I have a new heroine, and her name is Ursula Nordstrom.
I first became aware of Nordstrom a few weeks ago when Elizabeth Bird of the Fuse #8 blog on the School Library Journal website was counting down the Top 100 Picture Books Poll
. Of the 100 books on the list, Nordstrom edited 12 of them, more than any other single person.
Nordstrom was an editor for Harpers from the 1930's-1970's. She is considered a pioneer in the area of children's books. She edited many of the children's books we have come to regard as 'classics'. She worked with the likes of Laura Ingalls Wilder, Garth Williams, E.B. White, Maurice Sendak, Margaret Wise Brown, Shel Silverstein, Clement Hurd- the list goes on and on.
This book is full of letters she wrote to various people within the publishing industry (authors, illustrators, librarians, other publishers, etc). She was brilliant and enormously funny. I loved seeing just how committed she was to her authors and illustrators. I know a collection of letters (especially hundreds of letters) sounds like it will be enormously dry and boring, but I'm telling you IT'S NOT. I borrowed this book from the local library, but I'm *seriously* considering purchasing a copy for my own personal use.
In my opinion, this book is an education for anyone who 1) wants to be involved in any way with the creation and distribution of quality children's books or 2) anyone who simply loves children's books.