At first glance the traditions of journalism and scholarship seem completely unlike: journalism so bustling, feverish, [quite] content with daily oblivion; the academic world so sheltered, deliberate and hopeful of enduring products. It is true that both are concerned with ascertainment and diffusion of truth. In journalism, however, the emphasis falls on a rapid diffusion of fact and idea, in academic work it falls on a prolonged, laborious ascertainment. — Allan Nevins
Every year, publishers produce an avalanche of new children’s picture books, short stories, childrens’ animated TV programs and movies, hoping for marketable characters, . In the U.S., the number of new children’s books published annually, ranges from 2,000 to almost 5,000! A parent struggling to find stories of value faces a considerable challenge. Yet…
In the United States, half the books printed in 2002, and shipped to booksellers, were returned to the publishing company to be remaindered or destroyed (Association of American Publishers). In the U.S., it is estimated, of the books printed that do get sold to individuals, 95 percent are never read.
What an incredible waste. Presumably, the books are not sufficiently informative, or relevant, or captivating. Titles and cover graphics probably suggest more value than is provided, so the owner gave up reading it.
With all the wonderful things in the world, with all the difficulties & challenges life can deliver, and the fabulous, exemplary, art, what self-respecting adult markets a vulgar book to children (positive ending notwithstanding)? So what if the outstandingly vulgar catches attention and sells, … guess what? It’s still outstandingly vulgar.
The pop music industry seems to be the model for many a children’s book publishing department. Song after forgettable song is thrust over the airwaves. Song lyrics, melodies and accompanying videos, are selected for ‘catchiness’ and shock value — more sex, vulgarity, etc. —aimed at ever younger kids, indiscriminately pursuing any possible audience. It is an affront to decent sensibility.
Children’s literature suffers the same shame.
Haystack’s & Needles
Let the publishers do whatever they like because, buried in this marketing mêlée there are wonderful books by wonderful authors. The trick lies in finding them.
Help out. Buy the better books from VM. We pass on the royalties those authors deserve, and VM can grow to find more titles to parents who care, as do we. If you know of a good one, re-read it to see if it really fits our standards (see Our Approach) then, after due consideration, let us know.