Hey, all you PB writers out there, I bet you read—or at least heard about—last week’s downer of an article in The NY Times, “Picture Books No Longer a Staple for Children.” According to Julie Bosman’s article, a poor economy aside, parents are another big factor in the growing pb sales slump. As Bosman writes, feeling pressured by the kid-eat-kid world of standardized testing in schools, parents are “pressing their kindergartners and first graders to leave the picture book behind and move on to more text-heavy chapter books.”
As a result, more pbs are collecting dust on bookstore shelves. This shift away from pbs toward older kid genres—from chapter books on up, in particular, those blood-thirsty YAs—was confirmed by some key booksellers and kidlit publishers, who say they’re buying fewer pbs because of it.
Of course, cyberspace was abuzz with reactions from anyone who had any connection to the pb world, from school teachers to booksellers to parents. Most defended pbs for their challenging vocabulary and ability to “force an analog way of thinking,” among other traits.
But here’s my question for you PB writers: After reading articles like this, writing for and landing sales in the pb market sounds more challenging than ever. Does discouraging news like this make you think twice about continuing to write for this genre? Does this article make you want to jump the sinking ship Picture Book and swim over to the YA lifeboat? Or do you just try to ignore whatever The Old Gray Lady and her fussy friends say about the state of kidlit, so you can keep on doing what you do best, writing and hopefully selling your next and best PB?
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Posted by J.L. Finnell at 10:08 AM