I’m a huge fan of Kathleen Krull’s nonfiction books for kids, so I was surprised and disappointed to read her recent article in the Horn Book about the difficulties she and her husband have had selling their book FARTISTE! I would’ve thought a picture book biography about a performer who entertained audiences with his mastery of the art of the fart would be an easy sell, to a publisher AND on the bookstore shelves! Doesn’t it sound like the perfect idea for a kids book?
Here’s a case in point. Yesterday, my son was having a bad day. I took him to the library because he said there was a book there that he wanted. He walked straight to an empty table in the children’s area and burst into tears. Come to find out, the book he wanted had been laying out on a table the last time we were in the library together—2 weeks ago—and now, to his surprise and great disappointment, it was gone. He didn’t remember what book it was, and couldn’t tell me anything about it, except how heartbroken he was and how no other book in the whole library would do.
I walked over to the shelf, grabbed a copy of FARTISTE (which was on my mind because I’d just read the Horn Book article and was still mulling over my own aforementioned surprise and disappointment), and handed it to my sobbing, inconsolable boy. “What’s this?” he asked skeptically, sticking out his bottom lip. I told him. Curious, he opened it up and read the first page. Engaged, he sank down to sit criss-cross in the floor in the middle of the aisle. 15 minutes or so later, a perfectly composed boy closed the book and said, “Thanks, Mom. That was a great book. Let’s take it home.” And he grabbed my hand and pulled me to the checkout counter.
So, thank you, Kathleen, for the Horn Book article. And a big thank you, Kathleen and Paul, from both of us, for sticking with FARTISTE. You have fans!