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Dear Genius: The Letters of Ursula Nordstrom Paperback – March 1, 2000
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Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
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In this fascinating behind-the-scenes look at children's book publishing, letters to Shel Silverstein, Maurice Sendak, Laura Ingalls Wilder, John Steptoe, and Kay Thompson reveal a woman on an unorthodox quest to wrench children's literature from the stultifying clutches of sentimental illusion and false piety. Her dedication to creative, honest, original, non-condescending books for children changed the landscape of children's literature forever. As Marcus writes in his introduction, "...her letters have much to tell about the arts of writing, illustrating, and editing; the social history of the twentieth century; and the pivotal role that books, and a love of books, can play in children's lives. To read the letters is to receive a many-faceted education from a teacher of rare insight, good humor, and lively humanity. I am glad that readers will now be able to share in the experience." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Nordstrom's editorial prowess is evident in the correspondence she carried on with her authors during a publishing career that spanned over 30 years. She provided gentle and insightful guidance to Margaret Wise Brown, Syd Hoff, Maurice Sendak, and E.B. White among many others.
Nordstrom's genius was that she recognized and fostered it in others. Her letters reveal her to be an editor who respected but didn't pander to her sometimes temperamental talent. She knew when to cajole, inspire or reprimand them; she was awed by their gifts without being infatuated by them. Nordstrom forged a bond of artistic integrity with her authors and illustrators that gave rise to some of the best voices to be found in children's literature between 1940-1973.
This is an insider's look at someone's life work and abiding passion - classic literature for children.
The book spans a good 45 years, beginning when Ms. Nordstrom was a mere assistant to the director of Harper Books for Boys and Girls and ending after she has received the Curtis Benjamin Award. Between 1937 and 1982 we are treated to front row seats in the world of children's publishing.Read more ›
In addition to the letters themselves is Leonard Marcus' wonderful introductory essay and accompanying notes. He has been careful to provide context everywhere it's needed, and it makes reading the letters that much more enjoyable.
This book is a wonderful gift to anyone who writes or reads books for children. But it is also more - it is a how-to book of sorts of how to work with people to get their best out of them. If Ursula Nordstrom teaches us nothing it's that you must show love for the work and the creator, a shared sense of purpose, and an unending respect for the artist's process. Treat yourself or your friends to Dear Genius!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Fascinating behind-the-scenes peak into the foundational cornerstone of the world of kid lit. Inspiring if you're writing for children & YA. Read morePublished 6 months ago by A.E. Gronvold
I stumbled upon the existence of this book at an exhibition of illustrations of Maurice Sendak. Ursula Nordstrom was his editor and she is credited with transforming children's... Read morePublished on February 4, 2014 by kayakwoman
To know of Ursula Nordstrom is to long for an editor worth writing. Nordstrom, the director of Harper's Department of Books for Boys and Girls from 1940-1973, is responsible for... Read morePublished on July 3, 2013 by ellestar27
Anyone who writes or loves children's books should own this book of letters from Ursula Nordstrom, long-time editor at Harper Collins, to her authors. Read morePublished on August 6, 2007 by Deborah Freedman
A must read for any writer or lover of children's books, Dear Genius gives remarkable insight into the mind and career of Ursula Nordstrom, long-time director of Harper's... Read morePublished on February 4, 2001 by Meredith W.