Dear Genius: The Letters of Ursula Nordstrom

Dear Genius The Letters of Ursula Nordstrom Ursula Nordstrom director of Harper s Department of Books for Boys and Girls from to is regarded as the single most creative force for innovation in children s book publishing in the Unite

  • Title: Dear Genius: The Letters of Ursula Nordstrom
  • Author: Ursula Nordstrom Leonard S. Marcus
  • ISBN: 9780060236250
  • Page: 126
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Ursula Nordstrom, director of Harper s Department of Books for Boys and Girls from 1940 to 1973, is regarded as the single most creative force for innovation in children s book publishing in the United States during the 20th century Considered an editor of maverick temperament and taste, she dared to publish groundbreaking, sometimes controversial books for an audience thUrsula Nordstrom, director of Harper s Department of Books for Boys and Girls from 1940 to 1973, is regarded as the single most creative force for innovation in children s book publishing in the United States during the 20th century Considered an editor of maverick temperament and taste, she dared to publish groundbreaking, sometimes controversial books for an audience that was used to the often condescending material deemed appropriate for children Her unorthodox vision of what she called good books for bad children helped create such classics as Goodnight Moon, Charlotte s Web, Where the Wild Things Are, Harold and the Purple Crayon, and The Giving Tree But it took a lot than editorial genius to juggle such a diverse roster of talent as Margaret Wise Brown, Shel Silverstein, E B White, Maurice Sendak, and John Steptoe it took immense intuition and a generous heart Recognizing that artists need emotional as well as financial support, Nordstrom gave to each what she or he needed to thrive and flourish She could be a best friend, a teacher, a mother, and sometimes even a taskmaster Most of all, she was always available ready to talk, to listen, to encourage, and to guide Leonard S Marcus has culled an exceptional collection of letters.

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      Published :2019-02-16T19:59:21+00:00

    1 thought on “Dear Genius: The Letters of Ursula Nordstrom”

    1. This is possibly the best book ever. Ursula Nordstrom was the head editor at Harpers for many decades, and this is a collection of her professional letters to the authors and illustrators we all love. Her letters themselves are fantastic, witty and intelligent and so very interesting. The topics managed to be even better - I loved seeing her editing in action, and seeing how she shaped all those books into their final versions. Not to mention getting to "know" all of the authors and illustrators [...]

    2. Ursula Nordstrom (not of Nordstrom department store fame); held the position of children’s editor at Harper’s publishing house for over three decades. Her legacy includes having worked with some of the most beloved children’s authors and illustrators including Laura Ingalls Wilder, Maurice Sendak, E.B. White, and Shel Silverstein; among a plethora of others. Nordstrom kept on-going streams of communication with these authors/artists in the forms of typewritten letters which were archived a [...]

    3. 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 grea [...]

    4. Delightful, although at times disjointed. My two favorite parts were where Ursula is describing how she had to explain to industry professionals that The First Four Years cannot be edited to be made more cheerful as that would not be faithful to what LIW wrote (although as I said to my mother the other night, that may well be what Rose did) and the letter Ursula wrote to Russell Hoban when he is working on Bedtime for Frances (then titled Who's Afraid?)

    5. For some reason, I didn't reign in my compulsive eating of enticing Christmas desserts this year. The cookie tray jump starts my pistons for shoveling sugar from hand-to-mouth in a blur. You'd think my pistons would have slowed down now that I'm old, but NOOOOOOOO. Now because of my lack of self-control, I'm an irritable, hamster-type pedal-pusher on an elliptical machine, who is horribly sick of salads and can't eat anything because she gained 10 freaking pounds in two weeks! I have since lost [...]

    6. I'm not usually a big fan of collections of letters, but living with Ursula Nordstrom and her many close, occasionally combative, frank and loving letters to the writers and illustrators she worked with for 30 odd years the past two weeks has been an utter delight.Nordstrom's voice is quite unique: eloquent, warm, frisky. After a couple of hectic, focused months at work, having this voice inside my head - a voice that's miles away from workaday client correspondence - has broken open the linguis [...]

    7. Stuart Little. Charlotte's Web. The Runaway Bunny. Little House in the Big Woods. Bedtime for Frances. Where the Wild Things Are. A Kiss for Little Bear. It's Like This, Cat. Freaky Friday. Harriet the Spy.It's hard to imagine that a single individual was involved in the publication of so many beloved childhood classics, but Ursula Nordstrom was such a woman. As director of Harper Publishing's childrens department from 1940 to 1973, she was friend and mentor to some of the most creative writers [...]

