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February 25, 2010

Move over Percy Jackson and Wimpy Kid -- John Grisham has a new series for kids

john grisham

Here's more evidence that kids aren't a lost cause when it comes to reading. John Grisham, king of the courtroom thriller, has signed a deal to create a kid-oriented series featuring 13-year-old Theodore Boone. According to publisher Hodder & Stoughton and the Bookseller blog, Boone "knows more about the law than most lawyers do", as he becomes caught up in a local murder trial. The books -- the first will be released in June, the second next year -- are aimed at 9-12 year-olds but will also be sold in the adult sections of bookstores.

It's an interesting move for Grisham, who must be familiar with the phenomenal success of series such as Harry Potter and Percy Jackson and the Olympians, not to mention Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Lemony Snicket. Each has built a huge and devoted fan base among readers, while also sparking off-shoots such as movie adaptations.

In Virginia, where I once lived, there's a saying: "I may be dumb, but I ain't stupid." No one's accusing Grisham, a lawyer, successful author and part-time Virginian, of being dumb. And this move -- extending the Grisham brand to a new, highly lucrative audience -- shows he certainly ain't stupid.

Posted by Dave Rosenthal at 12:43 PM | | Comments (1)


While the children's market does have its share of runaway successes, writing for young readers is in no way a get-rich-quick-scheme, except for those like Grisham and Patterson who are already rich and would become richer no matter what type of book they put out next.

There is an abundance of excellent literature out there for children and young adults. Suggesting that John Grisham's entering the children's market will get kids reading--or that he's doing it because there's easy money in kids' books--ignores and insults the thousands of children's writers who work hard at their craft for much less recognition and financial success than that of the handful of blockbuster authors.

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About the blogger
Dave Rosenthal came to The Baltimore Sun as a business reporter in 1987 and now is the Maryland Editor. He reads a wide range of books (but never as many as he'd like), usually alternating between non-fiction and fiction. Some all-time favorites: A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole; Wind, Sand and Stars by Antoine de Saint-Exupery; and anything by Calvin Trillin or John McPhee. He belongs to a book club with a Jewish theme.
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