I was delighted to read the headline ‘Recession fails to bite children’s market’ (Caroline Horn 23.01.12 The Bookseller) www.thebookseller.com/…/recession–fails–bite–childrens–market.html
That people continue to buy books for their children when times are hard is a cheering thought for those of us involved in the creation of the books themselves, as well as for those lucky young people reading them.
Michael Morpurgo’s War Horse is in its second week as the bestselling book in the UK (over all editions), and Quentin Blake’s illustrations on a new series of stamps from the Royal Mail, issued to celebrate the work of Roald Dahl, indicate the prominent position children’s writers and illustrators now hold. After so many years of being the Cinderella of the book world, Children’s Publishing has grown into a confident royal.
Business isn’t booming all down the line and the threat to libraries and high-street bookshops is snapping at our heels like the big bad wolf. Inevitably, this will mean fewer opportunities for children to discover a range of books. And what can we do about it? Plenty. We can join Alan Gibbons http://alangibbons.net/ to suport libraries in the Campaign for the Book, make use of online resources to spread the word about new books – others’ and our own – and take our stories and ourselves into schools for children to discover them first-hand. As Frank Cottrell Boyce said in his keynote speech for the Society of Authors CWIG (Children’s Writers and Illustrators Group) last year, “Everyone likes being read to; everyone likes being enchanted.” We are the enchanters – let’s get to work!
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