Erin McCarthy, Henny Penny and good news

I had the privilege to join Ohio writer Erin McCarthy at a juvenile correction facility today, where she spoke with approximately 10 incarcerated girls, their librarian and two instructors. (Erin writes under the name Erin Lynn for her young adult novels.)

After Erin introduced herself and talked a little about what it’s like to be a writer in her genre of romance and young adult novels, the girls asked a flurry of questions about the writing life and getting published. 

There wasn’t a moment’s pause in the 45 minutes Erin talked with them.

The girls also eagerly shared titles of books they’d read and favorite authors and lined up afterwards to have Erin sign their copies of her book, Demon Envy.

I sat on the sidelines with the librarian and felt like I was seeing something more real than the statistics we get about kids no longer being excited about books.  And it’s not the first time I’ve witnessed this kind of reaction by kids (or adults) to authors and books. 

Maybe it’s because I travel in book circles, but I wonder sometimes if – like a normal day in the news – we’re getting Henny Penny’s alarmist version of what’s happening in our reading world. 

The sky may be falling with kids being pulled more toward electronics than books, but it’s not an all-or-nothing kind of trend. 

Some, dare I say many, kids want books, and more books, paperbacks and hardbound books, and they get excited about them, too. Even teen-aged girls who live tough lives.

2 thoughts on “Erin McCarthy, Henny Penny and good news

  1. I agree there will always be “books.” Today we are separating information/content from the physical “book” format. We get a lot of info from Internet and other digital sources, and we may reach a point where that is our preferred source of actual information (may already be there).

    Because loading a personal library on a Kindle creates an informational resource, not a book collection, there will always be physical books available for people who prefer them. There may not always be hundreds of thousands of titles published each year, but there will always be people who value — and pay for — this format, for whatever personal reasons.

    Today we have extremely fuel-efficient cars, ultra-sleek sports cars, even huge SUVs, fitting every lifestyle and preference. But a Rolls Royce still attracts admiring attention — and even a little envy — from others on the road.

    Keep up the great work on the blog!


    1. We’ll be at author readings like McCarthy’s with some clutching their e-books and others (us!) their hardbound/paperback books. I agree – we’re heading toward different formats and different preferences of how to purchase, read and keep a book. Here’s what I’m wondering, though … what will the e-book producers come up with for author signings? The girls lined up for McCarthy to sign their newly received copies of Demon Envy. How would she sign an e-book?


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