#tbt Sky Pony Readers

The Sky Ponies have always been big readers. From early ages, we’ve discovered the magic that can be found within the pages of a book. We’ve used and reused our library cards until the labels have worn off. We’ve filled our bookshelves with favorite tales until they’ve overflown with magical worlds and heartfelt tales. We’ve fallen in love with stories and mythical creatures. I suppose it doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone that we ended up working in publishing. Our love of books has followed us through the years and you can see it reflected in Sky Pony’s wonderful list.

So, for today’s #throwbackthursday post, take a look at some of the Sky Pony editors reading as children:

Adrienne lost deeply in a puzzle book.

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There are never enough books to fill Alison’s insatiable appetite for good reads.

Alison and her Books

Rachel and a friend sharing the magic of books together.

Rachel reading

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#tbt: Camp by Elaine Wolf

To celebrate #tbt today, we have the author of Sky Pony’s first YA novel sharing her experience publishing with Sky Pony Press! Check out Elaine Wolf’s post on Camp below!


When my agent called to tell me she had an offer from Sky Pony Press, I screamed so loudly you probably heard me all the way across the country. And when I first spoke with my Sky Pony editor, Julie Matysik, I was over the moon.

Although my husband and I were living in Massachusetts then, I raced down to New York to meet Julie over yummy doughnuts at a place very close to the Skyhorse offices. I knew right away that I would adore working with Julie, who made the publishing process a joyous experience.

When I walked Julie back to the office that day, I had a chance to say a quick hi to Brian Peterson, who designed the Camp jacket. Brian listened to my idea for the cover, and I love what he came up with. I loved, too, the bear hug he gave me that day. I knew right then that Camp was in great, caring hands with my Sky Pony team.

Camp was Sky Pony’s inaugural young adult novel, published in hardcover in 2012. It’s a coming-of-age novel about a high school girl who faces intense bullying at summer camp as she begins to discover the truth about her mother, who holds a dark secret. The tag line on the cover of Camp is Every secret has a price . . . 

Much to my delight, Sky Pony released Camp in paperback in 2015. I was thrilled to be in touch with Julie again as we worked on that edition.

Being a Sky Pony author is even better than I thought it would be. Whenever I pass a bookstore, I run in to see Camp on the shelves. I still can never resist taking a photo of my novel wherever I see it. (Yes, I know that’s nerdy!) And I love hearing from readers who want to bring Camp to their schools and book clubs.

I’m still excited that Camp appeals to readers from ages 12 to 92. (Really, it does.) I speak about Camp at middle schools and high schools, and I’ve been contacted by program directors at senior assisted living facilities who want to bring Camp to their residents. How amazing that my young adult novel has crossed into the adult (and much older adult) community.

What makes me especially happy, though—even more than the awards and accolades that Camp has garnered—is that Camp has given me a literal bully pulpit, a platform from which to keep anti-bullying conversations going so that, in concert with professionals, we’ll make our camps and schools kinder, gentler, more inclusive places for everyone.

I’m so grateful to Sky Pony Press for publishing Camp and for cheering me on. If you haven’t yet read Camp, I hope you’ll read it now. I hope, too, that you’ll visit my website: authorelainewolf.com.


Camp by Elaine Wolf

51Nj+rvctpL._SX332_BO1,204,203,200_Amy Becker’s mother holds a dark secret. In fact, her whole past is a secret. All Amy knows is that her mother came from Germany — and that her mother doesn’t love her. That icy voice. Those rigid rules of how to eat, dress, walk, talk, and think. No matter what Amy does, no matter how much she follows the rules, she just can’t earn her mother’s love.

But everything changes that summer of 1963, when fourteen-year-old Amy is sent to Camp Takawanda for Girls. Takawanda, where all the rules get broken. Takawanda, where mean girls practice bullying as if it were a sport. Takawanda, where Amy’s cousin unveils the truth about Amy’s mother, setting in motion a tragic event that changes Amy and her family forever.

Winner of the Forward National Literature Award and a book-of-the-month pick by the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County (New York), Camp is widely recommended by librarians, teachers, and book clubs (adult groups as well as teen). It’s an acutely sensitive and compelling novel about bullying, family relationships, and the collateral damage of secrets. The paperback edition includes discussion questions and a conversation with the author.

Elaine Wolf, an award-winning author, was a reading/language arts specialist and school district program administrator. As the daughter of a German immigrant, and as a former camper and camp counselor, she writes of a world she is passionate about and knows well. With an exceptional reputation as “the anti-bullying novelist,” she shows what happens behind the closed gates and doors of camps and schools. Learn more about Elaine at authorelainewolf.com.

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#tbt National Poetry Month

In honor of National Poetry Month, Assistant Managing Editor, Sam Levitz has offered to share some of her own poems to share with you all! Enjoy Sam’s poems below! 


