Dear Genius
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Dear Genius : Letters of Ursula Nordstrom

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She trusted her immense intuition and generous heart--and published the most. Ursula Nordstrom, director of Harper's Department of Books for Boys and Girls from 1940 to 1973, was arguably the single most creative force for innovation in children's book publishing in the United States during the twentieth century. Considered an editor of maverick temperament and taste, her unorthodox vision helped create such classics as Goodnight Moon, Charlotte's Web, Where the Wild Things Are, Harold and the Purple Crayon, and The Giving Tree.

Leonard S. Marcus has culled an exceptional collection of letters from the HarperCollins archives. The letters included here are representative of the brilliant correspondence that was instrumental in the creation of some of the most beloved books in the world today. Full of wit and humor, they are immensely entertaining, thought-provoking, and moving in their revelation of the devotion and high-voltage intellect of an incomparably gifted editor, mentor, and publishing visionary.Ursula Nordstrom, director of Harper's Department of Books for Boys and Girls from 1940 to 1973, was arguably the single most creative force for innovation in children's book publishing in the United States during the twentieth century. Considered an editor of maverick temperament and taste, her unorthodox vision helped create such classics as Goodnight Moon, Charlotte's Web, Where the Wild Things Are, Harold and the Purple Crayon, and The Giving Tree.

Leonard S. Marcus has culled an exceptional collection of letters from the HarperCollins archives. The letters included here are representative of the brilliant correspondence that was instrumental in the creation of some of the most beloved books in the world today. Full of wit and humor, they are immensely entertaining, thought-provoking, and moving in their revelation of the devotion and high-voltage intellect of an incomparably gifted editor, mentor, and publishing visionary.
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Product details

  • 12-17
  • Paperback | 406 pages
  • 152.4 x 228.35 x 34.29mm | 680g
  • HarperCollins
  • New York, NY, United States
  • English
  • 0064462358
  • 9780064462358
  • 255,627

Back cover copy

Nordstrom on career opportunities in publishing:

March 4, 1953

"Did I ever tell you ... I was taken out to luncheon and offered, with great ceremony, the opportunity to be an editor in the adult department? ... I almost pushed the luncheon table into the lap of the pompous gentleman opposite me and then explained kindly that publishing children's books was what I did, that I couldn't possibly be interested in books for dead dull finished adults, and thank you very much but I had to get back to my desk to publish some more good books for bad children".

Nordstrom on editorial responsibility:

June 13, 1952

"I never want to forget that if Lewis Carroll had asked me whether or not he should bother writing about a little girl named Alice who fell asleep and dreamed that she had a lot of adventures down a rabbit hole, it would not have sounded awfully tempting to any editor".

Nordstrom on nice books:

August 11, 1959

"NOW I ABSOLUTELY LIKE THE IDEA OF THE MEAN STORIES ... Would you have some mean children, I hope?"
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Review quote

"Ursula Nordstrom was arguably the greatest editor of American children's books in this century . . . her real genius glows from these letters".

-- The New York Times Book Review
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Rating details

536 ratings
4.39 out of 5 stars
5 56% (300)
4 31% (168)
3 10% (52)
2 2% (12)
1 1% (4)
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