Welcome to Slate’s pop-up blog about children’s books, Nightlight! You surely have fond memories of the board books and early readers that you read and reread when you were little. Perhaps, like many, you found your world expanded by the message of a chapter book, or your heart broken by a young adult romance. Maybe you’re one of the millions of adults who enjoy reading YA, never mind what the haters say.
Children’s books are the fastest-growing market in publishing, expanding 40 percent in the last decade. Once a publishing ghetto, unbefitting the serious writer, children’s books are now the domain of literary novelists and Hollywood celebrities eager to create something their kids and grandkids can read.
For the entire month of August our daily posts, illustrated by Snail and Worm’s Tina Kügler, will explore the art—and the business—of literature for kids. In Nightlight, Slate writers will revisit books both old and new that have something surprising to tell us about storytelling. We’ll explore the unlikely series of books that helped a whole generation of girls through puberty, and survey the worst of the burgeoning picture-books-by-celebrities genre. We’ll discuss the midcentury editor who changed children’s book publishing forever and explore the book-like commodities that sustain children’s book publishing today. We’ll even try our hands at creating our own picture books—in one hour or less.
But first, we’re returning to the character who changed everything for children’s book publishing and for book publishing in general: Harry Potter. Read Dan Kois’ review of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the just-published new book in J.K. Rowling’s mega-successful series, and come back all month for the rest of Nightlight.