I Wouldn’t Mind Seeing a Worst Title Contest, Come to Think of It
Bookninja recently turned me onto a great article in the Guardian Unlimited called The name of the prose: what makes a great title? It’s a worthy question. Children’s book titles have to walk a delicate line. Too looney and parents and children might both be turned off. Too subtle and everyone remembers your book’s plot but can’t remember what title to tell the nice children’s librarian. Ex: "It had a blue cover? Does that sound right? A blue cover?"
Of the memorable titles, just look at some we’ve seen coming out this year.
- The Misadventures of Benjamin Bartholomew Piff: You Wish
- The Lemonade War
- The Broken Bike Boy and the Queen of 33rd Street
- A Girl, a Boy, and a Monster Cat
- 17 Things I’m Not Allowed to do Anymore
- Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians
We’ve discussed what it is that makes a great children’s book cover, but titles require another set of muscles entirely. I loved Reaching for Sun but darned if I forget the title every time I’m not looking at the book’s cover. Ditto A Friendship for Today or last year’s Part of Me. Great books, but with titles that act like liquid mercury to the brain. It’s worth thinking about, surely.
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About Betsy Bird
Betsy Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.
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