Will books for kids just get creepier?
Well, "Twilight" the movie is here and there are no indications that Twilight-mania will be diminishing anytime soon. So it's probably not surprising that marketers everywhere are wondering how they can get in on the action.
Earlier this month, Pub Rants (the blog of a self-described "very nice" Midwestern literary agent) included a discussion of the value of more "creepy" books for young readers.
Agent Kristin wrote of meeting with two children's book editors in New York:
"Both editors are convinced that werewolves might be the new vampires (and that Zombies are almost over)," she wrote. "Never thought I’d put those things in a sentence together! And although paranormal, vampires, and werewolves have been hot in the adult market, the children’s field hasn’t really caught up and there might be lots of room for that. I can see it.
"We all agreed that we’d love a story that could creep us out. Horror hasn’t been hot in children’s for a long time and the timing just might be right for that."
Yikes! When nice Midwesterners of "genteel upbringing" are advocating for creepy books for kids it starts to sound pretty mainstream.
Of course, not everyone agrees.
In response, one of Pub Rant's readers wrote:
"I have to say, that as a mom and teacher...I'm dying to see some YA books that are NOT fantasy or thrillers. I've got many many many 5th graders who read at a 9th grade level and do NOT love fantasy and are not ready to read high school material. They need CLEAN and complex stories, but are not mentally ready for thrillers, nor are they all interested in sci-fi and fantasy.
"I have students begging for more 'Henry Huggins turned teenager' or sports series beyond Matt Christopher. Or mysteries that make them think, not kiss girls or cheat in school or mention drugs. You get the idea. CLEAN but challenging and fun. 250 pages. Preferably a series. (oh...and throw in some humor) It's a constant search for that at library time. Just my piece..."
Just her piece. Although I'm sure there are plenty of other moms and dads and teachers and librarians out there who would second her plea.
But just at the moment, the buzz over "Twilight" does not seem to be creating a market likely to swoon anytime soon for a "Henry Huggins turned teenager" series.