I read children's books for a living. No, not as an editor or publisher, I read children's books to children. My audience is both appreciative and opinionated. They are fearless in showing both their love and their disdain. Tough crowd.
In addition to the young reader/listeners, ranging in age from 1-8, I adore the 9-12 readers. Especially the ones who claim to "hate reading". A lot of times they've felt forced (in school) to read books that don't interest them at all so they don't even recognize reading as a positive experience. That's not easy to overcome, their attitude has been tainted and they can't imagine reading for enjoyment, all they know is they don't WANT to read.
It always breaks my heart a little bit when parents size up a child's book choice and comes out with something like, "Whaddaya reading that for? It's a baby book. It's too easy for you." Well, maybe it is. And why is that any of our adult business? Maybe it was a tough day at school. Maybe someone wasn't kind. Maybe a "baby book" has been sought out for comfort. Maybe a challenging book isn't what's called for at this moment. Let them read what they want, when it's for enjoyment. They'll seek out more words, more pages, more authors when the time is right.
My favorite way to match a book to a reader is to just ask them to read the first page. That's all. That's all??? they ask. That's all I answer. Then, at the end of the first page I'll ask, "Do you want to know more about this story?" and if they do, great. If not, we try again. There's a book for everyone, we just have to find it. This simple trick has worked for me time and again, whether it's a reticent 8 year old or an absolutely criminal (and that's not over stating a fact) 15 year old, I've found success with the "first page" test.
I am over the moon with the news that Vanessa B. Newton's book, "Let Freedom Ring" will be published soon! Can't wait to see it on our shelves. I'm already planning a children's program around it...check out her blog to find out more.
I came across Vanessa's blog and was instantly smitten. Her work grabbed me as soon as I lay my eyes on it. Honestly, I see thousands of books a day, but I've learned to know a good thing when I see it. And Vanessa and her art? They are very good things. Here's to you, Divine Miss V.!