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celebrity books

The Oxford Companion to Children’s Literature

Daniel Hahn

celebrity books 

A phenomenon which has become prevalent in the early years of the 21st cent., whereby people who are famous in some other walk of life (or simply famous for being famous) publish books for children, with the implied assumption that this is an easy step for them or their brand managers to take. The result has been a tide of books, some apparently arbitrary or just chasing a trend (books by former glamour models about ponies, say), others more understandable: books by footballers set in youth footballing academies, and books by famous dancers about young girls who want to be famous dancers. The quality of some of these is passable, not least because the books are often ghostwritten by professional writers. When the celebrity in question writes his or her own book, the results have been mixed, but fame can still produce a bestseller from poor material, such as the pop star Madonna’s 2003 debut for children, The English Roses. The television comic actor David Walliams is one celebrity to have diversified into children’s books from elsewhere in the entertainment world and managed to do it to some critical acclaim, but such examples remain few and far between.