The other big news in the world of children’s books last week (apart from Terry Deary) was that Chelsea FC’s Frank Lampard has signed a book deal to write 5 football books for children. He joins David Beckham and Theo Walcott in this, although from what I can gather Lampard is actually going to write the books himself. Both Beckham and Walcott’s were written by commissioned ‘ghost’ writers. I have blogged about this before here and I was going to blog about it again but children’s horror writer Barry Hutchison beat me to it. I have added my thoughts to his blog , as did one of the highly popular Beast Quest ‘Adam Blade’ authors.
One of the hugely popular Beast Quest series titles
I feel it’s important to point out that I have nothing against series such as Beast Quest as they have been proven to engage children in reading. These titles are different from celebrity titles. My main beef is with publishers not declaring when celebrities have NOT written their own books, especially when the writing of such books is dull and derivative. Children deserve better.
One of the things I suggested on Barry’s blog was that a selection of football titles should be wrapped in brown paper and given to kids to read. The kids (all footy fanatics) should read all the books, without knowing the author, and then rate which ones they liked best. Will they choose the ones by ‘ghost’ writers, ‘celebrity’ writers or ‘real’ writers? Who knows? As with everything it depends on the child’s reading level and taste but it would be an interesting experiment, wouldn’t it? Knowing my luck my titles would come bottom!
HP’s Book Test Experiment
By the way, at the risk of contradicting myself, I’m not advocating that there aren’t any celebrities that can’t write – look at David Walliams . Nor am I suggesting that ghost writers can’t pen a decent plot either. The ghost writer of Darcy Bussell’s Magic Ballerina series is a well-established children’s author with hundreds of popular books to her name but she is sworn to secrecy not to reveal her identity as Darcy’s ghost.
Maybe what I truly resent is the queue-jumping and the instant media attention celebrity’s books get. The front-of-house treatment and centre place in the window and immediate invitation to Hay-on-Wye. But where does jealousy get me? Nowhere. I guess we should just be grateful footballers like Frank Lampard and pop stars like Geri Halliwell see writing for children as a worthy thing to do. Nobody can argue with that.