It’s coming. You know it. You dread it. But if you don’t talk to your children about it someone else will. What is a Snooki? Yes, I know what a Snooki is, and as a bibliophile, I’m not happy about it. It’s only recently that I leaned that Snooki, star of the reality television show Jersey Shore, has written a book. I don’t watch a lot of television, and I don’t watch any reality TV, but as a bookseller, I have to keep up with new books being published, and I’m not always thrilled with that part of the job.
The publishing industry’s job is to publish books and hopefully make money, and the fact that a book is or is not published is not a statement on the quality of the book. Jersey Shore has a huge following, and Simon & Shuster actually approached Snooki to write the book, It’s A Shore Thing. Why, I’m not really sure, because though the theory is sound, I sincerely doubt those rabid fans are avid readers, or even literate.
I’m saddened that a new writer may never get a publishing contract, but I’m angry that Good Morning America decided not to air its ten year traditional morning-after interview with the winners of the Newbery and Caldecott Medals, and instead decided to run an eight minute segment with a woman who has claimed to only have read two books in her entire life. Is it any wonder that America’s children have such a hard time reading?
The Newbery and Caldecott Medals, for those of you that don’t know, are presented annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association. The Newbery Medal was named for eighteenth-century British bookseller John Newbery, and is awarded to the author of the most distinguished contribution for that year to American literature for children. The winner of the 2011 Newbery Medal winner is Moon over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool.
The Caldecott Medal was named in honor of nineteenth-century English illustrator Randolph Caldecott. It is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children. The 2011 Caldecott Medal winner is A Sick Day for Amos McGee, illustrated by Erin E. Stead, written by Philip C. Stead.
There have been a lot of great winners, and I’ve read many of them. I still enjoy reading them, and I believe many children would also. I am disappointed in Good Morning America and feel that the choice to air Snooki’s segment over the awards is a sad commentary on mainstream media, and inadvertently demonstrates just how important reading is. I was angry enough to drop the producers an email, but as reading obviously isn’t that important. I doubt anyone will read it. I did make sure to use small words…
Children’s Books? Or Childish Television? Comment and let me know! Don’t miss Hobo the cat in his pilot episode for prime time TV in the exciting new reality series “Don’t Judge A Book by Its Cover” — the reality TV show that takes place in a bookstore!!!