about their forthcoming book, authors Cynthia and Sanford Levinson describe their process for creating Fault Lines in the Constitution and explain why it's a much-needed addition to the canon of books about the Constitution for young readers.

Q: When you began working on Fault Lines in the Constitution, did you have any idea how timely and relevant it would be?

Cynthia: When we started working on the book in June 2012, we actually did know that it would be timely and relevant. We just didn’t anticipate in what ways it would be timely or how interested the public would become in the Constitution.

Sandy: I’ve long believed that our founding document is at the root of many problems in American politics but that people aren’t aware of it. My first book on this issue, Constitutional Stupidities, came out in 1998—nearly 20 years ago. Since then, I’ve written three more books on how the Constitution promotes injustice, gridlock, and undemocratic decision-making.

Donald Trump’s Electoral College win and his inauguration as president—despite his loss to Hillary Clinton by nearly three million votes in the popular election—woke up the public to this aspect of the Constitution. People seem even more incensed now than in 2000, when George W. Bush became president after losing the national popular vote to Al Gore. Since Trump took office, people have started paying attention to such obscure sections of the Constitution as the Emoluments Clause and the Twenty-fifth Amendment.

Q: President Donald Trump has said the Constitution is “archaic.” Do you agree?

Sandy: Yes, we agree with the president’s statement that the Constitution is archaic. As we write in the book, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg made the same point during a visit to Cairo in 2012. Their reasons for saying so, though, are probably different from each other’s. The document has proved to be at least somewhat dysfunctional since 1787 and simply does not serve us—a 50-state nation spanning over 5,000 miles and encompassing 325 million people—very well while facing 21st-century threats.
Q: There are many books out there about the Constitution. Why is Fault Lines in the Constitution so important? And why now?

: Fault Lines in the Constitution is different from other books for young readers in two major ways. First, the book focuses on the structure of our government, rather than on the rights that we have as citizens, as many other books do. Second, it focuses on how the Constitution does not work, rather than on what a great job the Framers did in creating our form of government. So, we don’t proceed through the document in order, explaining each section.

Cynthia: To give examples, with the exception of issues surrounding habeas corpus, we don’t discuss the Bill of Rights much at all. Instead, we highlight the inequities caused by the fact that every state, no matter the size of its population, has two votes in the Senate. Furthermore, we bore in on such problems as states having control over voting procedures and restrictions on running for Congress. At the same time, we unabashedly leapfrog over entire articles!

Q: Why is it important for young people, specifically, to know our Constitution and to look at it critically?

Cynthia: Young people feel fervently about unfairness. They want to live in—and take action to create—a society that is just and equitable. Some aspects of our Constitution promote those qualities; other, fundamental ones undermine them. Helping middle graders and high schoolers understand the underside of our system can encourage them to change it. In the book, we discuss ways they can do so.

Sandy: In addition, they will vote. Fully informed and concerned citizens are essential to establish and maintain a democracy.

Q: What do you think about the state of civics education and constitutional literacy in our youth? And what role can Fault Lines in the Constitution play?

Cynthia: Alas, there is widespread agreement that civics education has been vanishing from our schools over the last several decades. This is especially unfortunate given the increasing numbers of immigrants, who are unfamiliar with our system of government and the role they can play. Even kids and too many adults who have grown up here are unfamiliar with the fundamentals of our democratic system.

Fault Lines can engage young people in civics class because it’s honest. And, it doesn’t all take place in the 18th century! Unlike most books, which laud the Constitution and the Framers, ours is candid about specific ways that the Framers’ compromises affect all of us, including kids, today. We also describe other—frankly, better—ways of doing things, such as registering voters and electing presidents. Our democracy may be the oldest but we’ve hardly worked out all the kinks. Students will find it enlightening to look at other models.

We hope teachers will take advantage of Fault Lines to re-introduce civics into daily debates and discussions. And, surely, everyone will want to give the Constitution a grade, the way we do!

Q: Does Fault Lines in the Constitution present a particular political perspective?

Sandy: We believe the book is fair and even-handed. We are particularly pleased that people with a range of political views support Fault Lines. Journalist Dan Rather and Ted McConnell, who is executive director of the Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools, as well as Wallace Jefferson, a Republican former chief justice of the Texas Supreme Court, all endorsed the book.

Rather says it will be “controversial.” McConnell calls it “entertaining” and “thought provoking.” Jefferson finds it “compelling.” There is something for everyone.

Q: Has co-authoring the book been a challenging process?

Cynthia: Certainly! As we drafted the book, I posted periodically on social media about the process of our co-authoring it. There were even times when it was exasperating! Overall, though, we found it informative and rewarding.

Sandy: I had to agree to eliminate extraneous words I’m fond of, like “indeed.” Cynthia had to figure out how to translate my academic-ese to a kid-friendly narrative. There are still some topics we disagree on—ranging from how to pronounce “gerrymander” to our debate on the necessity (me) or foolhardiness (Cynthia) of another constitutional convention.

Cynthia: But the most challenging part has been keeping the book updated.

