Stone Arch Books, an imprint of Minnesota-based children’s publisher Capstone Publishing focused on comics and chapter books, has reached an agreement with DC Comics to produce DC Super Heroes, a series of illustrated chapter books based on DC Comics heroes. To promote the series, Stone Arch is sponsoring Find a Hero, a nationwide writing contest aimed at grades 3-6, that invites students to write about a hero at their school. The winner and his or her school will be incorporated in the story of a forthcoming DC Super Heroes chapter book.

The DC Super Hero series debuts this month with 12 titles based on Batman and Superman and will feature a total of 48 titles published over the next two years. Beginning in Spring 2010 the series will launch titles based on Wonder Woman.

Capstone Publishers fiction division president Joan Berge said the new series will “spark an interest and engage striving and reluctant readers. Our DC Super Heroes series will help readers transition from picture books and beginning readers to short paragraphs and chapters with lots of action.”

The books will feature full color illustrations in original adventure stories created with language and content screened for elementary school students. The books will be produced in hardcover ($25.32 trade; $18.99 for the school and library markets) and in paperback ($5.95). The series also includes discussion guides and supplementary information for teachers.

In addition to the winning entry and their school being incorporated into the story of a DC Super Heroes title, the top 50 entrants in the Find A Hero contest will receive two of the chapter books for free (one copy is for the school library). The contest runs through February 28. Entry forms are available at the Web site.