Can you guess who our CEO is shaking hands with (after a delightful one hour meeting) at SwordPen’s exhibition booth at the BEA show two weeks ago? We’ll give you a hint. He was president and publisher of the Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group (starting in 2008 at the Henry Holt imprint) till he semi-retired in 2010, when he took the advice of Horace Greeley (another great editor) to Go West. Okay, we’ll give you another hint. He is in awe of the stories that we are publishing here at SwordPen Publishers. You guessed right. It’s the one and only, literary genius … Dan Farley! Zev Lewinson and Dan Farley have been in contact since last January, but this was the first time they were able to spend some face-time together. ”Dan is an amazing person,” Zev mused, “extremely level-headed, yet amazingly creative.” Dan commented on Zev’s remarkable ability to put pen to paper and his passion for publishing flawless children’s literature. Stay tuned for future news regarding this dynamic duo.
Posts Tagged ‘swordpen’
SwordPen Publisher’s recent foray into the spotlight was highlighted by our attendance at the BEA show at the Javits Center! SwordPen’s booth was visited by thousands of guests, ranging from bloggers to literary agents. Even though each visitor had a different job, they all marveled at the magical stories SwordPen has already released, and many received a complimentary copy of How Mice Became Small. SwordPen CEO Zev Lewinson was at the booth himself, explaining the processes by which SwordPen carefully creates, crafts, and publishes true quality literature for children.
Everyone loved the various titles on the SwordPen roster, including three galleys that are to be released soon: Of Course I Love You!, The Golden Butterfly, and When You Gotta Go!, a hilarious narrative following a small family’s experiences of when they must rush to the bathroom! Mr. Lewinson played an interesting experiment on one of the librarians who visited: he told her that, could she read When You Gotta Go! without laughing, she would receive a free copy of that book (even though galleys were not given to the public). The librarian accepted the challenge, and she began reading. At first, her expression was solid; slowly it turned to a slight grin, and her eyes got wide. She began sniffing, trying to hold it in, until she finally burst out laughing! She said, “I guess I lost!” Mr. Lewinson, impressed by her courage and fortitude to hold out for so long, gave her a copy anyway as a consolation prize. All in all, the BEA was a fantastic experience for all the visitors who got to see what our company does, how they accomplish it, the books they publish, and the quality that SwordPen is truly about.
…and this is the cover for the story that the librarian could not withold laughter from — When You Gotta Go!
Speaking of pictures, these two images of SwordPen CEO Zev Lewinson are not a “before and after pose,” but rather to contrast the mood swings that Mr. Lewinson endures in the course of a single day. His moods range from “simply happy” (that’s him at school, where he teaches creative writing) to “I LOVE WRITING GREAT LITERATURE FOR KIDS AROUND THE WORLD!”
… and this is Avrahom Lewinson, Senior Editor at SwordPen. We call him Junior Editor because we don’t want the senior title getting to his head. He wields a SwordPen with amazing skill and although SwordPen has an array of distinguished editors on staff, young Avrahom has that rare combination of innate editing talents coupled with flawless writing ability that hone and fine tune all of our works at SwordPen. There are times where Mr. Lewinson feels like stabbing his son with his own SwordPen, but they are only for fleeting moments … and the one thing we don’t do at SwordPen is waste ink!
And this is Avrahom flexing his muscle with three “bad boys” at the BEA show. It seems the pen really is mightier than the sword.
It is the task of every parent to explain to their children the value of celebrating our differences, be they in the way we look, the things we believe in, or even the games we like to play. SwordPen founder Zev Lewinson simplifies this complex subject in his accessible, child-friendly tale The Golden Butterfly.
The story follows young Joy, a sweet and innocent golden (literally and figuratively) butterfly, as she searches for other butterflies to play with. Eager to share a gorgeous patch of roses she discovered, Joy first encounters a group of blue butterflies that exclude her from their group because of the way she looks. Yellow is not only different, they say, it’s ugly.