Q: Yes! You’ve had to go back and revise certain chapters in the book relating to topics such as gerrymandering, filibusters, the electoral college, and even the passage of an ERA amendment in Nevada. What did you do to address these changes quickly and accurately?

Sandy: Chapter 4, which focuses on requirements for supermajority votes in Congress, particularly for overcoming a filibuster, has been, from the beginning, one of the most uncertain and evolving chapters. Initially, we debated at length whether a chapter on Senate rules belongs in the book altogether. After all, although the Constitution does stipulate that agreement by more than half of Congress is needed for some decisions, such as treaties and overriding presidential vetoes, it doesn’t require senators to filibuster. It merely allows both houses to adopt their own operating procedures. Nevertheless, the filibuster—or the threat of one—is a very prominent way that the Senate operates—or fails to—these days.

Cynthia: Also, Sandy predicted early on that this house might change its rules after the 2016 presidential election. He was right! But we had to send the Advanced Readers Copy to print before they took this action. Three days later, when they did, we re-wrote the chapter and sent the new one to reviewers.

And that was just the beginning of the updates. Given decisions by federal courts on gerrymandering, recent state-level changes in voting requirements, and increased public interest in the Constitution, we’ve made other revisions in both the text and graphics. Our editor has been extremely patient and supportive!

Q: How do you plan to address future changes? 

: Fault Lines in the Constitution is an inherently news-responsive book. We joked that it should be published in three-ring binders, and we’d send loose-leaf updates. I then proposed a subscription website, which was also a joke. 

Cynthia: Thankfully, we have a blog on which we’ll post updates both regularly and on an as-needed basis. We look forward to getting readers’ responses, including suggestions from students that might entail revisions prompted by the news.

Q: Lastly, what do you hope readers get out of this book? 

: My previous books all dealt with social justice in various ways—through civil rights in We’ve Got a Job and The Youngest Marcher, through racial, national, economic, and religious diversity in Watch Out for Flying Kids, and through doing good in Hillary Rodham Clinton. Fault Lines in the Constitution also follows this pattern. I hope it helps further very important discussions taking place today among young people.

Sandy: We state at the outset that the Preamble sets worthy goals for the Constitution. One of these is to “establish justice.” In the end, we grade the document on how well it meets the goals, and we give it a low score on this one. We hope the book will encourage young people to revise or work around the Constitution so that our system is more just.

Find more information about the book hereFault Lines in the Constitution will be at your local library, indie bookstore, or Barnes & Noble on September 1st!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

New Book News: Fault Lines in the Constitution

Many of the political issues we struggle with today have their roots in the US Constitution, and when you connect a long-established, little-changed document like the Constitution to the repercussions it’s caused, the document can remain static while the repercussions continue to reverberate. Enter: Fault Lines in the Constitution: The Framers, Their Fights, and the Flaws that Affect Us Today.

Focusing on the political fallout in our times from the decisions made in 1787, husband-and-wife team Cynthia and Sanford Levinson take readers back to the creation of this historic document and discuss how contemporary problems were first introduced—then they offer possible solutions. Think Electoral College, gerrymandering, even the Senate.

Many of us take these features in our system for granted. But they came about through haggling in an overheated room in 1787, and we’re still experiencing the ramifications.

While most books for young readers about the Constitution focus on our rights as citizens and praise the Framers for creating our form of government, Fault Lines in the Constitution looks at the document with a critical eye, focusing on the structure of our government and how the Constitution does not always work. Even with a diminishing presence of civic literacy and government history in education, Cynthia and Sanford Levinson encourage exploration and discussion from young and old readers alike by making a 230-year-old document relevant to today’s society.

Join co-authors Cynthia and Sanford Levinson in a conversation surrounding the continual and consistent repercussions we are experiencing from the Constitution today at!

“Insightful… Much food for thought on the application and relevance of many of the Constitution’s stipulations. Essential for class discussions, debate teams, and reports.” —School Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

“A fascinating, thoughtful, and provocative look at what in the Constitution keeps the United States from being ‘a more perfect union.’” —Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

“Lately there’s been dismay that civics, government, and history have taken a backseat in classrooms. This smartly conceived book goes a long way toward reintroducing students to those subjects….the Levinsons link both history and current events as they offer an illustrative group of examples that show where the Constitution got it right—and wrong…. Although the font, charts, and well-written text make this appealing, it’s not always an easy read. It is, however, an important one.”

You can find Fault Lines in the Constitution at your local library, indie bookstore, or Barnes& Noble this September.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Guest Post: How to #BeDangerous by Diane Capriola

Jane Addams was an advocate for peace and was persistent in her efforts to help her community and support those in need. As part of our #BeDangerous campaign, we are encouraging everyone to be like Jane and tell us what they are doing to get involved and become agents of change. Decatur bookstore Little Shop of Stories is doing great things here in the Atlanta area, and co-owner Diane Capriola graciously provided us with details about what they as a bookstore are doing to engage the community and how they are encouraging others to "be dangerous."

