Friday, August 3, 2012

Arthur A. Levine's Keynote: Timeless: What Goes Into To Making Timeless Books

Arthur glowing on stage.

Arthur A. Levine is Vice President and Publisher of his own imprint Arthur A. Levine Books, which is celebrating its 15th Anniversary at Scholastic!

Think Harry Potter is "Timeless?"  Well so did Arthur, which was why he was the co-editor of the series by J.K. Rowling.

He's sharing an excerpt from "The Once And Future King" by T.H. White, talking about the impact of moments of intimacy on readers.

The importance of authenticity in that moment when the author, their characters, are speaking in a way that isn't canned, but you feel they're "telling you the truth in a way they wouldn't tell anyone else."

As a publisher, Arthur asks himself,

"If you were going to recommend this book, would it be the BEST book of its kind?" 

when he answers yes, he thinks it's Timeless.  And he publishes it.

He's sharing a number of the titles he's published that made that cut, and explaining why and what he feels makes them Timeless.

From the picture (and board) book "Good Night, Gorilla" by Peggy Rathmann 

to "The Golden Compass" by Philip Pullman to 

"Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" by J.K. Rowling to 

"How are you Peeling? Foods with Moods" by Saxton Freymann and Joost Elffers

to "The Arrival" by Shaun Tan 

It's a talk full of insight and inspiration, with moments that make us marvel at the 

"breathtakingly vivid connection between character and character, character and reader, and author and reader."

Now we all get to aim for our own work to be (say it with me), Timeless.

Thanks, Arthur.


  1. Thank you so much for sharing for those of us who aren't able to attend!

  2. Shannon AbercrombieAugust 3, 2012 at 8:53 PM

    I completely agree with these selections. Good Night Moon is my number 1 choice gift book to new moms. I've never heard of How Are You Peeling? But I'll be looking for.

    Yeah for the start of the conference!