Dave's Reviews > Dear Genius: The Letters of Ursula Nordstrom

Dear Genius by Ursula Nordstrom
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's review
Dec 01, 09

If I were stranded on a desert island with only five books, this would be one of them for sure. Not only was Ursula a daring, ground-breaking editor who revolutionized children's books, but she was also a brilliant communicator. If she was writing about the color of orange juice, she'd still be a hoot.

But lucky for us she wasn't writing about citrus fruit—she was writing about kids books, and publishing and personalities. Sometimes we even see her frustrations with politics and culture (a great reminder that some things never change).

These letters are fun to read, both because they provide a peak behind the curtain, into the making of some truly classic works (Where the Wild Things Are, Charlotte's Web, Danny and the Dinosaur, to name three), and because Ursula was such a master at dealing with confidant and headstrong "artists". She always knew how to direct without demanding. She showed her authors humor, respect, and humility but still managed to push (point) them when they needed it.

Anyone who has to communicate complex ideas (in emails or otherwise) could learn a thing or three from Ursula Nordstrom. This book is a must for anybody in publishing (authors and editors and aspirants alike).

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