Thursday, June 5, 2008

Gawking at Children's Books

Earlier this week, a minor contretemps on this site caused a reader to compare Collecting Children's Books to The Gawker -- a gossip blog!

This made me laugh because, living here in the midwest, I am so far out of the loop that I don't KNOW any children's book gossip.

Then I started thinking...and remembered a few juicy stories I've heard over the years. In the tradition of old-time gossip columns, I'll present them here as blind items. They are all true as far as I know, but don't bother guessing -- I'm afraid I'd get sued if I publicly revealed the answers!

Which famed author got a night-before-the-Newbery phone call unofficially informing him that he’d won the award...then received a call early the next morning saying, “Oops. You didn’t win after all.”?

Which major young-adult writer was sued by a neighbor who claimed he’d ghostwritten that so-so sequel to one of the author’s classics?

Which editor has become so obsessed with publishing authors who have tenuous movie/TV connections (hoping for those lucrative movie and TV deals) that one of her former authors said, “She wouldn’t know a good book if it bit her on the butt!"?

Which mega-bestselling author dropped into a bookstore and, when the owner recognized him and asked if he’d autograph a book, threw a mega-tantrum demanding to be left alone and screaming that his day had now been ruined, ruined, RUINED...and then wrote such a beautiful, gracious, and heartfelt inscription in the volume that the bookseller couldn’t decided whether the author's ten-minute tirade had been a joke or a sign of mental instability?

Why does a currently successful author put an “x” after her name when she signs a book? (Hint: there may be one of four reasons for this.)

Which Caldecott Honor Book’s cover claims that it was “written and illustrated by” but, in fact, was only “illustrated by” because an uncredited author actually wrote the text?

Which children’s book icon of the early twentieth-century wore a fake wedding ring for over twenty years so no one would suspect she and her boyfriend hadn’t officially tied the knot?

Which illustrator inserted an unflattering caricature of her ex-husband in one of her books?

Which writer of science fiction for young people got filthy rich writing pornography in the 1950s?

Which flamboyant and funny author once taught middle school English to an actor who recently competed on TV's Dancing with the Stars? (Hint: she even included his name in one of her books.)


Anonymous said...

Good thing you said no guessing--but how will we be able to keep from begging you for further hints? These all sound Juicy Juicy Juicy!

Anonymous said...

No fair! How much do we have to pay for the answers?

Anonymous said...

I missed the contretemps--won't you at least let us know what that was about? I can't find any evidence of it in past posts.

Peter D. Sieruta said...

Anon 1 & 2: Maybe I will give some further hints in a future blog. Thanks for reading Collecting Children's Books. I appreciate it. Peter

Anon 3: There was some discussion about CRISPIN being unworthy of the Newbery Medal. (Avi has written some brilliant books, but I don't think CRISPIN is one of them.) A reader felt that the conversation was getting too personal -- so I deleted the "objectionable" exchange just to avoid any hurt feelings and embarrassment. Thanks for reading! Peter

Anonymous said...

Okay, you have our attention. When do we receive the answers????

Anonymous said...

The last is Paula Danziger...and I thought I was the only person who knew that little tidbit, because my cousin was also one of her students.