Obama-Mania Hits Kid Lit

We've reported here on the post-election scramble by journalists to nab publishers for their Barack Obama books. Some far-sighted writers like Jabari Asim, former deputy editor of Book World, and Gwen Ifill, of Washington Week and the NewsHour, already have books scheduled to come out on Inauguration Day: Asim's is called What Obama Means ..... for Our Culture, Our Politics, and Our Future, Ifill's is The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama.

Jabari Asim (Marie Marzis/FTWP)

Now, children's publishers are getting in on the act. Judith Rosen reports in Publishers Weekly that Kadir Nelson, author and illustrator of the stunning We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball, is producing the "crashiest of the crash books" for Simon & Schuster. Conceived at a cocktail party on Nov. 12, Change Has Come is based on lines from Obama's speeches. It went to press on Nov. 24, with a print run of 200,000, and will be published in time for Inauguration Day.

Add that to the seven other children's books about Obama scheduled to hit the stores next month, plus two about Michelle Obama, and you've got a full shelf. The question now is, will any kids want to read them?

-- Rachel Hartigan Shea

By Rachel Hartigan Shea |  December 16, 2008; 7:00 AM ET Nonfiction , Rachel Hartigan Shea
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Exciting post for exciting times. It was fun to see our old Book World friend Jabari Asim's smiling face. I've seen him on Book-TV, read his reviews through the years, and especially remember him as a warm, bright presenter of moving (some poignantly so) books on the old version of the Washington Post's Book Club. Some of his selections I remember enjoying were: Everett's "Suder," Whitehead's "The Intuitionist," Beatty's "The White Boy Shuffle," Curtis's "The Watsons Go to Birmingham," Durham's "Gabriel's Story," Grooms's "Bombingham," Rhodes's "Douglass' Women," and Jones's "Lost in the City." There were some great tear-jerking moments.

I assume he probably knows personally, at least to some extent, our new president-elect. Do you know for sure?

Posted by: lheffelkcrrcom | December 18, 2008 9:18 AM

We miss Jabari tremendously. He's one of the smartest, and nicest, people out there. But I don't think he knows Obama. His book is much more about the cultural changes that prepared the country for a president like Obama, and not about the man himself.

Posted by: rhshea | December 18, 2008 10:10 AM

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