I was listening to the radio the other day when they began discussing children’s books. The host was amazed at the success of the book “Where the Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak and went on to read the book over the air making comments along the way. His opinion was that anyone can write a children’s book with twenty minutes and a Blackberry. While I agree with the host that anyone can write a children’s story, getting a story published is a completely different matter.
Publishing is a business, and editors are under pressure to look for stories that will sell. Thousands of people each year send their manuscripts to publishing houses in hopes of being selected, only to receive a rejection letter. Believe me I know, I have a pile of them at home that remind just how fortunate I am to have finally been published.
The host went on to state that children’s books were written by people that don’t know how to write real books, ones without pictures. While I can understand that this is an opinion that many share, but I have to disagree. There is a challenge in writing a story with less that 500 words that has a beginning, middle, and end. The story must also have an original plot and be interesting enough to hold a four year olds attention. Anyone who has tried to sit on a long plane flight trying to keep their squirming child busy can appreciate the talent this takes.
It takes talent to write a truly good children’s book, and the ones that do it best make it look easy. Congratulation Mr. Sendak, you made it look easy.
Writing on the Sidewalk