What makes a grown woman scream in delight, then have to redo her budget to double the numbers of books that can be bought?
This, via Publishers Weekly: “Ig Publishing, which for more than a decade has maintained a list of fiction and nonfiction for adult readers and reissues for the academic market, is moving into a new direction this fall with the launch of Lizzie Skurnick Books. The imprint, explained Ig publisher Robert Lasner, will “bring back the very best in young adult literature, from the classics of the 1930s and 1940s, to the thrillers and social novels of the 1970s and 1980s.”
What is more exciting?
That it’s bringing back some of the books I read and remembered, as well as books I don’t remember but want to read? Yep, it’s nostalgia, and I’m all for it!
Or, that it’s LIZZIE SKURNICK. My pretend best friend? As I explained in my review of Skurnick’s Shelf Discovery: The Teen Classics We Never Stopped Reading (2009): “I feel like I should put a disclosure in this review — Lizzie Skurnick is my best friend. The problem with such a disclosure is, of course, that Skurnick and I have never met. (I hope Skurnick isn’t now on the phone to her lawyers, reporting me as a potential delusional stalker). But having read Skurnick’s essays on teen books, Shelf Discovery, I am convinced that somehow we are friends. How else to explain how she wrote about my favorite books? She has snuck into my house and looked at my bookshelves; she has remembered the titles I have forgotten; she has eavesdropped on my fifth, seventh, ninth grade self as I sat and talked books with my friends.”
More details on Lizzie Skurnick Books and on the initial titles coming from the imprint are at Publishers Weekly and The Atlantic. Some of the books are ones I’m familiar with; others, less so. And, of course, I’m running through the list of beloved authors and books I want to see Skurnick pick up. What about Ellen Emerson White‘s early books, for example? Or Norma Johnston? Excuse me while I ignore my taxes yet again and instead go through boxes of books to find other beloved titles that I think others would love.
I’m also a little bit sad, because, as often happens with news like this, one of the first things I thought was, “I wonder what Peter Sieruta would think, and what titles he would suggest.” Peter had a tremendous knowledge of these types of teen classics. For example, on A Long Day in November by Ernest J. Gaines: “A LONG DAY IN NOVEMBER by Ernest J. Gaines was originally published in the author’s adult short story collection BLOODLINE, then rewritten and issued for young readers under this title in 1971.” (From Peter’s blog, Collecting Children’s Books). It’s unbelievable to think it’s been almost a year since Peter died.
Publishers Weekly explains the target audience: “While Lizzie Skurnick Books releases will be marketed to YA readers, Skurnick believes that women who, like herself, came of age in the ’70s and ’80s, will form the core readership. “[These books] are not for teens,” she said. “Teens’ tastes have changed. It’s for adults who want to read, re-read, and collect these books. If mothers and fathers want to share the books, great.” This is a smart take on the current market. Articles and reports tell us that non-teens are reading teen books, so why not market titles to the YA reader who isn’t YA? I can imagine that some libraries may argue internally about whose budget should be used for these books. I say adult, because they have more money and the intended readership (right there! in print!) is adult. So, all those teen librarians who know that adults are reading their YA books? Send this info along to your adult collection development people, and then brainstorm ways to let those readers know about those books.
Congratulations, Lizzie Skurnick! I’m so excited and happy about this! And let me know as soon as you start taking suggestions for titles and authors!