Despondent, Joy returns to her mother for solace and words of wisdom. The next morning, Joy meets a warm, handsome blue butterfly named William that wants to play and see the roses Joy found earlier. Joy and William fly off together holding wings, an effect underscored beautifully by Lisa M. Griffin’s masterful illustrations, which show the lovebirds’ (or is it butterflies’?) wings overlapping to form green. The story ends with a show-stopping spread of Joy, William, and all of their children, the latter colored in various combinations of yellow and blue – like their parents – as well as green. The breathtaking artwork makes the moral clear: when you bring two different types of people together, the unity is greater than the sum of its parts!
But that’s not quite the last page! The last spread, featuring author bios, also includes Lewinson and Griffin in butterfly form for a very SwordPen touch; Lewinson’s butterfly boasts a bowtie, pad, pens, and pencils, while Griffin’s is equipped with paintbrushes and a palette.
Another SwordPen heirloom from founder Zev Lewinson and illustrator Debi Coules, How Mice Became Small tells the fanciful story of how mice went from 20-foot carnivores to the cute and cuddly creatures we now know today. But for such a small (eventually!) subject, this SwordPen book has a big moral about giving, getting, and the value of material objects.
In the story, we watch the tyrannical character of King James – as seen in “Newsqueak” magazine – struggle to satisfy his materialism to no avail. As he greedily seeks out new possessions, he only wants more! As the tale progresses, King James learns that material objects alone can never make him happy.
In a world where material possessions are so often overvalued, How Mice Became Small conveys the importance of sharing our possessions and contributing to society. The book subtly reminds us that things alone can never make us happy, and that an act of kindness is ultimately more satisfying, and more precious, than the latest gadget or toy.
It’s the oldest lame excuse in the book: “The dog ate my homework.” SwordPen Publishers reworks this classic line in a whole new context with its creative tale My Dog Ate It!, a fun story centering around Sara, Ms. Regent’s star pupil.
In the story, Ms. Regent challenges her students with a unique homework assignment: they have to explain why they didn’t do their homework. The students take turns sharing creative tales of the fantastical obstacles that came between them and their assignments, but Sara hesitates – after all, she always does her homework. How can she avoid a trip to the principal’s office?
As My Dog Ate It! plays out with an ending both thrilling and humorous, readers are reminded of the importance of thinking outside of the box, and of challenging our children to do the same. The story reminds us that any chore can be made fun and creative, be it homework, housework, or anything else!
The charming My Dog Ate It! was written by Zev Lewinson and illustrated by Debi Coules, whose exceptional artistry has graced other SwordPen works as well, including Don’t Get Stuck on Being a Duck! and How Mice Became Small.
The first graders at Clifton Cheder (an elementary school in New Jersey) got a visit from renowned author Zev Lewinson! Mr. Lewinson did an author’s reading of his SwordPen classic How Mice Became Small. The children were awestruck throughout, marveling at the story and pictures. The whole visit was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone (including Mr. Lewinson)! The children wrote thank-you letters to Mr. Lewinson the following week. Many asked very intelligent questions, such as, “How did you think of those ideas [for the story]?” The children also admitted that the story was the perfect blend of edge-of-your-seat scary villains coupled with a happy, magical tale. All in all, it was a wonderful experience for everyone involved. Stay tuned for the next time Mr. Lewinson gives a surprise reading to this enthusiastic group of first-graders!
Can words ever describe a father’s love? Zev Lewinson — a father himself — comes as close as is possible in Of Course I Love You!, a new book by SwordPen Publishers. Boasting a heartwarming narrative and vibrant illustrations, Of Course I Love You! transports readers to a lion’s den, outer space, and the world’s tallest mountain as young Adam’s father explains to his son the depth of his love — and that it cannot be explained.
“Why, if all the water in the world were ink, and all the skies were paper, and all the trees were pens, I still couldn’t describe how much I love you!” Adam’s father tells his son, as readers are treated to a breathtaking spread of a purple ocean of ink lined with fountain pen trees.
