Sunday, October 10, 2010

What Do You REALLY Think, CC?

"CC" from Philadelphia shared her thoughts in the Comments section of the NEW YORK TIMES regarding the October 8, 2010 article "Picture Books No Longer a Staple for Children."

"Clearly written by someone who has no clue about the sea change that has taken place in children's book publishing since the golden days of GOODNIGHT MOON, Dr. Seuss, WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE, FROG AND TOAD, STREGA NONA and so many other works of genius. In those days books were developed under the auspices of book editors with backgrounds in literature and art and culture working for book publishers. Now books are developed by marketing departments in divisions of multinational corporations. Editors seldom have much experience in children's literature, education, art or anything cultural, and even if they do have some literacy qualifications they have no power to select what's published. That is left to a committee where most attendees' jobs may depend on whether or not the stories they support sell. Then there are the bazillions spent on giving celebrities, with no professional connection to children, million dollar contracts for pathetic ghost written books with massive promotion, while efforts by real writers are expected to be promoted solely by the unknown author using their own money and what ever connections they can drum up. Personally I know dozens of very talented very committed mid list picture book authors and illustrators who have left the field. Tired of being badly treated and having their books taken out of print after 6 months because of not having met arbitrary sale figures set for that time. And what about almost all the independent specialist children's bookstores with informed staffs who have been driven out of business by special deals arranged with the giant multiple bookstores. There are more than a few reasons for the decline in the sale of picture books."