Ok, this post has more to do with adult literature, than children’s literature, but it’s somewhat related to things I’ve been recently discussing. Author, Linda Dominique Grosvenor, struck a chord with me in her recent blog, “Their Eyes Were Reading Smut,” by Nick Chiles. The author, blogs about his feelings of sadness and shame as he looks over the current landscape of African American literature, or so-called “street fiction,” and how it seems to be the wave of the future. Interesting read, I thought.
As I read the post, I thought about my visit to the bookstore this weekend. I bought two Valentine’s Day picture books found in the children’s section of the store. Hearts & Kisses, by Michelle Knudsen, is illustrated by Janee Trasler. Janee is a cyber-friend of mine. The book is heart shaped with a cute, race-neutral little girl and her dog. The other book features fairly erotic (cover flap description, not mine) poetry. It is marketed to African American children, and is shelved right along side Hearts & Kisses, as well as other toddler board books. Don’t misunderstand me, this book is beautifully illustrated by one of my favorite illustrators, and I enjoyed the poems as well. But some of the naked, and near naked images were racy enough to make my 4-year old son blush. I bought the book because I'm a big fan of the illustrator, and…well, I’m an adult, and I don’t mind erotic poetry…or images for that matter. I’m giving Hearts & Kisses to K; I’m putting the other book on a shelf out of his reach...but near the wife's.
Geez, I really don’t like Word. It doesn’t like my English, and keeps underlining my sentences with squiggly lines that remind me that I need to take some basic grammar classes.