Thursday, January 27, 2022

Managing Missteps…Oh My!

I have a confession: I read reviews. I know I shouldn’t. I’ve been strongly advised against doing so, but at a certain point I made the decision that, for me, the thrill of a good review outweighed the sting of a bad one. 


A scale with excerpts from good reviews on one side and bad on the other showing the good outweighing the bad.
Particularly thrilling are the “good reviews” where readers with disabilities and chronic illnesses say that my book makes them feel seen and represented in ways they rarely do, thereby letting me know that my aspiration to lift up my community and tell our stories authentically is on track. 


That’s why it’s so uncomfortable when I’m made aware of a misstep. 


Since its publication, I’ve learned that my novel Cursed has a level of ableism that doesn’t sit well with some readers. There was some ableism I wasn’t even aware of. For example, I’d used the words “crazy” and “insane” throughout the book, only learning after the fact that doing so perpetuates the stigma around mental health conditions. Charlesbridge Teen offered to swap out those words in the Cursed paperback, for which I was incredibly grateful.


Conversely, I’d made a conscious decision to include a good bit of internalized ableism in the story. My main character Ricky was able-bodied for the first 13 years of her life, as was I. Thus, following her chronic illness diagnosis, she had to deal with a lot of internalized ableism. I thought it was important to show her growth through and beyond that. 


I struggled with one scene in particular where her journey comes to somewhat of a head. Ricky eventually course-corrects her ableist assumptions, but as I was editing, I wondered: Does this go too far? 


Excerpt from the novel, Cursed. Text reads: "I realize I missed a whole school while my head was spinning. A new group is taking the stage. There’s a woman and a handful of students. The last boy lags behind the others, hobbling along on crutches—not the regular, broke-your-leg kind, the ones with the cuffs that go around your forearm. His body’s bent at an odd angle, and his legs don’t seem to work fully.  My heart races and my skin bristles. I put my head down, shut my eyes.  Is that what I look like to normal people? Do I look that strange? That broken?  I don’t want to go stand next to that guy, like the two of us are some kind of crippled magnets, drawn together. I don’t want people to think I’m like him (even though I kind of am, but not really). I don’t want to be seen with him, not because he’s so awful, but because the two of us together make too big a target for the buttwipe Ronnie Drakes and Matt Bookers of the world."















I asked a disabled friend to read the scene, and he thought I was okay. In retrospect, I realized that the friend I’d asked has incredibly thick skin. Maybe I should have consulted additional readers, particularly teens? Maybe I should have taken my own discomfort with the scene as an indication that I should tone it down a tad?


But I didn’t do any of that.


And a recent GoodReads reviewer let me know that, in his eyes, I’d messed up. 


Excerpt reads: "referring to Michael as 'broken' was so *!#@$! ableist and that whole description just made my skin crawl. I get that internalized ableism is a Thing. But it just wasn't necessary in that way."
Excerpt from the GoodReads review. 







Ouch. For me—but more importantly, for him.


The review itself was generous, 4 out of 5 stars, with the reviewer noting that he has cerebral palsy and saying I’d really gotten the “living with chronic pain” experience right. 


Ultimately, I stand by the scene, while also accepting that I let this reader down—someone thrilled to see himself accurately reflected, finally...only to get what felt like a slap in the face later on in the book.


The moral of this awkward story is that—whether we’re intentionally pushing boundaries in an attempt to make a point or unknowingly using harmful stereotypes and insensitive language when we really should have known better—none of this stuff is easy.


I do my best. That’s all any of us can do.


My thanks to Lee Wind for inviting me to share some of my thoughts here on the Official SCBWI Blog this month.


Happy creating everyone!



Photo of author Karol Ruth Silverstein wearing a light purple disability pride t-shirt.
KAROL RUTH SILVERSTEIN (she/her/disabled) is a screenwriter and writer of various genres of children’s books. Originally from Philadelphia, Karol now lives in West Hollywood with her incredibly fluffy cats, Ninja and Boo.

