Saturday, July 8, 2017
Arthur Levine: Celebrating Diversity, Tradition, and Change
There was a time when Arthur WAS the diversity of his imprint/publishing house, now he's happy that he's just one part of it. Arthur explains it's a simple fact that while every kid has feelings, has a family, and lives in a neighborhood, each combination of these things is unique to each child. And the more combinations we get to see, the more we get to know the real world and help kids find their own unique life and way in the pages of a book.
That said, it's easy to believe that the core values or principles of Levine Books are: To find and publish diverse books, the best books of the world, the best books of their kind, a celebration of new voices, or a combination of all four. Below are a few examples of titles from Arthur. Look for the other blog posts related to this keynote to read Kait, Nick and Weslie's examples of these book types, too.
New Voices. The Levine team loves finding new voices at conference just like this or in their inbox.
You may have heard of a once new voice from England whose book made it onto Arthur's second list... He wasn't imagining world-changing sales when he first read JK Rowling's manuscript, he loved it because it made him laugh on one page and cry on the next. He felt like it would be a kid's treasured favorite that would stay with them as adults. (Arthur says his current staff literally grew up with HP as their treasured favorite book).
Best of Its Kind. THE GAME OF LOVE AND DEATH, by Martha Brockenbrough (whom he met at an SCBWI conference) he describes her as a genius you just have to follow. To Arthur this is a title that demonstrates that no idea is too big for a novel if it is grounded in the lives and emotions of its characters.
THE STORY OF A SEAGULL AND THE CAT WHO TAUGHT HER TO FLY. Originally a title from Chile by Luis Sepulveda (illustrated for Scholastic by Chris Sheban), takes a situation and characters that would normally be portrayed in a goofy, slapsticky way but instead they are portrayed in an incredibly moving way, and full of love and showcases the diverse nature of families.