Tuesday, December 07, 2010

All I Want for Christmas Is...

by John


Dear Santa,

So, I think I’ve been good this year—or at least, no worse than last year! Hence, here are a number of things I want this holiday season from children’s book authors and illustrators:

PICTURE BOOKS: I’m only interested in professional illustrators who can also write, so Santa, if you’re not keeping your portfolio up to date, you may want to skip ahead. But if you’re sharing this letter with any author/illustrators out there, I want to meet the next great children’s book character(s). I’m finding situational or plot-driven picture books are a tough sell, but a great character that can eventually be branded like Olivia, Fancy Nancy, Skippyjon Jones—that’s what’s working best right now. Also, I want high concept books like IT’S A BOOK or THE QUIET BOOK, which seem to be hitting the mark as well.

MIDDLE-GRADE FICTION: Santa, I really, really, REALLY want the next great middle-grade series. There’s a HUGE hole in the market right now for a new adventure series that appeals to both boys and girls, because a lot of established series (PERCY JACKSON, 39 CLUES) have recently ended. I want middle-grade that takes itself seriously—so much of the middle-grade I see takes that jokey, gross-out, paperback tone that doesn’t really match the reading ability of its audience. I want middle-grade that isn’t trapped in the classroom—I see way too many school stories that just don’t have enough hardcover appeal. And finally, I want middle-grade authors that ask “what if” the way Margaret Peterson Haddix did in her brilliant SHADDOW CHILDREN series.

YOUNG ADULT FICTION: I also want YA writers to ask “what if,” though not necessarily in a fantasy or dystopian setting; for example, Libba Bray’s GOING BOVINE blew me away with its inventive riff on DON QUIXOTE. I want something as funny as GOING BOVINE, too—so much of what I see is soooo dark. Lighten up, folks! That said, I want to see clever concepts like THIRTEEN REASONS WHY, even if they do tread serious ground. And finally, Santa, I want to see something genuinely new, and not just another mash-up of established genres.

Santa, is this all too much to ask? I hope not, because next week I’ll send you my adult wish list...

6 comments:

  1. One little elf is working hard to deliver what you want (she hopes). Happy Holidays! :)

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  2. Dear Michael,

    What if I told you I have just what you're looking for in the Pitcure Book and Middle-Grade categories, but I've been so busy lately I'm afraid I might fall behind schedule! (It is my busiest time of the year, you know!!!)

    I've looked over your 2010 year and although you've been better than in other years, and no worse than last year as you say, still, "I see when you are sleeping, I know when you're awake....." well, you get the picture!

    I'm afraid you're going to have to wait a little bit longer before I can hook you up with that writer I have in mind.

    If you're good this coming year, you may just get what you're looking for! Until then, send me your adult Christmas list so you can at least "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas!"

    Love,
    Santa

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  3. Do you see how tired I am John??? I actually wrote down Michael when that young man had a different list! Mrs. Claus and I will be taking a much needed vacation after the 25th!!!

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  4. Hmmm ... my middle grade Megabyte Mystery series (Gumboot Books - the second book just out) is both funny and series. The debut of the series Dead Frog on the Porch has been called: Nancy Drew for the ipod generation. Twin female protags, and both boys and girls like it! The second in the series Dead Bird through the Cat Door is like Nancy Drew meets Lady Macbeth!

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  5. For the picture book category... check out Maddie Monkey!

    http://www.hudsoncreativestudio.com/maddiemonkey.html

    Janna Hudson

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  6. Thanks for valuable links..Composition sounds good..

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