I’ve heard it said that children’s books need to provide a mirror for today’s readers, giving them books in which they can see themselves. I’ve also heard it said that books need to provide a window, a way through which they can view the larger world. Today, I read a new explanation. According to author/illustrator Christopher Myers, they need to provide a map to help readers navigate this world. That’s the vision for “Make Me a World,” the imprint he will head up at Random House.
“Young people are increasingly faced with a broadening world and we need to provide our children with a framework to navigate it,” Myers said.
The vision for this imprint began with a series of op-ed pieces that Myers and his father, the late Walter Dean Myers, wrote for the New York Times. In these pieces they discussed the realization that the population of books published do not represent the population of young readers and, in spite of knowledge of this problem, the books necessary to correct it are not being published.
To make it happen, Myers is inviting friends from disciplines like film, science, and architecture to contribute. Myers works will be hands-on as he acquires each title. Although he hasn’t ruled out creating work for the list himself, that isn’t his plan. “I’m trying to bring in as many new voices to the business as possible,” he says.
Part of the reason that Myers wants to create this imprint came about due to creative difficulties experienced when his father tried to publish work that wasn’t “urban fiction.” Myers wants to give creators the opportunity to bring into being work that will make their heart sing.
Me? I’m looking forward to hearing a new chorus.