email and listening to morning TV.
First Brooke Shields then less than 20
minutes later, Dolly Parton touting
their new children's books. Earlier I
read that Mario Lopez is authoring a
children's book. I have nothing personal
against these three or anyone for that
matter who wants to try and write a
children's book. There is always room for
good new book ideas. Wannabe children's
writers please note: Publishers pay
celebrities huge sums that dwarf any
advance paid to mid list real authors.
I initiated and taught the Children's Book
Illustration class at the University of the
Arts, some years ago. Each student produced
their own original picture book from
manuscript through dummy to a finished
art sample. Most were artists not writers,
but with some direction and constructive
critiques, as one would receive from a good editor
at a good publishing house, they produced some
wonderful books. One, The Third Story Cat, by
Leslie Baker, was published by Little Brown and
won Leslie the Ezra jack Keats award. The first
of over a dozen handsome books she published,
some by other authors.
For some students, including Jacqueline
Bardner Smith and Alix Berenzy, their
dummies helped open publishing doors
I always encourage anyone who tells me
they have an idea for a kid's book to
write it and if they are serious, include
advice on professional presentation
and finding an appropriate publisher for
All this said, I am deeply dismayed by the
trite subject matter and substandard writing
in so many celebrity books. Material that
would never be tolerated from true
children's book authors.
The biggest losers, I believe, are children
growing up thinking the mediocrity is literature
and being famous is far more important and than
ideas and writing skill.
I am also wondering how come with all the celebrity
children's book authors there are no celebrity
children's book Illustrators?