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Who are SCHWARTZ & WADE?
LEE WADE and ANNE SCHWARTZ are the Vice Presidents and Publishers of the Random House imprint, Schwartz and Wade. They are editors, true book folk, and now friends of Books Inc. Kids! Below is an interview with these bookish pros!
Books Inc. Kids: What is your favorite picture book that YOU DIDN'T publish?
LW—I love any picture book by Kevin Henkes or Peggy Rathman—especially Lily's Purple Plastic Purse, Chrysanthemum and 5 minutes till bedtime. And one of my all time favorite picture books is Can't Sleep by Chris Raschka. The reassuring message in that book can even help the adult me get to sleep.
AS—I second Lee’s choices, and add these to the mix: I’ve always loved James Marshall, particularly the George and Martha books, which are slightly subversive and work for both kids and adults. I also adore the Little Bear books by Else Holmelund Minarek and Maurice Sendak. I grew up with them, read them to my own kids, and they still resonate with me today. And finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Geoffrey Hayes’s amazing, hilarious, spot-on books about Patrick.
BIK: Can you spill the beans on any super-secret projects that are coming up?
AS and LW—well, if we spilled the beans, then the projects wouldn’t be super-secret, would they?! Suffice it to say, that we have a VERY funny, touching book about a sloth in our future.
BIK: What is your favorite stage of the editing process?
LW—I love it when I struggle to come up with specific advice to clarify a concern for an author or illustrator, and what comes back is WAY better than anything I could have imagined.
AS—For me, it’s that moment when I’m reading a manuscript by an unpublished author and I realize… it’s FANTASTIC—I’ve completely fallen in love with it! It happens very rarely, but when it does…WOW.
BIK: What advice would you give to young, aspiring editors?
LW- I would say, spend a lot of time reading books that others are publishing—especially the ones that are well received, because it's good to understand the market. Also, if you see a germ of something you like in a manuscript, don't be afraid to work with the author to work, work and rework to get it to a publishable point.
AS—I would say, trust your instincts; respond to what’s on the page and go with that gut reaction. And if you love something, champion it, no matter what.
BIK: You're throwing a dance party. Obviously we're invited. Is it Disco, 80's or Polka?
LW- I'd have to say 80's, it reminds me of college—and I did a lot of dancing in college.
AS—Dare I say it? The polka! (I can pretend I’m in a Jane Austin novel.)
So, you heard it here! Anne Schwartz is throwing a Polka party.
Bookseller and bookselling are already words we know and recognize. Bookseller is the person who rings you up at a bookstore. Bookselling is what they’re doing when they take your money and hand you a book.
Booksellering is what anyone who’s crazy obsessed with books does. It’s likely that your local bookseller practices booksellering, but not a given. Or at least, it’s what separates the booksellers making wages from the really, really good booksellers, who make indie bookstores special and important.
Booksellering is what you do when you see a stranger reading a book you love, and you stop them. In public. To talk about feelings. And to make sure that anyone standing near that conversation pick up that book as well, even though they’re giving their friends that sidelong eye contact that confirms that they’re talking with a crazy person, and you can see them doing it, but you’re like WHATEVER I DON’T CARE THAT BOOK IS AMAZING LET’S TALK ABOUT ALL THE FEELS.
Booksellering is proselytizing for books like it’s a religion, minus the dietary restrictions. It’s not just recommending. It’s standing up in front of as many people as you can find and insisting that you be heard. Because some books are just that good.
Right now, I am booksellering you a book that’s coming out in late August:
Two Boys Kissing, by David Levithan.*
I am not recommending you read this book. I am demanding it.
Narrated collectively from the perspective of the previous generation of gay men, Two Boys Kissing tells the stories of several different kids, all centering elliptically around two who are trying to break the Guiness Book of World Records record for longest kiss.
Levithan’s minimalist prose matches perfectly with the complex conceit of a first person plural narrator. The high level of imaginative and intuitive empathy that is apparent in all of his works is especially strong here—as not only are his protagonists fully realized, but so are the voices of the collective narration, whose experiences are as varied as the characters on the page.
Having read so many of his other titles, I could not help but feel like this was the culmination of many of the ideas he’s worked with in other books, before—but here, they are fully manifest, in one, slim and elegant novel.
It is the best book I have read this year. And you can bet that I’ve read a lot of books, and excellent ones at that. If you do not read it, I will cry on you
--Maggie, Books Inc. Children's Department Director
*If by some mistake you don’t know David, or his work, a quick primer: David is the Editorial Director at Scholastic, responsible for editing such books as The Scorpio Races, and some series called the Hunger Games. But he’s also a fabulous author in his own right, with books like Boy Meets Boy, Every Day and Marley’s Ghost under his belt. He’s also co-written numerous books, including Invisibility with Andrea Cremer and Will Grayson Will Grayson with some dude named John Green.