At Little Shop of Stories, we like to say that children's books will save the world. Not only do we see ourselves in the books we read but we are also able to see beyond our own experiences and to understand what it is like for someone else. Books are great and vitally important conversation starters about different lives, different problems, and different solutions.

Using these ideas, we have created new programming in 2017 to engage our community in conversations through children's literature.

The Kindness Project came out of discussions we had here at the shop during and after the November election season. There was so much negativity, intolerance, and divisiveness during that time that we really were concerned about the impact of it all on the children we serve. We decided we wanted to encourage a discussion on kindness, compassion, and empathy within our community of readers as a way to help families consider ways to think and act differently despite this negativity. Each month we focus on a different topic and provide book lists, workshops, and other activities that will help parents and teachers navigate conversations around these topics with children and teens.

Some examples of Kindness Project activities have included:

  • Our January story time about the Refugee Experience brought over 40 families to the shop. We worked with publishers to deliver hundreds of books to our very active refugee community. 
  • We conduct regular, robust story times highlighting picture books filled with diverse peoples and cultures. 
  • Our Gender Fluidity Workshop helped to create new support systems for parents and their children and teens. 
  • We held an April Poetry Workshop for kids to understand themselves and others through poetry. 
  • We've raised $130 in donations for shipping books to military families all over the US. That's like 16 or 17 boxes of books!
This summer's Camp Be The Change endeavored to take the Kindness Project one step furtherto encourage children to move from idea to action and to celebrate the amazing ways that they too can make a difference in the world around them. Campers learned about influential figures in history who have fought to make the world a better place, from Susan B. Anthony to Representative John Lewis. They also learned about kids like them who have chosen to take a stand to change their communities. Topics ranged from random acts of kindness to civil liberties, and campers explored ways to improve and support their own communities.

We're a bookstore, and we believe in the power of stories, and sharing those stories. We're not looking to do what non-profits do, or what other, better equipped or already established forms of outreach are doing. Instead, we are looking to initiate thoughtful action in ourselves and others through sharing one another's stories.

To learn more about Little Shop of Stories and their 2017 programming, visit their website.
Have a great example of how you make a difference in your community? Let us know on Facebook and Twitter to enter our #BeDangerous sweepstakes!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Dangerous Jane Sweepstakes

"Nothing could be worse than the fear that one had given up too soon, and had left one effort unexpended which might have saved the world." Jane Addams 

Jane Addams and all of us at Peachtree invite you to #BeDangerous and enter our Dangerous Jane Sweepstakes*! Jane’s passion for promoting peace and helping those in need, and her persistence and determination despite criticism, resonates in our communities now more than ever, and we want to hear the stories of all those who are carrying on Jane's activism work in their own communities. Learn more about Jane Addams here.

How to enter:

1. Make sure that you've followed us on Twitter, or liked our page on Facebook.

2. Reply and re-tweet our tweets, or reply with a comment on Facebook to the questions we will be posting daily from August 14th to August 25th (including weekends). We’ll be asking different questions each day about civic engagement, literacy, and social justice.

3. Every reply & re-tweet or comment counts as an entry. Feel free to respond to any and all questions we ask, but you don’t have to respond to all of them to win. The more questions you tweet or comment about, the more entries you have in our sweepstakes!

What you’ll win:

A brand new copy of Dangerous Jane and several #BeDangerous buttons!

Ask yourself: How will you change the world today? 
Let us know on Twitter and Facebook starting August 14th!

Read about how bookstore Little Shop of Stories is engaging the community in a guest post written by co-owner Diane Capriola here!

*No purchase necessary to enter or win. Open only to legal residents of the 50 United States and Washington, D.C. who are 18 years of age or older as of date of entry. Sweepstakes will begin August 14th, 2017 and end August 25th, 2017 at 11:59pm EST. One winner will be selected randomly to receive the prize. Winners will be notified by August 30th, 2017. Void where prohibited.

Monday, August 7, 2017

New Book News: Dangerous Jane

Dangerous Jane, written by Suzanne Slade and illustrated by Alice Ratterree, is the energetic picture book biography of the Nobel Prize-winning woman the FBI once named “Most Dangerous Woman in America.” With a timely focus on activism, community, immigration, poverty, and peace, Dangerous Jane inspires readers young and old to live out her enduring message of hope.

From the time she was a child, Jane’s heart ached for others. At first, she focused her efforts on poverty, which lead to the creation of Hull House, the settlement house she built in Chicago. For the next 25 years she helped immigrants live at Hull House in peace. But when World War I broke out, Jane decided to take on the world, becoming a “dangerous” woman for the sake of peace.

“An attractive volume introducing an important American to young readers.” Kirkus Reviews

“In Slade’s and Ratterree’s hands, Addams’s legacy shines brightly for the next generation of advocates.” School Library Journal

“A straightforward introduction to the dedication and purpose of an American heroine.” Booklist

“An inspiring testament to the power of activism.” Publishers Weekly


Jane Addams is an American icon and hero who has many accomplishments attached to her name, but not everyone saw her that way during her efforts to bring peace to the world. To learn more about Jane Addams, her life, and her legacy, check out these great resources!

