Friday, August 25, 2017


Nearly a year ago I wrote a book of poems for children. This surprised many people, since it's no secret that I don't like kids.

I don't exactly hate children.
Let's just say that I like them best when they're at a distance of about fifty miles. Maybe 60.

Curiously, I thoroughly enjoy writing children's literature. It's challenging and actually fun. 

Without revealing too much, I will just say that these poems have to do with the nighttime hours and all things pertaining to the mystery and magic of the night.

Writing the book was easy.
Finding a suitable publisher has been a nightmare (no pun intended).

Long ago when I was young (or younger) I published a few things in children's periodicals. Since then, the realm and scope of children's literature has changed drastically. There are many more publishers than ever before - but there are also far more limitations on subject matter and drastically enforced restrictions.

In essence - many publishers are no longer open to ideas. They have specific agendas. Instead of informing and entertaining children, they want to indoctrinate them.

After spending an entire evening sifting through the submission requirements and restrictions for publishers of books for children, I was disillusioned. Not to mention flabbergasted.

"Absolutely no religion or mention of God"

"We specialize in topics concerning pregnancy, childbirth, and motherhood."

"We only want to see literature with strong ethnic diversity."

"No animal stories, please" 

"No poetry accepted."

"We prefer an emphasis on alternative lifestyles."

"We only want stories geared toward environmental issues."

Holy crap!!!
These are children, for gawd sake - not Bolshevik recruits!

My question:
Whatever happened to the joy and innocence of childhood???
Am I so archaic that I don't belong in modern society?

When I was in first grade, our teacher made us read The Cat in the Hat.
My mother used to read out loud to me from many classics of children's literature.
I grew up on Peter Pan, Heidi, Hans Brinker, Black Beauty, Wind in the Willows.

Nowadays we seem to be intent on turning children into miniature programed adult robots.

Kids don't need to know about the rudiments of pregnancy when they're five.
They don't need to feel guilty about not saving a tree.
They sure as hell don't need to know about Johnny's two daddies......
or Aunt Swedka's Ethiopian lover.

Gimme a break!!!!!
The endless maze of publishers and their bizarre agendas are giving me a migraine.

I think I'll wind up publishing the damn book myself.

My next children's book will probably be a best seller. I'm going to title it:

Abortions Can Be Fun!


  1. I'm absolutely intrigued about your book's content! You can't let the Bolshevik's win, Jon.
    How many parents - no matter their political leanings - would be appalled to hear of these publishers' agendas. Would you mind if I put that out on Facebook?

    1. You can definitely put this on Facebook - if you dare. I have no doubt that 95 per cent of my readers will disagree with me (but I'm used to it). Thanks, Myra!

  2. self publishing is all the rage. you are correct in assuming you might be better off going that route. good luck.

    1. The thing I really like best about self-publishing is that it's so QUICK. With a conventional publisher you usually have to wait months for a reply - and often well over a year before the book is published.

  3. I hope your experiences with children's book publishers isn't indicative of that genre's guidelines, in general. If so, that's appalling. But my grandkids have a TON of kiddie lit books, and they fall more on the encouragement of imagination side. None of the kinda crap you're mentioning, so I'm sure there ARE still publishers who produce the kind of book you've written. Even so, self-publishing still might be the way to go. Either way, good luck!

  4. There are a VAST amount of children's book publishers, and I have no doubt that most of them aren't so restrictive (or biased). The problem is trying to find the good ones. I was mostly looking through the Publisher's Archives (online). I'll have to check out some different resources.
    I am, however, strongly considering the self-publishing route. It's faster and easier (except for promoting the book). Anyway, thanks for your input!

  5. I wish I could be of more help here, Jon, but I've written very few things for children. Our bedtime reading aloud routine progressed from making up stories together to Milne, St. Exupery, Barbara Cooney --then to Victor Appleton, Clarence Young, Edgar Rice Burroughs. Daughter, the youngest, grew fond of Wm. Blake and would recite "The Tyger" as I read it when she was 4. They all turned out fine. Main thing is, kids need to trust the author and the author must make them feel loved, secure --but also kindle imagination. Kids read in their beds and want to feel safe there. I still get that feeling when reading Twain. I've followed your blog long enough to know you have a knack for kindness and gentle humor. Those qualities are invaluable in writing for children. You'll find your market and my best wishes go with you.

  6. I never had kids of my own, but I do know that my childhood was GREATLY enriched from reading aloud, making up stories, etc. Much like your children, the joy of reading started very early for me. It was my strongest early influence and greatest inspiration. Reading has definitely been the greatest pleasure of my life.

    There are MANY publishers of children's books out there, and I have no doubt that most of them are excellent. The big problem is sifting through them to find the right one. I'm not nearly as patient as I used to be. I'm strongly considering the self-publishing route.

  7. Jon,

    This was the part I hated, marketing my work to editors and publishers and their dos and don'ts list, whether children or adult fiction. I wish you well on self-publishing if you do go that route. It is the way I would go in the future.


  8. The publishing business seems to be much more complex (and frustrating) now than it was years ago. I thought finding a publisher of children's books would be easy, but it's becoming more trouble to me than it's worth. I just might self-publish this book.


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