From the Editor - November 2021

“I’m not sure that I know how to write for adults or how to write for children, or if there is a big difference. So when I write, I write for readers,” says Thomas King in this issue's Five Questions interview, and God bless him. We have all read books “for children” that were more like “to children,” filled with firm ideas about just what the young need to know. I hate those books (whatever veneer of diplomacy I may have accrued over the years seems to be wearing off in anticipation of my semi-retirement) and hope you do, too. But what do I love? I love books for readers, books that acknowledge a ground rule between writer and reader that the printed word is just about the best thing ever. Choose from among any of the books reviewed in this issue and you will see that I am right.

From the November 2021 issue of Notes from the Horn Book.

Roger Sutton
Roger Sutton

Editor Emeritus Roger Sutton was editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc., from 1996-2021. 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 MA in library science from the University of Chicago in 1982 and a BA from Pitzer College in 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @RogerReads.

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Christine Taylor-Butler

Amen. Maybe we need to shout this a little louder. I often ask myself if the industry is publishing "for children" or using children as an excuse to publish books with moral messages or as exercises to please gatekeepers who believe they are advocates.I once wrote a three short stories for an educational publisher. They were a work-for-hire and in one case I didn't see the finished product until it was printed. I was livid. In the story, a young girl is concerned about something going on in her community, crafts a plan and then tells her father she's going to petition to speak in front of the city council. The editor, well meaning and an author herself, changed the context to take away the girl's sense of agency. Instead of it being the protagonist's idea, the father suggested that she talk to the city council and tells her how. That was literally the only edit made to the story. Because you know, there are some in our industry who think it isn't a well crafted children's story unless an adult character inserts their own opinions and takes over the plot line. (sigh)Needless to say when they asked me to write additional stories I asked for a divorce instead.Maybe if we had more editors who insisted there be a firewall between the hopes and aspirations of a child protagonist and the hopes and dreams of the author tasked with telling their story (or the editor armed with a red pen), we'd see more of what you are looking for.So thanks for pointing out the ones that work. Maybe it will act as as signal flare to the industry.

Posted : Nov 14, 2021 04:08



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