Follow her on Twitter @KRSilverstein, 

Instagram @KRSilverstin2019 and 

Facebook AuthorKarolRuthSilverstein.


For interviews, author videos, disability-related articles, upcoming events, etc. go to www.karolruthsilverstein.com

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

World Reading Habits in 2021 - Fascinating Stuff from the Folks at Global English Editing

A screen shot of part of the "World Reading Habits in 2021" Infographic, showing Reading Habits in the United States and the top part of Reading Habits in Europe

So there's a lot of info to be gleaned in this giant infographic from Global English Editing, like:

•Millennials read the most books of any generation

•Romance is the most popular genre in the US for adult readers

•The list of four countries that report 100% literacy rates does not include the US (The four are Andorra, Luxembourg, Norway, and Liechtenstein.)

•66% of readers "believe printed books offer a more unique and fulfilling reading experience than e-books."

•More than half (50-53%) of kids between the ages of 6-17 borrow books from school or public libraries.

Check out the full infographic on "World Reading Habits in 2021" here.

Illustrate, Translate, and Write On,
Lee

Thursday, January 20, 2022

I Can’t Draw (Or So I Thought)

**Alt text included for all photos.

Author Karol Ruth Silverstein pictured as a chubby 9 year old in a 70s style outfit, holding up a tiny trophy.
Me at about 9 years old, proudly
holding the trophy I got for 
singing in the school chorus.

As anyone who’s ever been in a vehicle with me can attest—I love to sing, loudly and unabashedly. From as far back as I can remember, singing has brought me immense joy. But here’s the thing: my singing voice is merely blissfully mediocre. I have zero aspirations or potential as a vocalist beyond making myself happy. Ah—SUCH freedom!


Like a lot of kids, art was a big part of my grade school experience, but after sixth grade, I put my paints and markers and crayons away because, well, I can’t draw.


Flash way…WAY…forward to 2020. I was wading through the early days of the pandemic, as we all were, trying to stay safe, combat boredom and keep my spirits up. Jenn Reese, an author/illustrator I follow on Facebook, was doing weekend creative challenges, poems or stories on Saturdays and illustration prompts on Sundays. I was having tremendous fun with the Saturday challenges but skipping Sundays, obviously, because…I can’t draw. 


Several rough drawings in of cats in various poses, accompanied by text: "In which my complete lack of drawing talent becomes evident" and "why I don't do the drawig ones (sic)"
My first art challenge attempt.
(I was so nervous, I spelled 
drawing wrong.)

I honestly don’t remember why, one Sunday, I spontaneously decided to try the drawing challenge. Boredom maybe? The result was…pretty dreadful.


But something shifted or got cleared away or opened up or…something. I kept doing the art challenges. Occasionally I’d come up with a rather nice drawing, only to be followed by chicken scratch the next week. But I was having FUN and, I truly believe, growing as an artist.


When October rolled around, I did my own version of Inktober (a global art challenge that many illustrators participate in annually). I called it “K-Inktober” and mostly drew “fan art” from my own work, including my published novel, Cursed, and several other

manuscripts and WIPs. 


Three crude drawings. Two dogs howling at the moon; half of a black cat's face with three black whiskers and one white; a skeleton of the foot, drawn in black with red "fire" around each joint. Text includes excerpts from stories and "#KinkTober"
A selection of my favorite drawings from #K-Inktober.

A self-portrait drawing: Karol in the foreground with many drawings on the wall in the background. Text: "I did it!"
Final K-Intober drawing.


Again, the results were mixed, but at the end of the month, I had done 31 drawings! 

What a sense of accomplishment—especially considering I can’t draw.


When October 2021 rolled around…I did it again. Jenn Reese and another artist sponsored the #AutumWoods2021 challenge. I had a blast—not only doing the drawings, but sharing them on social media and being a part of the community doing the challenge. 


