I was an editor before I became a mother. There’s a persistent, if whispered, rumor in children’s publishing that unless you have kids, you can’t really be a good editor. I don’t believe that’s true—heck, Ursula Nordstrom had no kids—but I do find that having kids has changed the way I work.
I’m a different reader now: the internal kid voice I use when I read books and manuscripts is no longer just Kid Me, but also Kid Munchkin (my three-year-old) and Kid Niblet (my baby). Those extra voices make for a rather noisy brain, but I’m convinced the extra noise is worthwhile. (Kid Me was kind of a weirdo, after all.)
But sometimes I find myself editorializing, too: I can’t read Martha Speaks (Susan Meddaugh, HMCo) without inserting our official family policy on the phrase “Shut up!” (For the record, it goes like this: “ ‘Martha, PLEASE! SHUT UP!’ Which is not a very nice thing to say at all.”) I’d never suggest that the phrase was inappropriate for the book—it’s not! it’s perfect!—but it does make me realize that other parents may do the same kind of read-aloud revision of the books I work on, too. Horrors!
Posted by Emily Mitchell