Of course, it isn't in the United States. Why even consider something like a Children's Laureate when we can argue about filibusters and bop people over the head with picture books (picture books, for heaven's sake) for cheap political points? Awww, we're not for censorship, ma'am; we're for fambly values. (See "When the Wind Comes..." post.)
At any rate, chiz to Jacqueline Wilson, who has just been named the new children's laureate in the U.K. Her books (like Bad Girls and Double Act) are popular here, and are million-sellers across the pond. (For more about Wilson's breakout Tracy Beaker series, click here.) The Guardian says,
[Jacqueline Wilson] has also been given a special Childline award in recognition of the manner in which she deals with challenging subjects in her work, especially through the Tracy Beaker stories, which focus on a 10-year-old girl who lives in a children's home. With subject matter ranging from death and divorce to depression, bullying, and dysfunctional families, Wilson's novels pull no punches but are softened with humour, quirky detail and, always, an underlying feelgood factor.
I like this idea of a Children's Laureate. How about one for our country, too? I would love to hear more sane, positive talk about books and literature for kids. Let's give it some thought. Anybody with me?
P.S. If you happen to find yourself at the Hay Festival on June 2, you can catch up with Ms. Wilson and the illustrator Nick Sharratt in person. We're sorry to report that Katharine Holabird's Angelina Ballerina programmes (how's that for proper British?) are sold out. Tickets are still available to the Wilson/Sharratt segment as of 5/26. The Hay Festival of Literature and the Arts Limited takes place in Hay-on-Wye, Wales, and runs from May 27 until June 5.
Meanwhile, those of us unable to attend can ponder the goings on from afar. Don't you like the following greeting? I'm always game for a holiday party, especially one with art argument and books. I'm serious.
Welcome to our eighteenth Festival. Hay is a market town in the Brecon Beacons National Park. It has 1,500 people and 39 bookshops.The Festival is a spectacular holiday party and an opportunity to indulge your tastes for the finest books, food, comedy, music, gardens, art argument, conversation and literature. The ideas and stories flow freely.