Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Kirkus and a Rodney Dangerfield moment

In the "you never know" category... the owner of an NBA team and shopping mall developer has purchased Kirkus Reviews. Described as an inveterate reader, Herb Simon said "my love of books makes me want to be part of the solution for the book publishing industry.” Good for him.

And in another random thought for which there is no reasonable segue, I've been thinking about the lack of attention in the awards arena for writers of picture books. While illustrators and authors of books for older children get one day to bask (not to mention tremendous boosts in sales) when the ALA awards are announced each year, writers of picture books are ignored.

The Charlotte Zolotow Award is given to the best picture book text each year and that award has brought attention to some wonderful authors .... but they don't get asked to appear on the morning news shows, now do they? I don't want to sound like Rodney Dangerfield here, but really. (This year's winner was What Can You Do With a Paleta? by by Carmen Tafolla. Last year's, How to Heal a Broken Wing by Bob Graham, was edited by my editor at Candlewick, Joan Powers. I bet if you don't work in children's publishing you hadn't heard of these award winners. They and other books noted by the Cooperative Children's Book Center should be widely read!)

Both Kirkus and the CCBC do important work in helping readers, librarians and parents find good books. They both gave MM good reviews, so naturally that inclines me to like them. A star or notable designation would have translated to love, but like the man said, I don't get no respect.