Read an Excerpt, explore the Dangerous Jane Teacher's Guide, and download the poster.

Jane Addams among advocates for peace during World War I.
See the original FBI files on Jane Addams when a treason investigation opened in 1924 involving the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, an organization that Addams helped found, here.

"Illinois Issues: Local icon shifts from lauded reformer to 'the most dangerous woman in America'" by Tara McClellan McAndrew, NPR Illinois

Jane Addams, Rockford University

The Jane Addams Papers Project, Ramapo College of New Jersey

Ask yourself: How will you change the world today?

You can pick up your copy of Dangerous Jane at your local library, indie bookstore, or Barnes & Noble.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Coming this Fall: New in Paperback

This season, we have a great list of humorous and touching stories coming out in paperback for readers of all ages! Whether you're looking for a fun picture book to share at storytime, an adventure-filled chapter book, or an eye-opening and inspiring YA novel, check out these award-winning books, now in a new format!

Picture Books

illustrated by John Sill

In this bilingual addition to the acclaimed About… series, educator and author Cathryn Sill presents the basic characteristics of what fish are. With beautifully detailed, realistic paintings, noted wildlife illustrator John Sill introduces readers to the diversity of the fish population, from an Arctic char to a Porcupine fish.

illustrated by Ali TeoJohn O'Reilly

Kyle Mewburn’s story of an overly affectionate aunt will resonate with readers, who will instantly recognize the bond of love that unites the two characters. Ali Teo and John O’Reilly’s colorful and quirky illustrations, which combine freehand drawing and photographic collage, exaggerate the humor of the story.

Another hilariously quirky tale from Alex Latimer, filled with visual puns, wordplay, and an entertaining and unique message about working together to defeat a bully.

Read an Excerpt.

"Readers will laugh at the surprise revelation that a colony of wily rabbits was in on the success. This quirky twist on ‘The Tortoise and the Hare’ is a winner.” ―School Library Journal
Middle Grade Books

Alison Hart offers young readers a dramatic story of rescue and survival featuring a plucky, determined protagonist. An author’s note provides more information about prairie life in the late nineteenth century and about the great storm that hit Nebraska in 1888, now known as “The School Children’s Blizzard.”
Read an Excerpt.

“Anna is a strong, appealing heroine, and the story is suspenseful.” ―School Library Journal

illustrated by Adam Gustavson

In the fifth book of the Charlie Bumpers series, Charlie is finally on the same soccer team as his two best friends, and they’re sure the Pirates will be the best team ever! But their high hopes are crushed on the first day of practice. Not only do they have a bunch of shrimpy and inexperienced teammates, their new coach doesn’t believe in star players. The first few games are a big disappointment to Charlie. So, if they can’t be on a winning team, Charlie thinks, maybe he, Tommy, and Hector can at least win the prize for selling the most candy bars for the fundraiser. For more on this series, visit the Charlie Bumpers website here.
Check out the Teacher's Guide or read an Excerpt.

“Master storyteller Harley scores again with fourth-grader Charlie Bumpers” ―Kirkus Reviews
illustrated by Alice Ratterree

For half her life, Lily has been trapped in a birdcage while her giant kidnapper sits beside her, writing in a leather-bound book the size of a house. But tonight she is escaping so she can find her way home to Lilliput. Inspired by Gulliver’s TravelsLilliput is an exhilarating and imaginative adventure filled with cunning escape plans, evil clock makers, and talkative parrots. 
Read an Excerpt.
“Cliffhanger chapter endings and vibrant language should quickly ensnare readers of this suspenseful takeoff from Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels… This literate romp through 18th-century London will have readers cheering Lily home.” ―Publishers Weekly
Young Adult Books

Jennifer can’t go on like this—binging, purging, starving, and all while trying to appear like she’s got it all together. But when she finally confesses her secret to her parents and is hospitalized at the Samuel Tuke Center, her journey is only beginning. Using her trademark dark humor and powerful emotion, J. J. Johnson tells an inspiring story based on her own experience when she was hospitalized for an eating disorder as a teenager. 

Read an Excerpt.

“Compelling and authentic, this story is impossible to put down… Perfect for fans of Laurie Halse Anderson’s Wintergirls (2009), Believarexic is a raw, memorable reading experience.” ―Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

Find these titles this fall at your local libraryindie bookstore, or Barnes & Noble. Check out our "New Season, New List" post to see our newest hardcovers for the Fall 2017 season!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

New Book News: About Habitats Seashores

About Habitats is celebrating its 10th Anniversary with About Habitats: Seashores! Get ready to feel the sand between your toes in the newest installment of Cathryn and John Sill’s award-winning nonfiction series.

Very young readers will learn about the fascinating ecology of where the ocean meets the land through simple, descriptive language and beautiful, accurate illustrations as they explore the varying coastlines all around the world. Some are rocky, some are muddy, and some are sandy. The special characteristics of seashores and the enchanting wildlife that live there will spark the interest of young scientists, encouraging them to take care of this increasingly threatened habitat.

