Dear Book Lovers,

My sister still remembers. And to tell the truth there’s still a little anger in her voice when she talks about the green people.

When we were kids, my parents would leave my three siblings and me in the car while they went into the store and bought snacks before we all went to the drive-in movies. Anyway, one time we older kids got kind of bored.  So we—really, it did just come to us–invented a game on the spot. We started saying  we  had to stay down below the level of the windows so the little green people—those from Mars–didn’t see us and get us. (I have no idea why they would have wanted any of us.) If one of us poked her/his head up, the others would scream out a warning.

It was a fun game except that my youngest sister who was about four,  wouldn’t play the game right.  I think she was  curious to see the green people, especially since her older sibs knew what they looked like and she didn’t. She kept poking her head up and we kept yelling at her to stay down or they would get her.  By the time Mom and Dad came out to the car, there were some tears. (OK there were more than some, but we had tried to calm her down before they came.) My parents–I will leave it to your imagination–had a few things to say about our “little game.”

But in all honesty, we older kids were surprised that my sister took it that seriously. We couldn’t fathom her tears. Or her terror. For us, it was all entertainment–all just make-believe. How could anyone believe in little green people?! But my little sister did. She wasn’t old enough to know differently. And she trusted us. She thought her older, wiser sibs were trying to help her out. What does this have to do with children’s literature?

I’ve been looking at a lot of  kids’ novels that are on the market and it seems to me that many editors and publishers are choosing manuscripts as if adults were the target market. These editors and publishers don’t seem to be considering how storylines or characters are going to effect their young readers. They don’t realize that because it is totally fiction for adults, it isn’t going to be “green people” for their younger, more trusting and less life experienced readers.

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