    8. How I enjoyed this book! All it is is letters written by one of the most notable children's book editors ever, Ursula Nordstrom, who worked for Harper. The letters go from 1937 until 1982. This really was a golden age for children's literature, and it was so fun to see letters and production details about some of my favorite books. Laura Ingalls Wilder, E B White, Maurice Sendak, Meindert DeJong, Margaret Wise Brown, Ruth Krauss, Garth Williams, and many others are all there. I loved reading acc [...]

    9. One of the more inspiring books I have ever read - I started out just wanting to see how this woman [the editor of most of my favorite children's books of 1950-1980:] talked to her authors and illustrators - I made mental notes - oh see she sounds cross, but she is just being supportive and constructive, etc.But the more I read it, the more Ursula's own personality was fleshed out - these letters do really give a sense of what a force she must have been - she doesn't give too many personal detai [...]

    10. If you love children's books, this is the book for you. Ursula Nordstrom was the head of the Harper's "Boys and Girls' Department" from 1940 to 1973 and is credited with being one of the most creative forces in children's books. She had an uncanny ability to recognize talent and potential in writers and illustrators. She worked with people such as Maurice Sendak, E.B. White, Margaret Wise Brown, Shel Silverstein, Garth Williams, John Steptoe, Mary Stolz, and on and on. She was a magnificent ment [...]

    11. Ursula Nordstrom is wonderful: witty, self-deprecating, kind (mostly). Think of a children's book author or illustrator that you've read, and this former children's editor with Harper & Row probably mentored them: Laura Ingalls Wilder, Maurice Sendak, EB White, Garth Williams, H.A. and Margret Rey, Margaret Wise Brown If you grew up on these peoples' books (and pity you if you didn't) you'll love this behind-the-scenes peek at how their books were created. Ursula Nordstrom was an open-minded [...]

    12. It's impossible to overstate the significance of this book, and the work of Ursula Nordstrom, in my life as a reader & librarian.

    13. Fascinating read for those of us wanting a peek behind-the-scenes in children's literature and publishing. Who better than the influential Ursula Nordstrom herself to reveal a bit of historic reality about the writers, illustrators, editors, and publishers who gifted the world with many twentieth century American children's classics: chapter books like Charlotte's Web and Harriet the Spy, I Can Read Books like the Little Bear series, and picture books like Where the Wild Things Are, Goodnight Mo [...]

    14. Laurie was so right; I loved this book. Ursula Nordstrom was the editor for Harper's children's books for decades, working with Margaret Wise Brown, EB White, Maurice Sendak, Louise Fitzhugh and a bazillion others. She shaped 20th century kidlit and happened to be an excellent letter writer to boot. It was fascinating to watch how she worked with all those writers and illustrators. I had never really thought about illustrator-editor conversations and I was especially interested in her Garth Will [...]

    15. What I liked about this collection of letters is the way UN's wry wit was always in evidence. It was fun to read some of the letters to authors I know and love. What I didn't like was the lack of context, the disconnected nature of only getting one side of the conversation. What drove me crazy is maybe only something I don't understand, perhaps some scholarly convention- but I found it maddening that the editor assigned "short" names to some of the authors as if he would be referring to them by [...]

    16. Ursula Nordstrom's story is fascinating. Her letters to authors and illustrators of children's literature - many of whom you would recognize - are businesslike, descriptive, funny, personal, caring and all around really great. The only downside is that we only have one side of the correspondence recorded here. Overall great glimpse into this woman's business life and dealing with her creative genius friends. Great read.

    17. Such a wonderful book! Read it back when I was teaching children's literature to elementary ed students at the university. Told them about it. Maurice Sendak, Louise Fitzhugh, EB White, Mary Stolz, who else? Everybody! This woman changed the face of literature with her insight, encouragement, bravery. Thanks to Leonard Marcus for all the work he does promoting and explaining and excavating the history of children's literature.

