Today, Danielle from Bibliosmiles is here to talk about what she's learned about children's books through her career! Danielle is a pretty cool person, if I do say so myself, and I really loved getting to learn about this!
luck and some fine resume crafting, I found myself in an internship in educational publishing. Now, out of college since 2013, I’m celebrating my first full year in a job I love: working as an editor at a children’s publishing company.
This makes sense to me: embracing the age group where I first learned to love to read. I like working on the education side of things, helping create teacher’s manuals and learning resources so teachers can share a wide array of reads with their students. I’ve learned quite a bit about reading and kids in the last year, and I think it’s pretty exciting to be “in the know” when it comes to current literary trends and needs for this crucial age group.
Here are a few cool things I’ve learned about kids this year in publishing:
1) Children respond to humor. According to the 2014 Kids and Family Reading Report, 70% of children ages 6-17 want a book that “makes me laugh.” That’s why series like Captain Underpants, Junie B. Jones, and Wayside School are so popular. Who doesn’t like a good chuckle every once in a while when they’re reading?
2) Children want to see themselves in the books they read – and we should encourage that! If you’re a frequenter of social media, you may be familiar with the We Need Diverse Books campaign. We Need Diverse Books is an organization of book lovers dedicated to changing the way publishers produce and promote diversity in literature. While we’re still far from seeing diversity in all aspects of children’s literature, there have been some cool steps in the right direction. For example, Meg Cabot, famous for her Princess Diaries series, introduces Mia’s biracial half-sister in From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess. The Great Greene Heist by Varian Johnson is full of diverse characters; and it’s essentially like Ocean’s Eleven for young readers. How cool is that?
3) Kids like reading; just let them make the choices. 91% of kids, according to the Kids and Family Reading Report, say their favorite books are the ones they’ve picked out themselves. So bring your kid to the library or bookstore and let them browse. Don’t be a “gatekeeper” who makes the choices for them, restricting what they can and can’t read. Especially now, when kids are on summer vacations, it’s easy to succumb to mindless TV-watching or playing videogames. But if there’s an interesting book in the mix? They may be partial to picking that up instead.
So what have I learned since I started working in publishing? Kids are awesome, and we should have faith in them. They appreciate good humor and great characters, and they’re not all against books. It gives me hope that there’s a big generation of bookworms coming up in the world, and I can’t see what they do.
Zoey, thanks so much for having me on Uncreatively Zoey! Readers: I’d love to hear about all of your favorite books when you were younger.
Danielle Villano is a New Jersey native and a graduate of the SUNY Purchase creative writing program. She lives in New York City and should be working on her YA novel instead of going to brunch. She blogs at BiblioSmiles, and can be reached on Twitter as @daniellevillano.