- Football fiction
- Enid Blyton
- Kate Greenaway and Carnegie Medal shortlists
Displays are usually a good way to promote children’s books and you can measure their success by how often you have to keep topping them up. These three displays were hopeless as the books hardly moved at all.
You’d think football stories would be popular, especially with boys, but they never seem to get borrowed from our library. The children were more interested in taking home the laminated badges I made of Aston Villa, West Brom, Wolves and Birmingham City for the display than they were in the books themselves. All I can think of is:
- the books aren’t funny, scary or exciting enough
- children aren’t stupid and they know Theo Walcott and David Beckham didn’t really write the books
- kids would rather play football than read about it
The Enid Blyton issue is a bit different. Lots of single author displays work well, especially if they’re tied in with a film like Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson books in the summer, but the Blyton books were ignored. Even when I mix her books with others in a general adventure books display she isn’t popular. I loved her books as a child so perhaps I’m a bit biased and should just admit defeat and move on.
I was really disappointed that my display of the Kate Greenaway Medal and the Carnegie Medal shortlisted books last year didn’t really work. The display was full of lovely books but only a few were borrowed. (Exactly the same happens with displays of book prize shortlists in the adult section.) I think I was expecting parents to pick up the books for their children because they’d been judged so highly, but it just didn’t happen. Perhaps it’s because
- people are suspicious of literary prizes, thinking there’s a bit of snobbery involved and the books won’t be very accessible
- the books that appeal to the judges are less attractive to children
- the books covered a wide reading age so the display wasn’t focused enough
Should I just give up on these books or can you suggest other ways for me to promote them?