For added effect, Of Course I Love You! juxtaposes Adam’s father’s love for his son with some of young Adam’s fears; fueled by love, Adam’s father would save him from a burning building, wrestle alligators and pit bulls, and even brave a stampede of wildebeests. In fact, the story depicts love so imaginatively, so compellingly, that SwordPen recommends it not just for children, but also as an appropriate gift to a sibling, friend, or even spouse.
That’s right! Half of the planet is inhabited by adults (those weird hominids that have J-O-B-S and worry all the time), and the other half are inhabited by little people! And this SwordPen Classic was created for both halves! And each half will come away with their own unique message.
The Hippo That Flew is a wonderful story about a hippo who learns to follow his dreams, despite what people (or hippos), say to discourage him. Nevertheless, Wilbur plows ahead, journeying forwards to achieve his goal. How often does a 400-pound protagonist convey such love and charisma to both young and old alike? Parents will enjoy reading to their children about what hard work and success are all about. Kids are given the understanding that mere physical attributes or handicaps truly have little-to-no effect on the outcome of a goal. It is all determined by your focus and dedication to what you are pursuing!
Theodore Newton Vail, the famous industrialist, summed up this concept with the following quote: “Real difficulties can be overcome; it is only the imaginary ones that are unconquerable.” By reading The Hippo That Flew to your child, you’re not merely reading him (or her) a great bedtime story – you’re giving them (and yourself!), life lessons that will enable them to journey through life with courage, determination, and self-confidence. Enjoy The Hippo That Flew and watch your children soar!
The following is a typical email that we recently received from a wonderful librarian. She told us on the phone that she later did a reading of Don’t Get Stuck On Being A Duck! and that the kids absolutely loved the story. Where she comments that she “loved our newest story,” she is referring to My Dog Ate It! Ingram also just squared away our first check for SwordPen stories that were purchased by librarians. Our stories are now in selected libraries all over the country! Even in Lexington, Nebraska! Things are getting exciting here at SwordPen!
Sorry it’s been so long in getting back to you—it’s summer season here at the library! We’ve registered close to 1100 children for summer reading, and storyhours in in full swing too! I loved your newest story…and Jennifer and I spoke briefly about having you here to do a reading in the future. We’ll be in touch, and THANKS again!
Barb Farrell Swenson
Suffern Free Library
210 Lafayette Avenue
Suffern, New York 10901
“Literacy is the most basic currency of the knowledge economy.”
—President Barack Obama
This is why I love getting up in the morning!
Almost sounds silly, doesn’t it? What else should a publishing company be about? But the truth is, that many of today’s companies are only looking at the bottom line. Just look at the websites of some of the largest companies out there. They’ll say it right on their web-page. Publishing has become a numbers game. Just as visual media has long given up on content and merely produces syndicated trash, so too have many in the publishing world turned to famous names and endless marketing to produce garbage. Their CEO’s are running around frantically as they bark orders to meet or maintain “last years percentages.” They are working social media to death. And most book conferences speak much more about “getting noticed” than about the actual content of a “good old fashioned great story!”
SwordPen Publishers barely considers the bottom line. As a matter of fact, we live in the red – in order for our stories to be read! We care about kids! We’d give our books away for free if we could! [We actually do! Check out RoomToRead.org.] Children absolutely love our stories! All over the world! And they have great taste! So do their parents! Every story is crafted with a mother’s love. From old fashioned fables (yes, we are not embarrassed to admit it!) to edgy/quirky/funky stories, SwordPen delivers books that children read over and over, or keep asking their parents to read to them again and again. One of our illustrators recently related that her husband keeps on reading The Hippo That Flew with his morning cup of coffee! But that is very understandable, since he’s a mere fifty-two years young!
SwordPen Publishers will be releasing two more titles this summer. My Dog Ate It! and Of Course I Love You! And we are devoting just a little of our time speaking to investors to help us get out of the red!