Stone Arch Books, which publishes 'high interest fiction' for 8- to 14-year-olds for the library and educational markets, has entered the graphic novel business in a big way, planning 24 new releases in August to join the 15 it published earlier this year.  All of the releases through the end of this year will be hardbound for libraries, but trade paperback editions are planned beginning early in 2007.   


Stone Arch was promoting its new line at the recently concluded ALA show in New Orleans with booth signage announcing 'safe graphic novels,' which a representative explained meant that the content was kid-safe for an educational or library environment. 


The graphic novel line involves five imprints:  Graphic Sparks (8-10, 'goofy, gross'), Graphic Trax (8-12, 'thrills'), Graphic Quest (8-12, 'pulse-pounding'), Graphic Revolve (10-14, classics), and Ridge Riders (8-12).


Although we haven't seen a lot of pages from either the planned or released books, at least some of these books appear to be re-packaged from previously published children's books.    


The classics looked the most interesting to us; six are planned for release in August. They appear to be all new material pairing children's/YA authors with artists that are mostly new to comics.  But the art on some of the books looked interesting, and we're always on the lookout for a good new classics series.  Each volume will be 72 6' x 9' pages in color, which hardbound will be sold to libraries and schools at $16.95.