Three drawings done with markers: an arctic fox; a snake with a top hat in a blue circle; a wolf howling within a large; text for each:"#AutumnWoods2021" and "#OctoberArtChallenge."
A selection of my favorite #AutumnWoods2021 drawings.


Jenn and two additional artists created a shorter challenge for December, #WinterLights2021. Naturally, badly drawn wild horses couldn’t keep from participating. Since it was only seven drawings this time, I challenged myself to include text with each one. (After all, I’m supposed to be a writer.) That resulted in a couple poems, a scene of dialog between a tree and a wishing star and my first ever attempt at a comic strip!


Turns out—I can draw. I will never rise to a professional level, will never illustrate my own picture book, and no one will ever pay me for my artwork. And that’s absolutely fine. 


Just as I sing for my own pleasure, I’m now drawing for fun and to open myself up as a creative artist and as a human being.

Drawing (in markers) of a mouse and cat. The cat has given the mouse a gift of cheese. Red hearts are above the cheese, which has a ribbon. Text: "DAY 21: An Unexpected Gift, #WinterLights2021" and "You are all my unexpected gifts. I love & appreciate you ALL."
My final #WinterLights2021 drawing.

Many friends commented on  my posts during these art challenges, loving what I was doing but lamenting that they, themselves, can’t draw. So let me pass on to you what I said to them—try it! 


Search the hashtags above or Google “drawing prompts” for ideas. There’s no rule that you have to do art challenges at specific times. You’re also not required to share your drawings (but be my guest and share in the comment section if you feel so motivated).


At the very least, you’ll have fun. At most, you might bring about an incredible shift in your artistic life.


Three cheers for blissful mediocrity!



Author photo of Karol Ruth Silverstein wearing a disability pride t-shirt.
KAROL RUTH SILVERSTEIN (she/her/disabled) is a screenwriter and writer of various genres of children’s books. Originally from Philadelphia, Karol now lives in West Hollywood with her incredibly fluffy cats, Ninja and Boo.


Follow her on Twitter @KRSilverstein, Instagram @KRSilverstin2019 and Facebook AuthorKarolRuthSilverstein.


For interviews, author videos, disability-related articles, upcoming events, etc. go to www.karolruthsilverstein.com



Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Have You Registered for the SCBWI 2022 Winter Conference Yet?

 

The SCBWI Winter Conference Logo shows a group of children all looking at a book on a park bench in the light snow with friendly animals around them. The text reads: "SCBWI Winter Conference: Creating and Selling Children's Books in 2022: On Zoom February 11-13, 2022: #SCBWIWinter22

Here's the link to all the conference info!

And, to whet your appetite, here's a (very subjective) top five things to be excited about:

5: Keynotes! (From Vanessa Brantley-Newton, Stephanie Garber, Brian Selznick, Kelly Yang, and Paula Yoo)

4: The Editors Panel! (With Michelle Frey, Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers; Farrin Jacobs, Little Brown Books for Young Readers; Emma Ledbetter, Abrams Books for Young Readers; Denene Millner, Denene Millner Books/Simon and Schuster; and Cynthia Leitich Smith, Heartdrum/Harper-Collins)

3: The Art Directors Panel! (With Erica De Chavez, HarperCollins; Maria Elias, Penguin Random House; Kristen Nobles, Charlesbridge; Lesley Worrell, Tor/Forge Books; and Cecilia Yung, Penguin Books for Young Readers)

2: The Agents Panel! (With Chad Beckerman, The CAT Agency; Jemisco Chambers-Black, Andrea Brown Literary Agency; Samantha Fabien, Root Literary Agency; Thao Le, Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency; and James McGowan, BookEnds Literary Agency)

1: Online socials! (Including the LGBTQIA2+ Social, Spanish Language Social, Translators Social, and the orientation for conference first-timers)

Bonus: An online conference bookstore!

Bonus Bonus: Online Peer Critiques!

Bonus Bonus Bonus: The Portfolio Showcase!

