I guess the children’s book industry is a little like the political arena — if you have celebrity and money, apparently it gives you immediate entrée to speak all your views and feel strongly that others have reason to listen to you. Or to pick up your laptop and dash off that little children’s ditty rattling around in your head and feel it immediately print-worthy.
Or to hire a ghost writer, as in the case of soccer superstar David Beckham, whose new line of children’s novels based on his London football (as they say it in Europe) academy are aimed for the store shelves next year. I guess the purists in the juvenile book world can be at least glad there’ll be some kind of writing professional involved.
Well, he’s done the cologne thing and the clothing thing, so why not that kids’ book thing?
Usually I can’t stand a book making it to the store shelves just on the basis of the author’s name. Madonna, Jamie Lee Curtis (who does seem a devoted juvenile writer given her many titles), Fergie (the real Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson, not that pop singer one), even Jerry Seinfeld have sailed into the stores and dominated the market because of their names, not the quality of the books (which likely would never have see print if the manuscripts had been submitted by unknown authors).
But I haven’t seen this David Beckham series yet, so I can’t speak for the plots or the writing. I do know there’s a place for sports books in children’s literature. I’m all for children reading about what they like. Matt Christopher’s sports series (i.e., Extreme Sports Boxed Set), books by Jerry Spinelli (a wonderful writer who incorporates sports into many titles, such as Newbery medal winner Maniac Magee), Edward Bloor’s Tangerine, Michael Chabon’s Summerland: A Novel: Summerland… all are great sports-themed reads for kids.
Apparently there’s some “how-to” attached to the shall we say “Beckham-inspired” books, which I also like. The books will reportedly feature tips, a pull-out tactics board and statistics on the game, according to an article in the U.K.’s Telegraph.
Promoting reading through superior soccer playing — we’ll just have to see how this works.