An afterword, glossary, and list of resources provide more details about each of the illustrations, including how sand is created, why there are high and low tides, and why certain animals thrive in this particular environment. Teachers can use the precise and comprehensive back matter to assist with instruction for younger readers, and older children can help themselves to a plethora of fascinating knowledge and expand their nature vocabulary. There is also a teacher's guide available for the whole About Habitats series, and be sure to check out all the titles in the About Habitats series as well as the About series. 

 “The beautifully designed layout and succinct text combine with the back matter to offer very accessible nonfiction reading for the very young as well as early grade students.” —Kirkus Reviews

“With reliable information and attractive illustrations, this volume is a useful addition to a series celebrating its tenth year.”Booklist

Don't forget to enter our GoodReads giveaway for a chance to win an early copy of the book! 

Look for About Habitats: Seashores on August 1st at your local libraryindie bookstore, or Barnes & Noble.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Giveaway: About Habitats Seashores

A whole slew of new and wonderful books are on the horizon (check out our full Fall 2017 list) which means it's time for some giveaways. The first giveaway of the season is the gorgeous picture book About Habitats: Seashores from the award-winning author-illustrator duo Cathryn Sill and John Sill

About Habitats: Seashores is the eighth book in the About Habitats Series, marking ten years since the first title in the series came out! With simple, easy-to-understand language, this beginner's guide explores the major attributes of seashores and showcases their remarkable diversity using examples from around the globe. Learn more about these titles in the series Teacher's Guide.

Enter for your chance to win a copy in our GoodReads Giveaway! The giveaway will last one week, so make sure you enter soon!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

About Habitats by Cathryn P Sill

About Habitats

by Cathryn P Sill

Giveaway ends July 28, 2017.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

New Book News: Stanley's Numbers and Stanley's Opposites

Stanley has new adventures to share in the third and fourth installments of William Bee’s early concepts board book series: Stanley’s Numbers and Stanley’s Opposites.

In Stanley’s Numbers, Stanley and Little Woo plan a picnic party! Kids can count with Stanley as he and Little Woo work together by carrying the right amount of snacks, desserts, picnic supplies, party favors, and decorations to prepare for a perfect picnic party. They only need two cakes, but are six balloons enough? Stanley and Little Woo’s counting and hard work pay off when they can sit and celebrate a lively afternoon with friends.

Stanley fans can also learn about opposites in Stanley’s Opposites as they spend an action-packed day with their favorite hamster!  Kids begin the day with Stanley as he and Little Woo go on exciting adventures. The two friends learn about opposites as they play with motorcycles, canoes, trampolines, and more, showing the differences between concepts such as light and dark, in and out, and high and low. As the day comes to an end, young readers will recognize Stanley’s bedtime routine.

“Kids will be asking for these by name.” —School Library Journal 

Big news: Stanley has a new fan page! Get the inside scoop on all things Stanley with information on each book in the series and activity sheets to continue the fun, and sign up for the newsletter to keep up with the latest news for the hardest working hamster in the book business.

Look for these titles on August 1st at your local libraryindie bookstore, or Barnes & Noble.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Employee Spotlight: Katie McManus

It's our last Employee Spotlight of the summer! This week, we're excited to introduce Kate McManus, our Advertising and Marketing Manger. She's answered a few questions so that everyone can get to know her a little better.

Tell us about your history with Peachtree.

I started in magazine publishing in 1991. I was hired in my hometown of Norwalk, CT as an editorial associate at Teaching K-8 Magazine (a subsidiary of Highlights for Children). During my 17 years at Teaching K-8, I was promoted to Production Manager, Operations Manager and Associate Publisher. I had some really great role models. My bosses had been in publishing for many, many years and I learned a great deal from their experience and wisdom.

In 2003, my husband was relocated to GA with his company, so we packed our bags (and our 2-year-old twin boys) and started a new chapter of our lives in the south. I continued to work for Teaching K-8 from my home in Atlanta until the magazine closed its doors in 2008. Peachtree was one of our advertisers in the magazine and the Atlanta sales rep suggested I send my resume to Peachtree. Margaret Quinlin contacted me soon after that to see if I would be interested in joining the peaches on a consulting basis.

I started off reorganizing mailing lists, handling catalog distribution and managing our advertising and marketing process. Over the years, I have taken on more job functions from maintaining and distributing metadata to being part of the production team.

What are your top three favorite books, any genre?

Blueberries for Sal – Robert McCloskey (My Nana and I used to walk to the local library together and this was one of my favorites that she and I would read together.)

Lone Survivor – Marcus Luttrell

A Time to Kill – John Grisham

Who is your hero or role model and why?

