Rant:

The day after the announcement of the Newbery/Caldecott, the TODAY show usually has the winners on for a bit of cultural update and to underline how important the awards are and what they mean to the literature of childhood. But this year, they bumped the author and illustrator winners for an interview with Snooki, the brash, trash-talking semi-literate star of a reality show called  “Jersey Shore”. Note–I have not seen the show but I have seen interviews with her and read an occasional snippet about her.

I sent the following to the Today Show. Have not heard anything back yet. Not sure I will.

Dear Today folks:

I could understand important news–assassination attempts, tsunamis, even the death of 1950-9670s culture hero David Nelson bumping the winners of the biggest book prizes for children’s authors and illustrators off their normal place on the TODAY roster. But Snooki? Surely the literature of childhood is more important than a half literate reality star.

Or maybe TODAY is just mirroring the USA as it is in danger of becoming: a second-rate culture that worships mediocrity and cares little about the death of genius or the leadership of America in the world of ideas.

Feh.

Jane Yolen, called by Newsweek “The Hans Christian Andersen of America”, author of 300 published books.

PS Lee Bennett Hopkins, who keeps upon these things more than I do, says that the next day they had Spike Lee and his wife on pumping up their latest children’s book by saying “There are very few GOOD books for children being published today.” Give me a break. . . !

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