Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Confessions of a Book Whore: Child-like classics

If you had told me three years ago that I would be working with children’s books, I would have screamed “concussion!!” and started mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on you. Then again, I never thought I would be in the publishing industry in any form, but look at me now! 

Do you remember when you were a child and every book was something special? From the Dinosaur book that taught you how to count, the porridge pot that never emptied, to the broom-flying, wand-sweeping characters of later youth, every book had a unique quality and each had the chance to take you into their land for a moment. I remember climbing up into the branches of the tree in my backyard, abandoning homework for ‘just this one last chapter’.

All too quickly, we grow up; reading comes second to studies, careers, and daily chores. But what if you not only get the chance to revisit this magical land for a bit every day but also, by doing so, give others the opportunity to do so too? Holistically, I play a role in this. I get to feed my love for picture books (something I didn’t know I had until I started working in the industry) while at the same time, hopefully spark the same passion in other adults and children alike.

Some of Tarryn's favourites as a child

But what is the confession? What is the “forgive me father” material that I keep hidden (oh, hello million readers who know a million people) from the world? I love picture books; I have a book shelf dedicated just to these special books and their art, but cannot draw a stick figure without it looking like I drew it with the pencil in my toes, leg over head, hanging from a pole, all done with my eyes closed!

In other words, I cannot draw. Anything. Perhaps that is why I appreciate picture books so much; it is a combination of my biggest love (books and reading) mixed with a talent I can only admire from afar (afar, as in looked in through bullet-proof glass pane China-sized wall to ensure my ability to tarnish anything involving drawing does not come to the fore). 

So, really, working with children’s books allows me the chance to live vicariously through the “rich and famous” of the picture book world, though in these terms being, “dextrous and able-to-draw-a-circle”. And, if nothing else, every day is ‘story time’ for me ...

You can find Tarryn Talbot on twitter: @TarrynBee

Children's Product Manager at Pan Macmillan, Book-lover (bet you didn't see that coming), coffee lover, wants to see the world.


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