The Fort 5/9/09
Do you think it daft to dwell on juvenile games?
Tell me where to draw the line from child to adult.
Grains of sand fall every second.
Alone they are merely little fragments,
But together they mark another turning hourglass.
Each grain, a reminder of all those nights lost,
Thinking way too long on things that won’t matter
In the end.
Enough was enough, so we got to work:
I think the world ran out of duct tape.
Our world suddenly became eclipsed
With deep blues, reds, and purples,
We turned the dark
Into our stability.
Lying across the second floor,
We looked up at the elephants that walked by.
Lights glimmered all around us,
Reflecting off tiny mirrors above our heads.
All problems cease to exist in this magic wardrobe,
No Narnia or Terabithia could compete with reality.
Eyes close as music softly wafts around us,
Lyrics with truth glide into our hearts.
It’s bittersweet, waiting for the inevitable end,
When our hands shift from creators to destroyers.
Useless sheets lie on the floor,
Sent to the wash full of dog hair and slobber.
The hourglass will turn until all the sand runs out,
When we return to the asylum once more.

The Language of Brooklyn 6/17/09

Juxtaposing centuries
Shows English in a spectrum light.
She screams in agony when torn apart,
Her tall, slender figure shortened by sloth.
An incision here, some collagen there,
A mold to be shaped by the individual.
The plastic surgeons of Brooklyn deaf to her cries,
She loses herself behind surgical masks.
Back on the streets she takes a deep breath, but
Slips and slithers through unfamiliar lips as
They call her name in a foreign dialect,
Tripping over syllables and butchering her pride.
“Youse’ guys gotta’ see this,” they taunt,
Taking away her little black book.
A date with Shakespeare on Monday, Hughes on Tuesday and
Poe, and Frost later this week.
“How sweet it is!” an M.D. chuckles, “Marty would like
Her fine swagga’.”
Sadly looking down at her Goddess silhouette, she
Silently yearns for the past.
She loathes her nip and tucks, but
Knows glaring at the gold-chained “G’s” with
Their pants pulled down too low,
Won’t change their rough tongues,
Probing where they don’t belong.
“Meet me in the library,” English begs,
“I’ll introduce you to Oxford and Webster.”
The doctors laugh, their shoulders shrug,
“Fuhgeddaboudit,” they reply.

sam poem post
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A Sky Pony Night Out

Assistant Editor Adrienne Szpyrka shares the story of a night out for the Sky Pony team. 


1 looking at art

In December, Sky Pony went on its very first team outing. We started at the Society of Illustrators original artwork exhibit, which features art from picture books that pubbed in 2015. Seeing the art in person is so worthwhile—there’s so much detail that just doesn’t translate into the final book. And it’s cool to see so many of the year’s illustrations all together. The last time I saw this exhibit, I noticed whales were big. This year, a lot of the books had elephants!

 

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This spread from Finding Winnie was one of my favorites. Can you spot the bear?

1 Carlyle

After the Society of Illustrators, we headed to the Carlyle hotel. Divah, by Susannah Appelbaum, is one of our lead titles this spring (and a book that I love!), and the Carlyle is a huge part of the story. So we had to see it for ourselves! The story came to life when we saw the hotel in person. I felt like Itzy, underdressed and wildly out of place surrounded by the natives of the Upper East Side.

1 Madeline artIf you have a chance to stop by the Carlyle yourself, Bemelmans Bar is a must-see. The entire place is covered in illustrations by Ludwig Bemelmans. And, as Luc points out in Divah, “The guy had a thing for bunnies.” But we also spotted some scenes from Madeline!

Bemelmans was too crowded for our entire team, so after checking out the art, we headed over to the Mark hotel for cocktails. As another Divah angel puts it, the Mark was “adequate.”

(Actually the Mark was lovely and had beautiful star lights in the bar. It was also far less crowded, and we had a wonderful time. But I’m not as posh as Gaston.)

Thanks, Skyhorse, for the fantastic outing, and Julie, for planning everything. Here’s to more bookish adventures in 2016!

1 whole group

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#tbt: The Little Pea by Éric Battut

In today’s #throwbackthursday post, Sky Pony’s Editorial Director, Julie Matysik, has a tale to tell from way back in 2011 when Sky Pony was just starting out:

In September 2011, Sky Pony Press launched its inaugural list. On that list was one very special picture book—the first that Sky Pony ever published. The Little Pea, written and illustrated by Éric Battut, is a story about embracing differences, about wanting to be an individual, and about celebrating all that makes each of us unique.

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Detail from The Little Pea

I was grateful to be introduced to The Little Pea by an agent at The French Publishers’ Agency, who sent me a sample copy in the hopes that we might want to acquire English translation rights for our first list. I remember opening up the package and falling immediately in love with Battut’s simple yet poignant story and his elegant, minimalist illustrations.

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The poor little pea is laughed at by the other peas for being different.

After showing the book to both our creative director and our publisher, we quickly decided to acquire it for the list. Working with translator Sophie Pauze, we got the text in order and our production editor readied the book for the printer. The creative director and I decided to spec out the jacket, opting for a matte finish with spot gloss and a slight emboss on the title and image of the pea holding a peacock feather that graces the front cover.

Waiting for the books to reach out office felt like an eternity, but when that first advance copy arrived, I could hardly contain my excitement. For it wasn’t just a new book off press—that is always exciting—but rather publication of The Little Pea marked the beginning of a wonderful journey in publishing children’s books under the Sky Pony Press imprint. It’s a journey that has led to our publishing close to one hundred picture books over the last five years.

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An advance copy of Sky Pony Press’s first picture book, The Little Pea!

And it all started with just one little pea who made a difference by standing out from the crowd.

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