Posted by Laurel on 08/28/08
Today I’m pirating (I mean, guest-blogging) the lovely Old Hag. In a brave and glorious act of self-promotion (though maybe if I do this often enough, I’ll also inspire Lizzie to post more often again. We miss you, Old Hag!)
And because Lizzie is a clever fancypants (don’t even try to deny it!) and because I assume her readers are also clever, and wearers of pants that are fancy, I thought I might take this opportunity to ask you all what you think of children’s books?
Because the entire (shameless pirate-hussy that I am) reason for my visit is that I’ve just published my first book for kids, Up and Down the Scratchy Mountains, and I’m finding I have a complicated relationship with becoming a children’s author. As opposed to being a “writer” or a “poet” or a “waitress” for that matter.
Not because I don’t think it totally rocks to write for kids. IT TOTALLY ROCKS! But because I feel these silly twinges when I head out into the world of clever pants.
Maybe my issues stem from the fact that a lot of MFA programs won’t count children’s books toward tenure (and I am, for better or for worse, a product of that world). Maybe my problems arise from being told by Yaddo that they cannot fund the writing of children’s books, no matter how good or literary. Maybe it’s the lack of children’s coverage in newspapers. Maybe it’s just that poets I know insist on referring to children’s books as “genre.”
But whatever the case, I’m steamed.
And I thought that maybe I could ask you what you think…
What say you? Are children’s books literary? If you meet someone at a party, and they tell you they are an author, and then you find out they write for kids, does that change the way you think about them as writers?
Tell me the truth? Or spank me and send me to bed!
And maybe… either way… when your cousin’s kid has a birthday, or your friend-with-a-baby invites you over for dinner…
You’ll buy my book!