    18. Excellent history of children's book publishing from 1930sthrough 1980. We only read Ursula's letters to authors and illustrators and not responses. I want to check my books to see how many I have. Cultural ltural history along the way

    19. This was absolutely fascinating. A Children's Lit class would teach the students a lot by assigning this book and also the many books mentioned in the letters by Nordstrom! Many of today's children classics were produced under Nordstrom's excited and expert guidance. Luckily Nordstrom was an avid letter writer and often would hang up the phone with an author or illustrator and immediately start a letter to that person to continue her thoughts on the conversation. She would cajole, nag, baby alon [...]

    20. To know of Ursula Nordstrom is to long for an editor worth writing. Nordstrom, the director of Harper’s Department of Books for Boys and Girls from 1940-1973, is responsible for the careers and celebrity of many writers and artists during her tenure. From Maurice Sendak, who she “discovered” in an FAO Schwartz window, to E.B. White, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Shell Silverstein, and more, there are her collected letters in Dear Genius. Thanks to Leonard S. Marcus, the title is apt, as review of [...]

    21. 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 com [...]

    22. This took me a few months to get through, so I don't have as comprehensive of a view on Nordstrom's evolution as I would have liked (there was a lot of stopping and starting on this, and some extra books in-between). This is partly due to my few and scattered moments of reading in school, and also because of the nature of the book. There are nearly 400 pages of letters, and I found that I couldn't read more than around 15 pages at a time without beginning to skim. It takes a letter or two to get [...]

    23. This book was recommended to me by a friend whose mother did some freelance editing of it years ago. Ursula Nordstrom was the editor of the children's division of Harper Books when that publishing house was handling the development of classic books like Where the Wild Things Are, Goodnight Moon, Charlotte's Web, The Giving Tree, Harold & the Purple Crayon, A Birthday for Frances (and the other Frances books), Little House on the Prairie, and so many others. This is a compilation of Ursula No [...]

    24. Ain't it always the case? I just wrote what was - by my standards - a long, thoughtful review of this wonderful book. I included the context of why I think reading collections of literary correspondence is a wonderful activity. I included wonderful links to wonderful authors and their wonderful books. I even included a wonderful quote from the editor's wonderful introduction to this volume that sorta summed up why I thought Ursula Nordstrom was so - well, wonderful.Then I hit "save" to share thi [...]

    25. An interesting read to see, from the editor's point of view, how some of the most famous children's books came into being. Works by authors like Sendak and Shel Silverstein, and books like Harriet the Spy and Charlotte's Web abound here in the Nordstrom letters, with the authors' careers forming, and the books themselves being jiggled back and forth until both editor and author felt they were just right. Nordstrom had a very cajoling style to her editing, but also quite a force coming through he [...]

    26. Love this notation by Nordstorm: "N.G.E.F.Y." (not good enough for you) Also loved this snippet from a letter to Sendak Feb.19, 1963 "I was glad to heat the other day, when you were in the office, that you're hoping to write and illustrate your own beautiful picture book - instead of doing a lot of illustrating for other peoople. That will be wonderful. You were speaking about somthing, or someone, or some little animal, getting out of some enclosure - and I think that might grow and develop int [...]

    27. I cannot express how wonderful this book is. ESPECIALLY if you're into children's literature. My co-workers are going to go gaga over it; I can't wait to pass it on. Ursula Nordstrom (what a name!) was the head editor for children's books at Harper's for more than 30 years. She ushered so many classics into the world: Where the Wild Things Are, Harold and the Purple Crayon, Charlotte's Web, Harriet the Spy, Goodnight Moon, the Little House books, and so many more. This book is a collection of he [...]

    28. For anyone who loves children's books, this collection of letters by a genius of an editor is absolutely indispensable for its insights into writing, illustrating, editing, and publishing. It also contains many fascinating tidbits about a host of famous authors and illustrators. Best of all, the voice in those letters is that of a funny, smart, irresistible human being whose amusing comments often made me smile. Of a sales manager who responded with intense emotion to a reading of Bedtime for Fr [...]

    29. In my hands now, and I'm so excited:"December 9, 1949Dear Nowell:(1). Please don't address me as "Dear Baby." I was young and eager when you knew me but now I'm a large, middle-aged woman even though my last anguished letter to you didn't sound very mature. (2). It was wonderful to have your good crazy sensible letter."Now that's a letter from your editor. Or:"Dear Mick,The copy-editor brought the revised ms. of Cat back this morning and I've been gulping it down with such excitement that I'm al [...]

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