Tuesday, September 24, 2002

I Guess You'd Call This Thought Provoking

I did not expect to like "Kids Lit Grows Up" an article by Charles Taylor that appears in Salon.com. Children's writers are not very fond of celebrities who decide "Hey, I can write a children's book." Taylor's article isn't about celebrities writing children's books but about writers of adult fiction writing them. Which is a similar situation. Or at least I thought so until Taylor convinced me otherwise.

According to Taylor, a number of writers have children's books coming out soon or already out. He discusses Neil Gaiman's Coraline, which I've already gone on record as saying I didn't like (see September 9 entry), as well as books by Carl Hiaasen, Isabel Allende, and Michael Chabon. (Chabon wrote The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, which I found too rambly and couldn't finish--This business of my never reading anything I like is really getting me down.) I assumed writers of adult fiction were moving in on kid turf because the Harry Potter thing suggested there was big money to be made by doing so. Taylor gives a more benign reason, and he makes a logical case.

Taylor's argument is that these authors are writing children's books because right now children's literature is an exciting field to be working in and who wouldn't want to be part of an exciting field? In addition, the impression that there's big money in kid lit (and, folks, it's only an impression--the people making big bucks are few and far between) is making it possible for these people to find publishers for their children's books. Under normal circumstances that might not happen.

It's a good article that's worth a look. Oh, my gosh! I think I just read something I liked!


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