“Second Sight – An Editor’s Talks on Writing, Revising, & Publishing Books for Children and Young Adults”

Author Cheryl B. Klein, Senior Editor at Arthur A. Levine Books, a division of Scholastic

I love this book. There you have it. Not very eloquent, not too wordy, and certianly not flowery. But there you have it. Would you like to know why? Very well, read on.

Cheryl Klein had me at hello. It might have something to do with the fact that she was the continuity editor for the last two Harry Potter books. I’ll give you a minute to digest that. You heard correctly but I’ll repeat it again for good measure. One of the editors for the US versions of the last two Harry Potter books wrote a book about writing, revising, and publishing books.

Okay I’ll admit it. I bought her book for that very reason. And I’m very glad I did, for reasons that go beyond the parts on Harry Potter.

Yes, she talks about the Harry Potter books in her book. An entire chapter is dedicated to what writers can learn from the Harry Potter books and I was very thankful for it. She also peppers other parts of the book with Harry Potter wisdom and insight. But there’s more…like icing on the proverbial cake.

I like the way she talks about finding an editor being a lot like falling in love. There’s also an annotated “query letter from hell” and an annotated “query letter that does it right.” Her advice is straight-forward, easy to digest, and she provides practical methods for improving your manuscript. Advice such as avoiding the word “feel” in your manuscript. Show her how your characters feel rather than telling. Ah yes, “show don’t tell” strikes again.

She compares the reaction she gets when people find out that she worked on the Harry Potter books to the same reaction Harvard students get when people find out they attended Harvard. The effect known as dropping the “H-bomb.” I can imagine why she would feel that way, but I can’t help but wish she didn’t. I genuinely appreciate the way she shares her experiences and her insight. She has plenty to say and I’m glad she took time to do so.

Her passion for books and good story telling is evident from the first page to the last. I highly recommend this book to anyone dreaming of being published (like me). Again, I might be slightly prejudiced because I am such a fan of JK Rowling, but I don’t think so. She is the Senior Editor at Arthur A. Levine books, a division of Scholastic, after all.

Aside from visiting Ms. Klein’s blog, you can also read a great interview with her, Potter from the Inside, at The Rusty Key.


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