The new PW has an interesting article about the future of the Children's Book Council, and it's something of an eye-opener for those of us nurtured in the institutional end--schools and libraries--of the children's book biz. Take a look.
Not online is their end-of-the-book "Soapbox" column, which this week bemoans the curse of being good-looking. Nora Ephron wrote a long time ago that if one thing bored her more than the problems of big-breasted women, it was the problems of the pretty. Courtney E. Martin has written Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters: The Frightening New Normalcy of Hating Your Body and is well aware of the irony of worrying about her looks in her attempt to sell her book about worrying about your looks, but "crudely put, no one wants to read a book about the overvaluation of beauty by an ugly girl." Martin claims that publicists came to all of her proposal meetings to "check out the goods," and she must have passed, as Free Press will be publishing the book in April. "And now for the author photo, the publicity campaign, the book tour . . . the beauty pageant of the book world. Ugh."
Ugh my flat ass. If one thing bores me more than the complaints of writers about their author photos, publicity campaigns and book tours, it's the complaints of those who claim to endure it all for the sake of the Greater Good and above all, the kids: "I am not above buying an expensive suit if it means that even one teenage girl in Topeka, Kan., questions why she is spending more time thinking about her waist than the war in Iraq." And with the right shoes and bag, world domination could be just around the corner.