Sunday, 6 March 2011

"Darling, Don't Tell the Children..."

The world of children's writing and publishing is dominated by adults. So much so, that I often cause shocked disbelief in people outside when I explain that actual, live children are rarely, if ever, involved in any aspect of it. Except of course as consumers, though even there adult readers have recently staged an invasion. Which is no bad thing, but still...

So where are the kids in all this? Well, one place they might be found now is this fantastic new Guardian site (actually a sub-section of Guardian Books, but what the hey?). It's a rare spot for young readers themselves -- still handed down by grown ups, but at least its heart is in the right place and real children and teens are involved. It's well worth digging through if you have an interest in writing for the young.

US agent Mary Kole recently posted about the ranks of adult gatekeepers that stand between writers and children. It sounds all wrong, doesn't it, but that's how it's done. So I was amused to read about Lucy Coats' recent World Book Night adventure. That's one way to reach readers directly, and all in a good cause too.


  1. I'm hoping more kids get to write their own stuff and get some good adult backing in the future. My daughter just wrote a fabulous story - so good her class adapted it into a play and they're performing it to the school/teachers/parents and anyone, in fact, who turns up at their fun fair! And all this creativity was inspired, I'm certain, by the fantastic books my daughter has read - written by lovely people like you, Thomas!

  2. Thanks, Rachel, and congratulations to your daughter! I suspect her mother might have been an inspiration too:)

  3. I continue to be slightly bemused by the absence of children in the process, even if I can understand why. It just seems to me rather ironic that there are a legion of aspiring children's writers out there (including myself) whose work has been read by vastly more adults than actual kids. There is, of course, the option of having your own children so that at least they can enjoy your stories - but mine don't seem all that interested!

  4. And interesting point. But at the end of the day you can't force a kid to read something they don't want to - at least - I can't force mine - but they're quick to spread the word among their friends if they find something good. I've come across some children's authors I would never have heard of otherwise - via my daughter - via her friends.


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