I’ve got quite a few heroes/role models. As I mentioned earlier, I learned so much from my bosses at Teaching K-8 Magazine. Allen Raymond and Patricia Broderick taught me about publishing, the importance of always acting in a professional manner, and they shared such a wealth of their knowledge with me. I had a similar experience before I started working there. Throughout high school and college, I worked at a local family-owned deli. The owner was an older gentleman named Henry Millett aka “Pop.” Pop taught me to be responsible, the importance of having a strong work ethic, the customer is always right, and everything you could possibly want to know about making a perfect soup from scratch or the best-tasting sandwich! These role models were all senior citizens and I have a ton of respect for them and everything they shared with me. They definitely had a huge hand in shaping the person I am today. I am forever grateful for their encouragement and support.

What is your favorite thing about working at Peachtree?

The cats! Just kidding. I’m not a big fan of cats. I actually enjoy being involved in almost every aspect of producing a book from start to finish. It’s an amazing process. Earlier in my career, I enjoyed putting the components of a magazine together and seeing the final results every month. At Peachtree, we’re juggling multiple titles at once and I just love seeing a whole season of books come together after a lot of hard work.

In your position, what do you consider to be your secret weapon?

Prioritizing and staying organized!

Do you have any big interests or hobbies that you focus on outside of work?

Right now I’m just trying to work and raise 16-year-old twin boys. They eat a ton, so just buying groceries and cooking meals keeps me busy. I also enjoy walking and exercising when I can fit it in.

If, in an alternate reality, you were to have gone a completely different career route, what would you have done?

Court reporter or radio dj – no joke!

For more behind the scenes interviews, check out the Employee Spotlight with Sherry, our Accounting Manager!

Feel free to write any questions or comments for Katie below!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Employee Spotlight: Sherry Karter

This week's Employee Spotlight is with Sherry Karter, our Accounting Manager! She's answered a few questions so that everyone can get to know her a little better.

Tell us about your history with Peachtree.

I got started with Peachtree when I was the assistant to the Comptroller of a software engineering firm in 2007 who was working with Peachtree to implement their new sales order processing system. I was interested in making a change as my job was being phased out as the result of a merger. About the same time, Peachtree’s long time Accounting Manager had decided to leave to pursue other interests. So you might say the stars were aligned so that I was able to come to Peachtree with my first task to complete the new software setup and then transition to take over the position.

I’ve been working at Peachtree for over 10 years now. My job is to handle the usual accounting duties that are common to all companies but new things have been added to my job description over the years. Many of our customers have been moving to new technical systems and software that ties directly into what I do as Accounting Manager so I’ve had to dive head first into implementing new programs and procedures. I’ve always been in a position of office manager/bookkeeper with small companies for all of my career.

What are your top three favorite books, any genre?

That’s an impossible question for me as you could probably throw out any number of titles or authors that would be on my favorites list. I will say, though, that I’m a Stephen King junkie so any title of his always works for me. I also love murder mysteries/detective stories and anything with vampires, witches, werewolves and other such delightful creatures!

If you could be a literary character for a day, who would you be?

Scout Finch from To Kill A Mockingbird so I could spend a day with Atticus.

Who is your hero or role model and why?

My wonderful husband, Harry. He is the kindest and most thoughtful and generous person I have ever known. After decades of marriage, his greatest quality has always been the ability to make me laugh even in the most difficult times.

What is your favorite thing about working at Peachtree?

Seeing new titles when they come in is always wonderful but I would have to say my favorite thing about Peachtree is my coworkers! We have a great team here and we work very hard, but we find time to have fun too. We have a dozen or more staff members who are big fans of Game of Thrones so a few years ago we established our GoT weekly lunch so we can all get together and discuss the latest episodes and theories of what’s to come. We have our favorite characters and some of us have house banners hanging in our offices. I was dubbed the “Master of Coin” for obvious reasons.

In your position, what do you consider to be your secret weapon?

I think everyone here including me would say multi-tasking as we are all master jugglers in each of our positions. But for me personally, I’d say diplomacy is probably my secret weapon as I interact with people from every aspect of this business. My grandmother taught me long ago, “you catch more flies with honey than vinegar” and she was right. And I called her Honey!

Do you have any big interests or hobbies that you focus on outside of work?

Reading is my hobby. Everyone in my house knows that when I have settled into my reading spot, do not even attempt to talk to me or you will talk to the hand.

If, in an alternate reality, you were to have gone a completely different career route, what would you have done?

I love music as much as reading, so probably something in that field. In that alternate reality I would have been a much better piano and guitar player than I actually am.

For more behind the scenes interviews, check out the Employee Spotlight with our Warehouse Manager!

Feel free to write any questions or comments for Sherry below!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Employee Spotlight: Marlon Berreondo

It's time for another Employee Spotlight! We just had the opportunity to hear from our Director of Production and Manufacturing, Melanie McMahon Ives, and today we are introducing Marlon Berreondo. Marlon is our Warehouse Manager he's answered a few questions so that everyone can get to know him a little better.

Tell us about your history with Peachtree.

I moved from Southern California to Georgia and a few months after that I started working for Peachtree Publishers. It’s been a good experience working in an environment where people work hard and contribute in a big way towards children’s education. This coming October will mark my two year anniversary with Peachtree Publishers.

