I spent much of today in the rather delightful Book Nook in Hove. (I can recommend the rhubarb and ginger cake). It was good to hear a proper bookseller helping both adults and children find the right books for them with tact and knowledge.
I have to say how amused and impressed I was when a rather ambitious yummy mummy was steered ever so gently towards the concept of reading for pleasure – as opposed to reading to achieve. A triumph of manoeuvring.
The babble of babies and small children was a surprisingly pleasing background to editing tasks – perhaps reminding me of why I bother. I completed a major task – and then rewarded myself with a good browse.
What a pleasure it was to see the work of people I know at least by sight (in no particular order):
- Dave Cousins
- Lucy Christopher
- Malorie Blackman
- Meg Rossoff
- Patrick Ness
- Teri Terry
- Jon Mayhew
- Chris Riddell
The astute reader will have noticed how many of these are SCBWI folk. And there were more, I am certain. It gave me an interesting feeling of companionship to see them – and maybe a sense of pride. Pride that fellow children’s writers and illustrators made such lovely things.
I also felt a sense of achievement in knowing my genres, ages and stages much better these days. This is much to do with my reading for the lovely Vivienne da Costa at Serendipity Reviews. There is nothing like reading to give you a sense of the world of children’s literature – it’s just so broad and fascinating.
In the main , it’s good to see your friends and colleagues succeed – the world of writing for young readers is big enough for all of us. I would be a liar if I didn’t admit to the odd stab of pain when someone I know gets published – when I’ve just had another rejection. BUT it is only transient.
And if it’s a brilliant book, well, all the more for me to enjoy. That goes for authors and genres I didn’t know before, too.
Yet the very best thing is realising that I do have a distinctive voice emerging. I haven’t read anything quite like my work yet. Of course it might be that it’s uniquely weird – but that’s not necessarily a problem. Uniquely bad would be – but seriously, I know it isn’t that awful.
So I feel rather buoyed up by that – though a few quid lighter!
How about you – what does a bookshop browse do for you?