Wednesday, July 4, 2007

What If a Book Isn't Deep? Or Tall? What If It's More... Wide?


Does every book written for children need to be a literary work of art? What about the art of making children laugh? I mean, couldn't we all use a little more Walter the Farting Dog in our lives? My kids would much rather read something that makes them laugh over something that teaches them about their feelings.
As literary people, editors are naturally moved by literary writing.
But the answer is no—good editors are ok with books just being ok in the literary way if they’re great in another. There are a lot of different yardsticks to use when measuring books. And the big one, the one that I smack all the others with, is will children love it? Giving a kid a book he loves (for whatever reason) is a surefire way to get him to read another. And another, and another…

7 comments:

Andy J Smith illustration said...

And some of these 'Walter the Farting Dog - type books' wind up being gateway books leading to hopfully a lifetime of reading. Plus they're a lot of fun! And variety's a good thing!

Anonymous said...

I'm all for a great variety of books and enjoy many different genres. But when some of the books that go on to win major awards are chosen for publication, was "kids will love it" one of the criteria? Does "this can be a contender" ever override kid appeal? Or for that matter doesn't any form of "this will sell" carry the day?

Anonymous said...

It seems to me that the real audience for almost all children's books is adults - who mostly hold the purse strings. Many, many children's books which have won awards bore my children - who all LOVE to read. Looking at these books I can understand why my children are bored - even if I like them.

Deirdre Mundy said...

And the picture books about feelings are DEFINITELY not written for kids...... Ugh. Though those really seem geared to the school and library and counselor markets, not the bookstore market...

That said, if anyone EVER makes an illustrated version of John Forster's "Feel your Feelings", I'd buy it for my kids in a heartbeat....

But that's because I'm evil and enjoy buying immapropriate books.....

Disco Mermaids said...

Giving a kid a book he loves (for whatever reason) is a surefire way to get him to read another. And another, and another…

I think I'm starting to fall in love with ya, EA.

- Jay

Phentermine said...

Thanks for interesting article.

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