Wednesday, March 3, 2010

John Grisham: Children's Book Author?

It came out last week that best selling author John Grisham wants to write a series of children's books. That's right, John Grisham of adult, legal-thrillers, "The Firm," "The Client," "Pelican Brief," The Street Lawyer," and many others (more than 20) is venturing away from his adult-minded novels occassionaly and writing for preteens 8 - 12 years old.

To say that Grisham wants to write for children is slightly inaccurate. He is writing for children, with the first installment, "Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer," of the planned series due to hit stores in the US in May and June in the UK. So as we can see from the title Grisham hasn't ventured far from his comfort zone and that is not a problem. Afterall, the first rule in writing is, Write What You Know.

The lead character, Theodore, is a 13-year-old boy, whose parents are both lawyers in a samll Southern town. He unintentionaly becomes involved in a murder trial. Whoops. It's already beginning to sound a great deal like many of his novels for adults. Maybe this isn't a bad thing. Afterall, Grisham is an excellent writer with great a handle on vocabulary and plot twists. No doubt Grisham's books will be better written than many in the children's book industry. Although it feels like a "Nancy Drew" mystery, those who have seen the book say it is vinatge Grisham, albeit toned down for children I hope, with thrilling adventure, character development, mystery and fun.

Penguin is set to publish the series, which leads me to think paperback series, but the May 25th release is slotted to be hardcover. Maybe we could end up with something more akin to Blue Balliett's, "Chasing Vermeeer," or "The Calder Game." The publisher thinks it will be an "interesting" competitor in the children's genre. I'm not sure if that endoresment sells me on "Theodore Boone," but it could be a nice diversion from all the magical, vampire, fantasy, paranormal, mumbo-jumbo in the marketplace right now.

I, for one, feel Grisham has earned the benefit of the doubt based on his vast library of successful novels for adults. So I will read "Theodore Boone" and let you know what I think at that time. For those of you who are worried about his novels for adults, don't. His next is scheduled for release in 2011.


  1. March 3, 2010 3:20 pm EST


    This is John Grisham????......I need to read more fiction. I thought he was an old curmudgeon. I also think that Mr. Grisham is jealous that the lady that wrote Harry Potter made more money in 10 years than he has made in a lifetime ….so he decided to have a go at that lucrative children’s market and all the “stuff” you can sell that goes along with your books. I can see Kid’s Place now selling cardboard courtrooms next Christmas so you can play “Theodore”. Can’t blame the guy for trying for a piece of the pie.

  2. I am just happy that the publishers are willing to veer from the fantasy realm. Hopefully this is the beginning of a trend for more variety in children's new fiction.