There's lots more, including the "Up Close with Publishing Professionals" sessions for writers and an entire day of illustrator sessions on the theme: "Location, Location, Location!"

Check out the full conference schedule here!

We hope to see you at the online SCBWI Winter 2022 conference!

Illustrate, Translate, and Write On,
Lee

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Sharing Pronouns and Identifiers Heal - and Help

A name tag reading: "Hello My Name Is / My Identifiers Are" filled in with "Karol Ruth Silverstein" and "she / her / disabled"
A name tag reading: "Hello My Name Is / My Identifiers Are"
filled in with "Karol Ruth Silverstein" and "she / her / disabled"

        ...she/her...disabled? Let me explain.

I’m cis-gender, and in the early days of sharing pronouns, I worried that my specifying she/her might come off as a little pretentious, like I was saying, “Look how woke/progressive I am!” This concern stemmed from the idea that cisgender is the default – the one assumed when none is given – which is part of the collective issue gender non-conforming kids face and is a harmful construct enlightened folks are trying to dismantle and move beyond. (I realize some readers may be confused or confronted by this idea, and I’ll leave the arduous task of educating them to those with a lot more patience and personal experience than I possess.)


As most people now acknowledge, the value of cisgender people sharing their pronouns is about allyship. By sharing my pronouns, I’m letting trans, gender-fluid and nonbinary kids know it’s safe for them to be their authentic selves around me. But I realized that sharing pronouns isn’t solely about gender identity and/or allyship. It also serves the very practical function of letting others know the correct words to use when referring to us. 

People often stumble over what word to use when talking about my disability. Some ask me mid-sentence; others guess. It’s never mean-spirited, but it can get awkward (particularly for the person who truly wants to “get it right”). Disability has harmful constructs a-plenty that are long overdue for dismantling. Most were created – and continue to be perpetuated – by able-bodied people looking to lessen the blow of the big, bad word disabled(Search #saytheword to explore my community’s thoughts on disability euphemisms.)


Two-part Twitter thread from The Tweedy Mutant (@thetweed). Text reads: I’d like to propose an end to the phrases” people of all abilities” and “regardless of ability” in lieu of disability. If you’re talking about disability, say disability or disability status. Here’s why: First, institutions and nondisabled ppl go out of their way to avoid saying the word “disability”. Look, the Voldemort treatment doesn’t do disabled ppl any favors; on the contrary, it means that  we have to put up with a never-ending stream of patronizing euphemisms.

Two-part Twitter thread from The Tweedy Mutant (@the_tweed). Text reads: I’d like to propose an end to the phrases ”people of all abilities” and “regardless of ability” in lieu of disability. If you’re talking about disability, say disability or disability status. Here’s why: First, institutions and nondisabled ppl go out of their way to avoid saying the word “disability”. Look, the Voldemort treatment doesn’t do disabled ppl any favors; on the contrary, it means that  we have to put up with a never-ending stream of patronizing euphemisms.


I share my disabled identity alongside my pronouns whenever the opportunity arises. I worry that this may not be well-received by all, that some may feel it akin to cultural appropriation. (I’m open to discussing this!) 


But just as gender-nonconforming people don’t have “preferred pronouns,” disabled isn’t my “preferred term” – it really is how I identify. Using she/her/disabled not only feels like the right thing to do but it also serves as a helpful way to ease conversation around my disability. 


Of course, people will still get it wrong occasionally, and that’s okay. I slip up with people’s pronouns plenty. When I do, I apologize and do my best to get it right the next time. That’s all I ask of my able-bodied brethren when referring to me. 

Blue circle with white image:
person throwing paper into a trashcan.
That—and please, for the love of God, retire the word differently-abled to the dustbin of treacly euphemisms where it belongs.

Here's to dismantling harmful constructs!



KAROL RUTH SILVERSTEIN (she/her/disabled) is a screenwriter and writer of various genres of children’s books. Originally from Philadelphia, Karol now lives in West Hollywood with her incredibly fluffy cats, Ninja and Boo.