I’ve been working in this field for the last 29 years. I’ve worked in warehouses that produce electronics, telecommunications equipment, aircraft parts, and chemicals. Working with books is a lot of fun though!

What is your favorite thing about working at Peachtree?

Knowing the positive impact books have on children.

Do you have any big interests or hobbies that you focus on outside of work?

I love bike riding, soccer, volley ball, reading, and of course working around the house.

If, in an alternate reality, you were to have gone a completely different career route, what would you have done?

I wanted to be an airplane mechanic. That was the reason why I attended Park West High School in NYC.

For more behind the scenes, check out the spotlights for Creative Director Nicki Carmack, Senior Editor Vicky Holifield, and Special Sales Manager and Subsidiary Rights Director Farah Gehy.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Employee Spotlight: Melanie McMahon Ives

With summer in full swing, we are bringing back our Employee Spotlights! Last year we all had so much fun getting to know a few Peaches, so we decided to keep the tradition going. (Check out the spotlights for Creative Director Nicki Carmack, Senior Editor Vicky Holifield, and Special Sales Manager and Subsidiary Rights Director Farah Gehy.)

Today we are thrilled to introduce Melanie McMahon Ives! She is the Director of Production and Manufacturing here at Peachtree, and she's answered a few questions so that everyone can get to know her a little better.

Tell us about your history with Peachtree.

I’ve been here at Peachtree for more than 20 years. I came on board after the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta as a freelance copyeditor and designer for The Official Report of the Olympic Games, a mandatory written record of games that’s required to be published within 2 years of the completion of the Games. It’s a beautiful 3-volume set done in both English and French, and it is something I remain extraordinarily proud of to this day. It was a contract job that was to last 9 months, but it stretched on a bit longer, and once the books were done, I wouldn’t leave! Or something along those lines. I moved into production shortly thereafter and have been here ever since. Before I moved to Atlanta, I worked for Longman Publishing, a division of Addison-Wesley Publishing in New York.

What are your top three favorite books, any genre?

Oh that is SO HARD to answer. I have many favorite books across multiple genres. I love classic literature, children’s books, and I love horror! I will say Stephen King’s It, Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice, and Madeline L‘Engle’s A Wrinkle In Time. That doesn’t even scratch the surface though!

If you could be a literary character for a day, who would you be?

Ooh. Another tough one. My safe choice would be Elizabeth Bennett. I’ve always admired her quick wit, her strong spirit and tenacity, and her desire to accept nothing less than true love. A different choice might be one of Anne Rice’s vampiresprobably Louis. I don’t think I could resist the temptation to live possibly forever in a physical body even with all the emotional pain destined to accompany such a thing. I’ve thought about that quite a bit.

Who is your hero or role model and why?

It is no doubt my mother, Michele. She was just a teenager when she had me. She showed me just how far you can go with an incredible work ethic and lots of love. She made everything special when we had nothing at all. It is because of her I know what love is. She is my shining star. She taught me so much and has supported me through many a crazy time. She remains my best friend, my confidante, and my business partner! Shout out to my dad who’s been there every step of the way.

What is your favorite thing about working at Peachtree?

The books! I am so proud of all the books I’ve worked on over the years. Each one special in it’s own way. I can say I’ve had a hand in literally hundreds of them. I wouldn’t trade that for anything. And I’ve got to mention the people as well. All my colleagues are intelligent and lovely and creative. I am lucky to be surrounded by them all. It takes a village for a small company to do what we do and we do it so well!

In your position, what do you consider to be your secret weapon?

Multi-tasking! In a small company, you wear a lot of hats. It’s my job to take the manuscript to the bound book. This entails some storyboarding, typesetting and design, managing the costs and schedules of all the books, picking papers and cover stocks and cover treatments, deciding what books fit best at what printers, handling the manufacturing, and even the shipping from overseas of our picture books. It’s tough being the last rung on the ladder. I’m the last one to see anything before it goes off to the printer. But I’m also the first one to get the sneak peek of artwork, proofs, and bound advances. So that’s pretty exciting. Being able to juggle multiple projects, keeping them on time and under budget is my secret weapon.

Do you have any big interests or hobbies that you focus on outside of work?

I’m a hair accessory designer and have a modestly successful side business selling my designs. Other than that, I love spending time with my daughter and my husband and my friends.

If, in an alternate reality, you were to have gone a completely different career route, what would you have done?

From the time I was a small child I knew I wanted to be surrounded by books. I thought I might be a writer at one point, and I do some writing, but I’m more suited to the design-side of publishing. I’m lucky I’ve been able to be in publishing for most of my career. Thinking outside the box, I also love astronomy, so being an astrophysicist might have been pretty stellar. Carl Sagan is someone I admire very much.

Feel free to write any questions or comments for Melanie below!

Monday, June 5, 2017

40 Peachtree Picks: Books that Define Us

This year we are celebrating 40 years of Peachtree Publishers.One of the most fun parts of celebrating this milestone has been looking back and remembering all the wonderful people and books that have built us into our identity today.

