We thought we’d take a poll to see what the kids of people who work in children’s publishing read for fun. Does it warp their reading taste? Do they read the bestsellers like other kids? What do they think of Chronicle’s children’s books? Here are the (pretty adorable) answers:
Anna, 13, is reading Kokeshi Kimonos
Kokeshi Kimonos, by Annelore Parrot
They say you should never trust the opinions of publisher’s kids about any book—their tastes are completely warped by too much inside knowledge—but I knew we were on to something when Kimonos and the other Kokeshi books started disappearing from my desk. Anna has been on frequent foraging trips to see what other Kokeshi dummies, or buttons… she might liberate. Originally wooden dolls with a hundreds-year-long tradition in Japan, the Kokeshi have transcended national boundaries and found welcoming homes everywhere in the world, including my own!
—Christopher Franceschelli, who heads Chronicle’s Handprint imprint
Quimby, 10, is reading The Templeton Twins Have an Idea (coming soon!)
That’s Quimby reading… and eating breakfast (slowly). What you can’t see is me off to the side, counting down the minutes ‘til we need to leave to go to school, reminding him to pack his backpack, put on his shoes, and grab his lunch. “Stop reading!” I, the children’s book editor, must implore every morning.
And what has he been reading lately?
Well, a few weeks ago, I let my son read the galleys of the first book in a new series we are publishing: The Templeton Twins have An Idea. He loved it. “When is it going to be a real book?” he asked. “Next fall,” I answered. (Imagine here his look of incredulity. Heck, he’ll start middle school before then.) So he asks “Can I read the manuscript of Book 2?” “It isn’t written yet,” I answer. (More incredulity.) Eyeballs rolling he exclaims, “Between this and Rick Riordan, all I am doing is waiting!”
While he waits, he’s reading:
The Orphan of Awkward Falls, by Keith Graves
“It’s about an insane cannibal,” he says. (That’s 10-year-old speak for “It’s great; stop bugging me I am trying to read.”)
The Adventures of Tintin, by Herge
We pick up Tintin Volume 2 (a big fave) after a trip to the orthodontist. That’s finished in the car by the time we reach home.
The Worst-Case Scenario Ultimate Adventure: Mars
At home, he digs into Chronicle’s The Worst-Case Scenario Ultimate Adventure: Mars, the next best thing to planetary travel. Then our pre-ordered copy of Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever arrives.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid Book 6: Cabin Fever, by Jeff Kinney
Every reader has a book that jumpstarted their independent reading. For my son, that book was Diary of A Wimpy Kid. He brought it home from the school library and for the first time ever devoured a long book. In one sitting. And then proceeded to recommend it to every kid he knew. These days, he can read a Wimpy Kid book in practically the time that it takes him to get comfortable on the sofa.
Since he’s still waiting, he turns to the “-ology” books, which are old standbys.
And his old favorites, the Calvin and Hobbes books.
Show Me How, by Derek Fagerstrom
And Show Me How. Need to know how to turn an old computer into a fish aquarium, get on a camel, toast grilled cheese on a stick, or find your perfect love match (eew)? This book will show you how. (It will also teach you to mix a cocktail and open a bottle of champagne, so if that’s a worry for you, this book is not for your child.)
Today’s breakfast book was a used copy of a Hardy Boys adventure. That’s almost done so, hey Ellis Weiner, author of The Templeton Twins, I hope you’re moving right along on that manuscript for book 2. I am going broke buying other books while we wait for it!
—Victoria Rock, Founding Children’s Publisher and Children’s Editor-at-Large
Max, 12, is reading Crispin
Crispin, by Avi
Max is reading Crispin by Avi for his 7th grade English class. He just started it, is only two chapters in, and says that it begins at the funeral of the main character’s mother. “This isn’t exactly going to be a happy book” he tells me…
When he’s not reading for school, he’s super into:
The Jedi Path
He’s a fan of all things Star Wars and this Jedi textbook/training manual really captured the imagination of my little Padawan.
—Lara Starr, Children’s Publicist
Joe, 8, Annie, 5, and Gus, 5, are reading Bone
Bone, by Jeff Smith
TV? We don’t need no stinkin’ TV!
My kids like to read—and/or pretend they know how to read—books about princesses, superheroes, baseball players… The Bone cousins. Animals. Animals that are superheroes. Princesses who are superheroes. Babies who are superheroes. The Bone cousins. Strong girls. Wimpy boys. The color pink. Pigeons. The Bone cousins. Sumo wrestling mice. Lost children. Dogs who run nightclubs. Vegetarian vampires. Best friends. And of course, wizards. Not necessarily in that order (and not necessarily according to the gender you may think).
—Lindsay Sablosky, Production Director
Henry, 5, and Auden, 4, are reading A Zeal of Zebras
A Zeal of Zebras, by Woop Studios
When my sons were smaller, all I had to do to gain an hour of quiet was to pull down Audubon’s Birds of America or Astonishing Animals: Extraordinary Creatures and the Fantastic Worlds They Inhabit and the boys would settle comfortably, mesmerized by the mysterious creatures before them. It’s no wonder then that A Zeal of Zebras with its beautiful art and facts about animals’ collective habits also captures their full attention (“No, keep reading!”). The reading experience is especially magical now that my oldest son is reading some of the words to me. And it’s nice to know that when my younger son builds a rocket ship with his preschool classmates, he convinces the others to build it next to the bookshelves in their classroom, so that when the ship launches, they’ll all be able to have books in outer space.
Also on the boys’ bookshelf:
Harry Potter, volumes 1-5
Moominpappa at Sea
Big Rabbit’s Bad Mood
Dinotopia: Journey to Chandara
Mom and Dad are Palindromes
Journey to the Ice Age: Mammoths and Other Animals of the Wild
—Jen Tolo Pierce, Design Director
Kenza, 8 months, is reading Button Nose
Button Nose, by Nina Laden
My very little one loves buttons. And so, perhaps unsurprisingly, she loves our cloth book Button Nose. It is such a lovely, durable, and giftable item complete with wonderful notions for Kenza to explore—zipper, loops, snap, button. Kenza gives the title a resounding thumbs up! And Mommy does too, as Button Nose keeps Kenza busy in her Baby Bjorn as we do errands and such.
—Amy E. Achaibou, Senior Designer, Children’s Group
Children’s Editorial Assistant
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