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Non-Fiction for Kids (That Isn't So Pretty...) : Writers' Block Party • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com

Non-Fiction for Kids (That Isn't So Pretty...)

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JessicaLeigh
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Non-Fiction for Kids (That Isn't So Pretty...)

Postby JessicaLeigh » Sat Jan 28, 2006 6:07 am


JessicaLeigh
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Non-Fiction for Kids (That Isn't So Pretty...)

Postby JessicaLeigh » Sat Jan 28, 2006 6:07 am

Does anyone know of a publisher (indie or otherwise) who prints children's books dealing with subjects other than bunnies & kittens. :)

My Master's thesis was based on Human Rights Education and I would love to propose a non-fiction human rights line of books (i.e. issues such as poverty, genocide, child soldiers, ethnic cleansing) for older elementary/middle school age kids. Plus, I have written an older children's picture book based on the disappeared of Argentina. NO publisher wants to touch this stuff.

Any suggestions?

wrtrsblck
 

RE: Non-Fiction for Kids (That Isn't So Pretty...)

Postby wrtrsblck » Sat Jan 28, 2006 7:19 am


Curious
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RE: Non-Fiction for Kids (That Isn't So Pretty...)

Postby Curious » Sat Jan 28, 2006 7:23 am

When you say that NO publisher wants to touch this stuff, what do you mean by that? How many publishers have you approached? Could you share with us what their objections have been? Is it exclusively a question of subject matter, or have they suggested changes to the writing?

Just curious (hey, it's my name!) It sounds like a great idea to me!

Clare

abqwriter
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RE: Non-Fiction for Kids (That Isn't So Pretty...)

Postby abqwriter » Mon Jan 30, 2006 1:36 am

Real world subjects are covered a lot in mid-schooler's books, so perhaps it is the depth of reality that is an issue?  Have you asked for feedback as to why it is being declined?  Until an editor gives a definitive answer that it is the subject matter, it could be many other things - query letter that doesn't spark their interest, writing that isn't their style, grammar errors, etc.  You might reply to an editor who has turned it down and ask for feedback; then you'll know for certain what you have to refine.

JessicaLeigh
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RE: Non-Fiction for Kids (That Isn't So Pretty...)

Postby JessicaLeigh » Mon Jan 30, 2006 10:52 am

Sorry I haven't checked the board.

When I say NO publisher wants to touch this stuff, I mean none of my research has led me to believe it. Initially, I wrote a narrative non-fiction picture book about the Mothers of the Disappeared. It was bilingual and it included a teacher's guide. I set out to find a publisher and immediately found very few who would print something of that sort.

I queried a few publishers who focused on multicultural texts and I also queried a few of the big publishing houses who had printed picture books focusing on human rights for popular children's authors like Eve Bunting (refugees) and Allen Say (chinese concentration camps). I received a lot of "the topic does not fit our needs" replies.

The only human rights that seem to be addressed today are racism and homosexuality. Indie publishers tend to print a lot of homsexual rights books, but they aren't interested in something like genocide. Don't get me wrong, I am pleased to see someone printing freedom of sexuality texts but there are a lot of other issues, too. I could write an entire series based solely on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights--but I'd have no one to sell it too. :(

mnagel
 

RE: Non-Fiction for Kids (That Isn't So Pretty...)

Postby mnagel » Wed Feb 08, 2006 8:06 am

I agree your idea is a good one, and I'd love to see a publisher willing to take a chance on it. I think it's an open question whether human rights books, particularly human rights education books, can find a good solid market right now.

I've recently been involved in the publication of Xamon Song, a novel by Adam E. Stone, that is literary fiction with a human rights focus. It is designed for formal and non-formal Human Rights Education (HRE), for ages 14 and up. We'll see if it can find a market. If you want to know more about it, visit www.xamonsong.com.

What about Hunter House in California? Are they still publishing? It seems like they published some HRE materials for younger children several years ago. You might try them.

I guess another approach might be to query publishers like Seven Stories Press who publish human rights non-fiction for adults and see if they are willing to move into human rights non-fiction for younger people. Certainly can't hurt to ask.

You could also approach human rights groups like Amnesty International directly, to see if they might be interested in publishing your books. They produce a lot of materials "in house" though I can't think of anything quite like what you are proposing. The non-fiction they produce tends to be more along the lines of reports from specific countries, etc.

I'd encourage you to keep developing your idea and keep researching!

JessicaLeigh
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RE: Non-Fiction for Kids (That Isn't So Pretty...)

Postby JessicaLeigh » Wed Feb 08, 2006 8:24 am

Wow! Thanks for your thoughts.

I approached Amnesty International once before, but they tend to print only in-house material (as you said) and they are sort of hesitant to "promote" other publishers--I guess it is a legal thing.

I will, indeed, check out the website you suggested. I'm glad I'm not alone out here, one of few concerend with such issues. Thanks!!


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