Follow her on Twitter @KRSilverstein, Instagram @KRSilverstin2019 and Facebook AuthorKarolRuthSilverstein.


For interviews, author videos, disability-related articles, upcoming events, etc. go to www.karolruthsilverstein.com

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Inspiration for Writers from Lesléa Newman

The cover of "Write from the Heart: Inspiration and Exercises for Women Who Want to Write" by Lesléa Newman


I'm reading Lesléa's "Write from the Heart: Inspiration and Exercises for Women Who Want to Write," and found these two bits from the introduction pretty inspirational:

To answer the question, "What in the world does she have to write about?" Lesléa answers: 

"Nothing much. Absolutely everything. The stuff of my life, which is ordinary yet extraordinary. I have met many women who think they can't be writers because their lives aren't interesting enough to write about. This is simply untrue. Everyone's life is mysterious, beautiful, stunning magic. It doesn't matter if you've lived in the same town your whole life or traveled around the world seven times. What matters is your ability to open up to the breathtaking and spectacular adventure that happens to be your life. You job is to experience it, see it, feel it, live it, and write it down." (pg.2)

 and on the difference between writing and rewriting:

"When I write the first draft of anything (including this very [excerpt from my] book you're reading), I move my pen across the page and I do not stop until the piece I am writing naturally comes to a close, or until a predetermined amount of time has passed. All I am doing at this point is getting my material out to see what it is I have to say. I don't go back over it and try to improve it at this point. I don't worry about the dialogue being authentic, the characters being convincing, all the verb tenses being correct. The process of going back over your work and making it the best it can be is not writing. It is rewriting. You cannot write and rewrite simultaneously. Rewriting involves going back over what you have just written with a friendly but critical eye. You cannot go forward and backward at the same time." (pg. 6)

While the book's title promises inspiration and exercises for women who want to write, there's plenty of wisdom (and inspiration and exercises) for anyone of any gender who wants to take the journey of being a writer. It's well-worth checking out.

Illustrate, Translate, and Write On,
Lee

Thursday, January 6, 2022

What Will Be Your Focus for 2022?

Greetings and Happy New Year SCBWI people!

First let me thank Lee Wind for inviting me to be a guest blogger for January.

A little about me: I’m an award winning author, have been an SCBWI member for over 20 years and this past summer fulfilled my dream of presenting at the National Summer Conference. My pronouns are she/her, and I identify as disabled. I’m a full-on cat person, am obsessed with Hamilton, and feel certain that, in some alternate universe, I compete in American Ninja Warrior. 


Nice to meet you!


Now that the holidays are behind us, however atypical they may have been again this year, it seems like the perfect time to look at the year ahead. 



A lot of folks make New Year’s resolutions, but I prefer to think of a focus for my year instead. 


Resolutions can feel like to do lists, where success is measured by specific accomplishments or refraining from “bad behaviors.” Having a focus, on the other hand, is less defined. It allows for flexible interpretations and is more likely to lead to creative, emotional or even spiritual growth. 


As 2021 dawned, I decided on a focus of joyful abundance


Signing books at Children's Book World in W. Los Angeles.
Over 80 books were donated to the Cursed book drive.
That manifested in a number of ways, with professional highlights being attending the virtual ALA Conference where I officially accepted the 2020 Schneider Family Book Award for my YA novel, Cursed, (delayed due to COVID), an incredibly successful book drive to celebrate the paperback release of Cursed and the aforementioned Summer Conference appearance. In general, my year was full of varied and meaningful creative work, and my focus helped me not only to reach for joyful abundance but to recognize and appreciate it all around me.

So now, 2022 is upon us! 


I tend to be a pretty disciplined person in general. But in my writing life? Not so much. So I’ve decided on creative discipline for my 2022 focus.


I invite you to come up with a focus for 2022 that will help manifest something meaningful or transformative for you. 


