I remember devouring Agatha Christie books as a kid, but no one ever suggested that murder mysteries were meant for my age group. Today’s kids, though, are about to get a new series by bestselling thriller author John Grisham, aimed at 8- to 12-year-old “tweens.” Publishers Weekly reported that the series “will focus on 13-year-old Theodore Boone, a legal whiz kid. In the first book, 'Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer,' Theo gets caught up in a high-profile murder trial in his town.”
Whew. That’s a long way from Encyclopedia Brown.
The Guardian noted that “Many a literary name – from Ted Hughes and T.S. Eliot to Booker winners Margaret Atwood, Roddy Doyle, Ian McEwan and Peter Carey – has written for children in the past. Big-name commercial novelists going after the youth market are rather rarer,” although James Patterson, among others, have done so.
New York Magazine responded to the news by suggesting, “Somewhere, a writer for The Onion is balling up a piece of paper and angrily tossing it into the trash, right?” However, the article went on, perhaps Grisham is on to something. Here are a few lines from their suggestions for other bestselling authors looking to capture the kid market:
Danielle Steel's “Seraphina Skye: Kid Gold Digger”
Patricia Cornwell's “Katie-Sue Scarpetta: Kid Coroner”
Sarah Palin's “Bricklyn Pale: Kid Who Goes Rogue”
Jon Krakauer's “Kid With a Serious Death Wish”
Any others to add to the list?
Rebekah Denn blogs at eatallaboutit.com.