Friday, February 18, 2005

Politicians and Children's Books

Politicians as authors: In 2004 it seemed as if every presidential candidate had a book in bookstores that presented their ideas, philosophy and hopes for the future.

While serving in congress Newt Gingrich, Jim Wright, Hillary Clinton, Jim Jeffords, Robert Torricelli, and Barack Obama (to name a few) have all cheerfully accepted advances for penning their life story or outlook on life. Lynn Cheney and Barack Obama have joined the celebrity stampede to write children's books. Former presidents always "write" at least one book after office; one has even left the realm of policy and, sadly, strayed into fiction.

I have always assumed that a large market for these books were political supporters and lobbyists. How better to show your enthusiasm for a candidate or politician than to acquire their book in quantity and share it with your friends or just shore up the walls of the basement? Hopefully your literary interest will be remembered next time your legislative concerns are addressed. With that in mind I wonder at the flap over Libby Pataki's children's book.
This time, the eyebrows arched over news accounts of Republican groups being leaned on to buy the "Madison" book, priced at $16.95, in bulk. The New York Post reported this week that Mrs. Pataki had gone so far as to tell one potential customer that she and her husband "really need the money.

Hard to believe people are really "shocked, shocked."

Children's authors are skilled and gifted writers who are creating books for the toughest audience on earth. If a child does not like a book by the end of page 2, that book is "outa-here." There are only a small handful of celebrities who truly tap into the mind and spirit of a child with their writing.

For all that, political consultant James Carville book's Lu and the Swamp Ghost is a fun read. There is an interesting interview with him at Carville had the support of an "A" team working on the book with him including the sublime, award winning Patricia C. McKissack and brilliant David Catrow for illustrator. With help like that it would be hard to go wrong.

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