Children's writing

National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature

First, how fant-abulous is it that the Library of Congress has created this position?! According to this article in the NY Times, it’s a position akin to that of poet laureate. Woo-hoo!

And who is the first-ever National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature? Mr. Jon Scieszka. Applause, applause.

Jon Scieszka is one of my top-shelf favorite children’s authors. “Top-shelf” means a favorite of my favorites, an honor bestowed on just 12 authors at a time. I enjoy his Time Warp Trio series, Math Curse, and most of his other work, but my #1 favorite book of his is Science Verse. I read that one over and over and over. So clever, so smooth, so funny, so smart. Mr. Scieszka believes kids are smart, as I do, and he writes accordingly. He doesn’t hesitate to challenge them.

He started a literacy program called Guys Read, to encourage boys to read, and he’s on a mission to reach out to reluctant readers. He’ll be speaking during Children’s Book Week. Do you suppose we can get him to stitch a bookmark? I’ll send him supplies. I’ll even invite him over to teach him how to stitch if necessary–but I’ll bet he could figure it out on his own.

Jon Scieszka has a new 52-book series coming out this month, a preschool series called Trucktown, published by Simon & Schuster. This is a major production, with myriad branches and tie-ins, including (if I recall correctly from what I read months ago) TV, activities, maybe a movie, etc. Simon & Schuster built a huge garage-like studio in their offices in which development meetings were held and in which the 3 main illustrators collaborated to design the artwork for the series. See what I mean by “major production”? I can’t wait to see it, though it’s a little young for my tastes.

While developing Trucktown, Mr. Scieszka spent time in preschool classrooms, getting to know that age group, learning what they liked and found funny. In the past, he has taught a number of grades between K and 8. This is what I like best about Jon Scieszka: in addition to all the great stuff he creates and does, he’s worked hard to get where he is as a writer. In an industry where luck has a strong hand, it’s nice to feel that someone has genuinely earned his success.

Cheers to Jon Scieszka, the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature!

Categories: Children's writing

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