There are no hard and fast rules around how to do this—in fact, there are no rules at all! If this exercise becomes stressful, that’s a clear indicator that it’s not a good fit for you. 


Best of luck—and have a great and focused year!


KAROL RUTH SILVERSTEIN (she/her/disabled) is a screenwriter and writer of various genres of children’s books.  Originally from Philadelphia, Karol now lives in West Hollywood with her incredibly fluffy cats, Ninja and Boo.


Follow her on Twitter @KRSilverstein, Instagram @KRSilverstin2019 and Facebook AuthorKarolRuthSilverstein.


For interviews, author videos, disability-related articles, upcoming events, etc. go to www.karolruthsilverstein.com

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

A New Plan For 2022 - Guest Bloggers!

Hello SCBWI Community! Lee Wind here. 

Lee Wind


In the years I've been blogging for SCBWI: The Blog, I've tried to make it all about inspiration, opportunity, craft, business, and community for those of us who create content for children and teens. 

In the illustration, translation, and writing you do for young people, I've hoped to: 

  • Inspire you
  • Offer you opportunities
  • Share craft tips and insights
  • Expand your understanding of the business of children's book publishing
  • And offer you a place in the SCBWI community that honors, reflects, and celebrates the diversity of both you and the world young people are growing up in today

Being the official blogger for SCBWI has been and continues to be an honor and a privilege, and yet, when it comes to reflecting diversity there's only so much that my single lens can offer. I'm a writer, not a translator or illustrator. I'm the Caucasian child of immigrants, I'm Gay, I'm a vegetarian, I'm a Jewish spiritual atheist... As much as I try to make posts relevant and interesting for many, I have a very specific perspective - like any individual.

So, I'm delighted to announce that starting this month (January 2022), SCBWI: The Blog will be hosting different monthly guest bloggers. I'll be sharing posts on Tuesdays, and our guest bloggers will be sharing posts on Thursdays.

First up as our January 2022 guest blogger is author Karol Ruth Silverstein.

Karol Ruth Silverstein

Karol is a friend, a long-time member of SCBWI, and the winner of the 2020 Schneider Family Book Award for her debut YA novel, Cursed. She's brilliant, an activist for the disabled community, and I can't wait to see where she shines the SCBWI: The Blog spotlight next.

So here's to an amazing 2022 ahead where we celebrate each other as we're on this adventure together.

Illustrate, Translate, and Write On,
Lee

p.s. - I'm putting together the guest blogger roster for 2022 throughout the month of January. If you'd like to be considered for a guest blogging spot, you're welcome to email me some blog post examples and a few topics you would want to address at: leewind (at) roadrunner (dot) com.

Thursday, December 30, 2021

Cosplay Inspiration - This Russian Bookstore Promotes Books and Reading With Some Incredible Images!

There's an article about this on Russia Beyond, "St. Petersburg bookstore ROCKS in promoting books" and they're right -

Check out the Bookstagram Images on https://www.instagram.com/izdaniya/ - it's really inspiring. 

Here are just a few of the WOW ones!

They floated a bathtub in the Gulf of Finland!

Staircase to match

simple but so effective!

maybe even better than the book cover?

Enjoy checking out lots more on the bookstore's Instagram account.

And that's some inspiration heading into 2022!

Stay safe, and Illustrate, Translate, and Write On,
Lee

Monday, December 27, 2021

New Year Resolutions: Cal Newport Urges a Thoughtful Approach to Social Media So We Can Do Our Creative "Deep Work"

Cover of "Deep Work" by Cal Newport

Cal Newport's "Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World" includes a section about figuring out if your time spent on social media makes sense for the larger picture of what you're hoping to accomplish. 

