24 Apr

"What age is it for?"

I’m getting used to hearing this vexing, perplexing question, asked in reference to The Day-Glo Brothers. I understand why people ask it — we’re used to categorizing things, and so the standard question upon learning of an author’s upcoming children’s book is not far removed from many people’s typical query upon meeting a child (“What grade are you in?”).

It implies, of course, that there are some ages that a book isn’t for, or even some ages that a book is against. I know I’m not alone among authors in wanting my book to have an appeal too broad to be defined by a pair of numbers in the single or low double digits. And The Day-Glo Brothers‘ mixture of ketchup-factory accident, Depression-era chorus girls, challenging scientific explanations, cute retro illustrations, entrepreneurial spirit and bright, bright colors make it all the harder for me to answer that seemingly simple question: What age is it for?

With no finished version to show, so that my questioners can reach their own conclusions, I hem and haw and mutter and qualify. Or at least, I did until yesterday

Yesterday afternoon, I got a lovely call from a nonagenarian member of my subjects’ family, just telling me how much she’s looking forward to my book’s publication. “I’m 94, but I’m hanging in there,” she said. Publication is still over a year away, and while I’d love to be able to boast that readers as old as 100 will like The Day-Glo Brothers, I’ll gladly settle for being able to say with certainty that my audience stretches to 95.

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