June 08, 2009

As Always, Mitali's Got the Questions...

It's okay to update a classic children's book to reflect changing mores ...

1. if the changes made are incidental rather than integral to the plot,

2. if the publisher includes a note in the re-issue explaining the reasoning behind the change,

3. if the author is still alive and wants the changes,

4. if the copyright holder (a descendant) is still alive and authorizes the changes,

5. never.

Authors, educators, publishers and parents -- please stop by this fascinating discussion and talk about it. Would the Little House books be better if the Native people weren't so racially stereotyped, and the he-man Western idea of "the only good savage is a dead savage" wasn't present? Would Huckleberry Finn work if Jim were listed as African American instead of that Other Word? Can you change a classic, and still leave it a classic, or does shading the colors of the past lead to changing the picture? Weigh in here.

SO many congratulations going on. This week, Aquafortis is doing major-edits-with-hints-of-book-deal, and Liz Garton Scanlon is quietly talking about the 2010 publication date of her new picture book, Noodle & Lou, to be illustrated by Arthur Howard, of Mr. Putter and Tabby fame. I'm thrilled for her --! Yay, Liz! it's a good writing year for my Poetry Princess sisters. (Operation YES: comingatcha in September, by Sara Lewis Holmes, just in case you misplaced your anticipation and thought about other books or the Twilight movie or something.) Meanwhile, I'm making bookplates for the MARE'S WAR release tomorrow. I'm completely bummed I missed the 48 Hour Book Challenge (egads - there are people who read the whole forty-eight hours this time, NO SLEEP!!!), but I was cheering you all on from afar.

Happy June!

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