Is it just me, or is children's lit everywhere lately?
By now, hundreds of thousands of people have viewed Stephen Colbert's two-part interview with children's book demigod Maurice Sendak. It's here and here, in case you're not one of them. (Fair warning: Part 1 is a bit, ahem, adult.) In between guffaws at the inevitable bluster-meets-crotchetiness hilarity, I got a real sense that the piece was created with respect for children's books. Colbert got all the names and titles right, which shouldn't be remarkable but is in comparison with past glances from the media at little old kiddie lit. We got two full segments and lots of acknowledgement (via TV-persona-Colbert saying the opposite) that our medium is important and takes skill, not just a big name and a vague awareness that children are charming.
And then there were the ALA Youth Media Awards, which caught enough people's interest that #alayma was a trending topic on Twitter during the announcements--not bad for a webcast that only "seats" 1000. Even better, NPR's Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! had the good sense to invite hash smuggler-turned-Newbery winner Jack Gantos, possibly creating the highest concentration of funny people ever in one radio broadcast.
Oh, and BEA, the conference that's given me the strongest impression that publishing is an industry,
just added a children's day.
It seems people are realizing that there's value - social value, artistic value, monetary value, what have you - in children's books. I'm proud to say I knew that before it was cool.