Best Book I Have Not Read

Writing, Reading, Teaching, Life, Attempting to Balance it All

How had I not heard of Pete Hautman?? February 24, 2009

After hearing a rather depressing lecture from Johanna Hurwitz about the state of children’s book publishing (disguised as the history of publishing), I guess it should be no surprise to me that I had not heard of Pete Hautman until this past month.  As I learned yesterday that a book publisher has to pay Barnes & Noble $10,000 to have their new picture book displayed with the cover facing out, I guess I need to believe that there are lots of Pete Hautmans out there I haven’t heard of. In that case, boy are we the reader missing out.

During dinner the other night Pete Hautman alluded to something similar when we were discussing his books and marketing for new releases. It didn’t quite sink in until I heard Hurwitz present information about publishers and profits. 

I take pride in knowing authors and books for children and young adults.

Imagine how horrified I was when a friend asked me about a book her middle school son was reading for an upcoming author visit and I had not heard of the book or the author. I think it was a first for me. Imagine how much more horrified I was when I went home to pull up his name on the internet to learn that this particular author has more than 20 books out and more important than that, has won the National Book Award. What the heck? 

Maybe I can blame it on the post child baby brain when you are in survival mode and incapable of taking in your normal amounts of information. Yet his books are also starred reviews in School Library Journal. Hmmm. It must just be me.

I decided to do a little poking around. I remember how much buzz The Adoration of Jenna Fox got both before and after it came out. I happen to LOVE that book and think it got the buzz it deserved. 

But Invisible is an AMAZING book and it was nowhere on my radar as a book to read or recommend.  Thankfully there are great middle school teachers and librarians that knew his work. 

In a day when many of us work with, live, or encounter more and more people with forms of Aspbergers or mental illness, Invisible is a Must-Read.

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