Genre

The January/February 2012 issue of Poets and Writers magazine recounts the “Cinderella” publishing tale of novelist Adam Mansbach, independent publisher Johnny Temple of Akashic Books, and the unexpected success of their Go the Fuck to Sleep (2011). Mansbach’s book is alternately described by its author, publisher, and readers as “an illustrated children’s book” (85), a New York Times best seller (85), “the go-to gag gift for your cool best friend’s baby shower” (85), “a popular gift book” (86), and “a novelty book” (89). Having gone through “seven printings and earned revenues of more than two million dollars in its first three months” (88), Go the Fuck to Sleep occupies one of several cultural spaces, including one titled “profane children’s bed-time books.”

Even as individual titles may elude a single genre’s grasp, genre is both ubiquitous and inimical to the history of children’s literature, dominating and vexing systems of classification in

This essay may be found on page 84 of the printed volume.

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