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>In the February issue of Harper‘s, Ursula K. LeGuin has some interesting things to say about reading (“reading is active, an act of attention, of absorbed alertness–not all that different from hunting, in fact, or from gathering”) and publishing (“What’s in this dismal scene for you, Mr. Corporate Executive? Why don’t you just get out of it, dump the ungrateful little pikers, and get on with the real business of business, ruling the world?”).

But until you get your hands on Harper‘s, take a look at what Groundwood’s Patsy Aldana had to say in our pages a few years back: “I would posit that the greatest, most defining boundary in our cozy little world of children’s books is money.”

Roger Sutton About Roger Sutton

Roger Sutton has been the editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc, since 1996. He was previously editor of The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books and a children's and young adult librarian. He received his M.A. in library science from the University of Chicago in 1982 and a B.A. from Pitzer College in 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @RogerReads.



  1. >It is all about the money, but it is also all about when my son opened up and read his very own copy of Jon Scieszka’s Smash! Crash! (The First Book of the Truck Town Series)and wondered aloud why there were not more truck and car books. What do seven year olds know? They know a lot!

    Scieszka’s new series, Eric Rohmann’s A Kitten Tale, The Newbery and Caldecott on Monday and American Idol next Tuesday- It’s like Christmas all over!!!

    (Those three !!! are for the grammar Nazi and the affect/effect is for is for the spelling troll!)

    Happy Mid Winter ALA!

    Anonymous Dad

  2. Anonymous says:

    >Great article (Patsy Aldana’s), Roger. Here’s hoping that there’s a way to make books with integrity within reasonable financial constraints. The world doesn’t need more merchandise.

  3. >Yes, seven year olds know a lot, but not about publishing. There are hundreds and hundreds of books about cars and trucks. I buy at least a couple new ones every month for my library.

    an anonymous children’s librarian

  4. Anonymous says:

    >An Anonymous Children’s Librarian,
    You are right that most seven year olds do not know much about publishing. They do know what books they like. Who are the publishers marketing to? (Is it parents, teachers, librarians or kids?) It is usually the one with the cash or credit card. (Money!)

    My son and I had a long discussion about car and truck books on Saturday. I gave him the directive to pull all of the car and truck books from his shelves. We were both amazed at the number of car and truck books he had on his shelves. He has I’m Dirty, Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, Naughty Bus (We got it in London!), C is for Construction, Tip Tip Dig Dig, If I Built a Car, Sheep in a Jeep, Seymour Simon’s Book of Trucks, Cool Cars, Rattletrap Car, Richard Scarry’s Cars and Trucks and Things That Go, Mr. Grumpy’s Motor Car, Katy and the Big Snow, Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, I Stink, School Bus, Trucks, Duck in a Truck, Seven Tonka Books, Four Transformer Books, Five Disney/Pixar Cars Books, Two Matchbox Car Books, Bubba and Beau Go Night-Night, On the Road with Jeff Gordon, Monster Trucks, Corvettes, Two Cars, Zoom City, Classic Cars, The Berenstain Bears Too Much Car Trip, My Truck is Stuck, Richard Scarry’s Cars and Trucks from A to Z, and Smash! Crash! This kid has a few car and truck books. I LOVE THAT KID!

    I have a great appreciation for librarians. Thank you for what you do each day. You change the world one book and one child at a time!

    God bless all who love children’s books!!!

    Anonymous Dad

  5. >Roger,

    This is off topic, sorry. I wanted to say that I really liked the review of Candyfloss in the NYT. I’ll make an effort to get a copy.

    On topic, I have some question. Was Aldana’s point that children’s publishing used to be a gentle(wo)man’s occupation and isn’t anymore. That those of us still doing it for love are patsy’s in the hands of Rupert Murdoch? That businesses that have been business-like right from the beginning have more safeguards in place to prevent corruption? Is the Newbery more for-sale than it used to be? I think you said before that it was pretty tightly controlled by a small group in the early days.

  6. >Go Hugo!

  7. >Yeah, good work on the committee!

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