Educational publisher Capstone Publishing, based in Minneapolis, has entered into a partnership with sports magazine publisher Sports Illustrated KIDS, to create a line of 82 high-interest nonfiction and fiction sports books for elementary and middle-school readers, beginning this month and going through spring 2012.

The line, to be published under the Stone Arch Books and Capstone Press imprints, will include three series, debuting in January and released in both library binding and as trade paperbacks: four Greatest Sports Stars titles; six Science of Sport titles; and six Sports Illustrated KIDS Graphic Novels titles. Several other new series will be launched this spring.

To celebrate the new partnership, Stone Arch Books is sponsoring a nationwide contest inviting students in grades 3—6 to create their own sports super star, with the winning fictional characters featured in an upcoming Sports Illustrated KIDS Graphic Novel.

Earlier this month, Lori Benton, previously VP and publisher of Harcourt’s children’s division, was named general manager and publisher of Capstone’s fiction imprints, which includes Stone Arch Books.