Our President and Publisher Margaret Quinlin spoke to Peachtree's identity as a children's book publisher: "The focus [on children's books] occurred naturally through the interests of the staff, and in particular, our friendship with Carmen Deedy as she developed into an extremely talented author. But we also recognized that as a small business, we had to focus our time and talents and marketing dollars. Even within the children’s category, it is important to have sufficient depth in an area. Without that, it’s difficult to make an impression." (Read the full interview from Quinlin on having a woman-owned and independent business here.)

For the last 40 years, we've focused on books that educate, entertain, encourage and endure—books with heart that reflect our values and personal passions like nature, social justice, community, and peace. These themes in our children's books have resonated with readers around the world from the beginning and are just as important today than ever. 

If I Found a Wistful Unicorn by Ann Ashford and illustrated by Bill Drath is the first children's book published by Peachtree Publishers in 1978, and is still in print today.  A sweet and gentle story about a relationship between a young child and a unicorn that goes straight to the heart of what love really is, what we risk when we ask for love, and what special rewards may be waiting for us in return, If I Found a Wistful Unicorn began the tradition and set the precedent for quality children's books from Peachtree. 

As we reminisce this year, we want to share 40 Peachtree picks, just a few of the books that have excited us, moved us, and stuck with our customers through the years. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter to see our daily featured picks over the next several weeks, and feel free to share your Peachtree Pick!

Friday, June 2, 2017

New Season, New Books!

It's hard to believe that it is already time for more new books! We’re thrilled to announce our Fall 2017 list, and we can’t wait for you to read them! Whether you want to catch up with the characters in your favorite series, laugh out loud with an empowered princess, or find inspiration for more social activism, we've got the book for you.

New Board Books

Our favorite hamster is now starring in a board book series from author William Bee! Focused on early childhood learning, Stanley's Numbers will appeal to Stanley’s youngest fans as Stanley and Little Woo get ready for a picnic party.

Another board book for the Stanley series from author William Bee! Focused on early childhood learning, Stanley's Opposites will appeal to Stanley’s youngest fans who are mastering concepts like opposites..

Simple and evocative language and charming illustrations describe a girl’s experience on a snowy day. Elizabeth Spurr and illustrator Manelle Oliphant add In the Snow to the gently rhyming board books in their In the Weather series.

New Picture Books

Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra finds refuge from his difficult childhood by imagining the adventures of a brave but clumsy knight. From the Young People’s Poet Laureate Margarita Engle and award-winning illustrator Raúl Colón comes Miguel's Brave Knight, a distinctive picture book depiction of the childhood of the father of the modern novel.

This energetic and inspiring picture book biography of activist Jane Addams focuses on the peace work that won her the Nobel Peace Prize, but also the title "Most Dangerous Woman in America." Suzanne Slade’s powerful text written in free verse illuminates the life of this inspiring figure while Alice Ratterree’s stunning illustrations bring Jane Addams and her world to life in Dangerous Jane.

With irreverent humor and striking illustrations, Bethan Woollvin, the creator of the New York Times Best-Illustrated Little Red, puts an empowering and delightfully dark twist on a classic story of a helpless damsel in Rapunzel.

In this addition to the About Habitats series, award-winning author Cathryn Sill uses simple, easy-to-understand language to teach children about seashores and what kinds of animals and plants live there. John Sill’s detailed, full-color illustrations reflect the wide variety of seashore topography around the world. Celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the About Habitats series with About Habitats: Seashores.

New Illustrated Chapter Books

A lovable dog helps his human girl solve a mystery. King and Kayla are playing fetch with their friends, Jillian and Thor. Jillian throws King’s favorite ball too hard, and now it’s gone missing! King and Kayla must put together the clues to figure out where it went—and who has it. Join Dori Hillestad Butler's dynamic duo in King & Kayla and the Case of the Mysterious Mouse to solve the mystery!

Delightfully odd and positively surreal, Alex T. Smith’s latest addition to his illustrated early chapter book series is Claude on the Big Screen. When Claude spots a film crew on Waggy Avenue, he and Sir Bobblysock can’t wait to help behind the scenes. But when the movie loses its stars, the pals are launched onto the big screen!

New Middle Readers

When Charlie exaggerates about his dad’s career and convinces his classmates that his dad would be the greatest Career Week speaker ever, what will happen if his dad actually does come and his friends find out the truth? From Grammy-award winning author Bill Harley, Charlie Bumpers vs. His Big Blabby Mouth uses humor to illuminate important values such as learning to live together as a family and making the best of a bad situation.
Many of the political issues we struggle with today have their roots in the U.S. Constitution. From the award-winning team, Cynthia Levinson, children’s book author, and Sanford Levinson, constitutional law scholar, Fault Lines in the Constitution will encourage exploration and discussion from young and old readers alike.

Check out our full Fall 2017 catalog here, and stay tuned for giveaways, interviews, and more!