And one example Cal gives is for a writer (after citing a number of really successful authors who aren't on social media at all.) Here's part of the math Cal lays out for a "less famous" writer:

"Imagine that our hypothetical author diligently sends ten individualized tweets a day, five days a week—each of which connects one-on-one with a new potential reader. Now imagine that 50 percent of the people contacted in this manner become loyal fans who will definitely buy the author's next book. Over the two-year period it might take to write this book, this yields two thousand sales—a modest boost at best in a marketplace where bestseller status requires two or three times more sales per week. The question once again is not whether Twitter offers some benefits, but instead whether it offers enough benefits to offset its drag on your time and attention (two resources that are especially valuable to a writer.)"
—Cal Newport, from page 197-198 of Deep Work

As we look ahead to a new year of creative work, it's well worth doing this math for each of us - with everything we spend our time doing.

My thanks to Lori Snyder for the book recommendation.

Illustrate, Translate, and Write On,
Lee

Thursday, December 23, 2021

If We Removed Every YA Book Someone Might Object To...

The Pflugerville Library facebook post with the before and after view of just one section of their teen bookshelves. Happily, they didn't actually remove any of these books from the library. They just wanted to show what it would look like if they did...

In this Facebook post, the folks at the Pflugerville, Texas Library shared this striking photo, and wrote:

This is a before and after shot of what a single shelving unit in the library’s Teen Space would look like if we removed every book with content that could offend someone. Out of 159 books, there are ten left on the shelves. We removed books that contained profanity, teen drinking, religious content, racism, magic, abuse, sexual content, and more. But in taking away those books, we also removed examples of friendship, love, courage, creativity, faith, forgiveness, reality, resilience, humor, and history. As a public library, we seek to provide books and other materials that will interest the many people in our diverse community. We believe in giving our library guests the choice of what they check out and read. A book that one reader adores may be despised by another reader. And that’s okay. We provide the books. You get to decide which books you and your family check out.

So well done!

And cheers to librarians doing the incredibly important work of acquiring – and keeping on their shelves – books that can change young readers' lives for the better.

Illustrate, Translate, and Write On,
Lee

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Sarah Webb Lays Out the Many Roles of a Children's Bookseller

screen shot of Sarah Webb's Twitter post - the first in a thread where she lays out the many roles of a Children's bookseller. The photo shows Sarah (right) in front of the bookstore where she works part-time.


In this Twitter thread, author Sarah Webb responds to the reaction folks have been having to her part-time job as a bookseller. Sarah writes:

Lots of people have expressed surprise that I’m working as a part-time children’s bookseller. I don’t think they have any idea how skilled a job bookselling is.

So here are some of the things children’s booksellers do every day...

1/ We recommend books to grown ups for the children in their lives. Sometimes they know lots about the child or teen and their reading likes and dislikes, sometimes they just know the age. We do our best to find a book the young reader will love.
We do this by READING.
We read all the time - picturebooks right up to YA. We read reviews (for YA 
@chennessybooks
 reviews are a must). We listen to podcasts, read 
@thebookseller
 , go to talks and events. 
We talk to children+teens about what they love to read.
We try to ring them their next fave book.

2/ To recommend books we need books in the shop so we order. New stock, classics, popular favourites,, comic books (I love comic books) - the best books we can find. 
Want a special, unusual book? We will try to order it in for you.
Takes a bit of extra time+ work but that’s ok!

3/ Some bookshops (like 
@HalfwayUpBooks
) offer a subscription service. Every month a book is carefully and individually chosen for a child or teen, wrapped and posted out. How cool is that? 
4/ We tidy the shelves, tables and displays. Create windows.
Christmas windows at the mo!

5/ We organise and run signings, events, Salons. All a bit curtailed at the moment but they will be back.
6/ Some children’s book shops run children’s book clubs, parent and toddler mornings.
7/ We support teachers - helping them pick class readers.

It seems important for those of us who create children's literature to better understand and appreciate the many roles played by the folks selling (and hopefully recommending) our books in stores.

So thank you, Sarah! And let's thanks all the other children's booksellers out there, too.

Illustrate, Translate, and Write On,
Lee