Thursday, July 28, 2011

How to Judge an Author

I showed my kids a picture of the following author and asked them, What kind of books does he write? Fantasy. What makes you think he writes fantasy? He has a swoosh hair-do. He's looking off into the distance. He's young - young people have new ideas. This is actually Isaac Marion, science-fiction author whose current work is Warm Bodies. Is it that big of a leap from fantasy to sci-fi? They were close! Here are a few more...

She writes romance *with a breathy voice*. What makes you think she writes romance? The way she's posing - she's pretty, wearing lip stick, her hair is nice, and she's a girl. I'd like to know what this means for girl authors who don't write romance? This is actually Kathryn Stockett, historical fiction author of The Help.

He writes science-fiction. What makes you think he writes sci-fi? The look he's giving the camera, the little smile on his face - he looks like he's trying to make you think he knows something. Plus, the way he's standing. This is Kevin O'Brien, author of several thrillers, including Disturbed.

I saved the best for last. I didn't even have to ask them the question. They didn't pause to think. They knew, immediately...

Horror. What makes you think he writes horror? He has crazy eyes. His smile is showing only the bottom half of his front teeth, and he looks like a turtle. Bingo. You heard it straight from the kid's mouths - this is Stephen King, famous horror author whose most recent work is Full Dark No Stars.

22 comments:

Miranda Hardy said...

The last one is my favorite! Too funny.

Al said...

First impressions?
I guess they have a place.

I wonder what they'd guess if the saw a photo of me?

Julia Munroe Martin said...

Can't judge a book by the cover, but apparently CAN judge a book by the author!! :D (p.s. thrilled to see Stephen King, a fellow Mainer, in the line-up -- and I think he'd be quite proud (except maybe about the turtle part! :)

Claudia Del Balso said...

OMG! your kids should be profilers! LOL! What a great post, Michelle. I love Kathryn's "The Help" I can't wait to see the movie even though books are always better. I met Kathryn last year at the BookExpo in NYC. She was so nice. So I guess it's true what they say, "first impressions count" no matter how young your audience is ;)

Laura Marcella said...

That's really cool! And so interesting the way the kids reasoned. You've got smart observant kids, Michelle!

Loree Huebner said...

That is so funny. Sometimes kids see more than we give them credit for.

Faith E. Hough said...

Wow, their guesses were pretty impressive, though the first looks like a poet to me. :) Keats would look like that if he lived now!
Poor Stephen King...I suppose that reconstructive surgery he had to have didn't make him look any less "horror -writing"!

Ann Best said...

Michelle: (re your comment on my last post) I'd love to have you as a neighbor who would bring me a piece of cake (when everything goes wrong).

These judgments based on appearance are wonderful! Don't children view people/the world in such a marvelous way. I often wish I were mentally back in that mode.

I love coming over here. I need to drop by more often. Your "space" is so restful and inviting, like your door is always open. I often wish I could fly back to visit friends in northern Utah, but I'll never be able to go across country again with Jen. It's just too difficult now for both of us. But she knows I COULD fly out alone, IF I had someone to stay with her, and IF I could afford the current plane fare. I guess I'll just have to look forward to meeting you when that great "future day" arrives.
Ann Best, Author of In the Mirror, A Memoir of Shattered Secrets

Stacy Henrie said...

That's awesome! Guess those authors pictures really are important - and telling.

Angie said...

How funny. I think I would have pegged the sci-fi authors too.

Medeia Sharif said...

Those are awesome guesses. And I love how they reasoned and arrived at their conclusions.

Catherine Lavoie said...

What a fun post! LOVED your kids' profiling of Stephen King!
Have a great weekend!

Leslie Rose said...

I got a kick out of this post. I'm going to steal this idea when I teach my class about literary genres. Thanks for the inspiration.

Julie Daines said...

What a fun idea! I'm going to try this with my kids!

M Pax said...

Interesting. Fantasy is a subgenre of sci-fi, so, yes, related. :)

Carol Kilgore said...

Your kids have a better grasp of non-verbal clues than many adults. Very cool :)

TerryLynnJohnson said...

funny! they were pretty good!

I think the author photo is a great opportunity to show a little personality - I enjoy it when some authors dress up like their genre. So fun.

Talli Roland said...

Haha! Oh my God, you've made me nervous now...

Kathi Oram Peterson said...

So cute. This reminds me of what Sarah did at the Storymakers conference.

Kids say the darnest things, don't they?

Crystal Cook said...

LOL!! I love this! Especially that Stephen King looks like a turtle and that's why he writes horror! :)

Laraine Eddington said...

Brilliant post. I'm always fascinated by the author's pic on the jacket. I feel cheated if there isn't one.

Susan said...

Fabulous! Emailed this on to my sister who teaches gifted students - what a fun and creative exercise.