Following Monday's post, I've been enjoying a lively discussion on the topic of who wields the most influence over the purchase of children's books -- the child or the adult?
Here's my take on the subject. Do adults lean toward books that stir warm childhood memories? Yes! Are children influenced by books with popular media tie-ins? Sure!
However, in my experience as a library media specialist and literacy advocate, I see quite an astute audience out there in the market place. I meet with hundreds of children every week. The vast majority are looking for quality literature and their parents are pretty savvy about new titles and authors. Parents usually want to provide the best reading material available and communicate with their children and literacy professionals like myself at school and public libraries as well as teachers to find material. In addition, I certainly wouldn't underestimate the impact of book reviews by the knowledgeable children's book bloggers in the Kidlitosphere. And there are Amazon. com reviews for that matter. The librarians I know make liberal use of the numerous professional reviews in Kirkus, Horn Book, School Library Journal, etc. in our quest for the best.
Last and certainly not least...word of mouth is always at work to elevate quality work or eliminate the inferior.
I see the child/adult issue as more of a collaboration than a contest. I've observed parents and children at countless book fairs and other book-buying venues. I see parents who are eager to introduce their favorite authors and stories to their children. And at the same time, most parents are not only willing, but eager to consider their child's suggestions with regard to new titles and authors and most often draw the line at purchasing based on the appropriateness of the subject matter and the quality of the writing. Best case...it's a win/win for both.Poetry Friday Roundup is being hosted today by Great Kid Books. As a Mom to several canines and Foster Mom to a score more, I'm offering up "Stanza," a picture book in rhyme --written by Jill Esbaum and illustrated by Jack E. Davis. Stanza and his two brothers spend their nights harassing city folks, but once his siblings are asleep, Stanza secretly indulges his poetic side. Of course his secret is found out, but the turmoil over his double-life is eventually resolved and his bullying brothers, Fresco and Dirge discover their own artistic talents.
Friday's Famous First: Can you name the title and author of this children's book? "On the banks of the river Nagara, where the long-necked cormorants fish at night, there once lived a poor widow and her son."