The strength of the children’s book market can be seen not only in the Harry Potter phenomenon but in sales for this year’s winners of the two top literary prizes in the field.
At the American Library Association’s midwinter meeting in January, Christopher Paul Curtis won the John Newbery Medal for his novel Bud, Not Buddy, and Simms Taback won the Randolph Caldecott Medal for the picture book Joseph Had a Little Overcoat.
Bud, Not Buddy, already in its fourth press run, according to Publishers Weekly, with 65,000 copies in print, will have a fifth printing of 100,000 copies. The story is similar for Joseph Had a Little Overcoat, which will have its 30,000 first printing augmented with a 100,000 second printing.
Walter Dean Myers won the first Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in literature for young adults for his novel Monster. That prize is named for a school librarian.
Ever wonder how children’s books find their way to publication? Expect insights in the letters of Ursula Nordstrom, called by The New York Times “the greatest editor of American children’s books in this century.”
Dear Genius, edited by Leonard S. Marcus, is being reissued as a paperback in March by HarperCollins. It collects Ms. Nordstrom’s correspondence with a host of authors, from E.B.White to Maurice Sendak, while she headed Harper & Row’s department of books for girls and boys from 1940 to 1973. The list of books she worked on—and in some cases discovered—reads like a roll call of children’s classics: Charlotte’s Web, Goodnight Moon, Stuart Little, Where the Wild Things Are, and Little House on the Prairie, to name a few.
The Ms. Foundation for Women is offering educators new curricular tools—designed for boys as well as girls—to use in coordination with Take Our Daughters to Work Day on April 27. More information is available by phone at (800) 676-7780, or at the Take Our Daughters To Work site from the Ms. Foundation for Women.
— Sandra Reeves
A version of this article appeared in the February 16, 2000 edition of Education Week