Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Book Musings:Dear Genius

Dear Genius: The Letters of Ursula Nordstrom

Anita Silvey, author, former editor and my professor, recommended early in the semester that we read the collection of Ursula Nordstrom's letters compiled by Leonard Marcus. I bought it, but of course hadn't yet gotten around to delving into the four-hundred page book until the day before yesterday.

It made me much less afraid of, and incredibly awed by, the work of editors. Though I know the industry has changed since the days when Nordstrom would allow any young author or artist to speak with her without an appointment, her dedication to her authors shows how much editors can love what they do.

Reading her letters honestly made me feel like I'd had a conversation with her. She's so honest, and some sentences made me laugh aloud such as: ‎"I thought I had just developed an unusually dirty mind, which any children's book editor has to have."

She's also incredibly inspiring in her letters to authors such as Maurice Sendack, and her replies to readers' letters about the books.

I've read other letter collections, but none so interesting as this. If you're at all interested in children's lit, or children's lit history grab this book ASAP