The last time I walked through the kid's section at a bookstore, I wanted to cry. They let John Travolta write a children's book. And Tyra Banks too (it's about a would-be model named Tookie De La Crème, and no, I'm not kidding). And Glenn Beck for crying out loud.
It seems like all you have to do to get a contract to write for kids is to show up at a publishing house, wave your hand and say "Hey, I'm a celebrity!" Snooki is expected to put hers out any day now (OK, not really ... at least, God ... no ... please, just no). So you could be depressed about the state of kids literature. Or you could look on the bright side.
There are actually some celebrities whose books for kids ... wait for it ... don't totally suck. Some of them are even kind of good if you ask me.
Want to know what's worth putting on the bookshelf beside the Velveteen Rabbits and the Anne of Green Gables? Here are a few shockers worth checking out.
Playground by 50 Cent
50 Cent, aka Curtis Jackson, may be a hardcore rapper, but he's also a dad. And it's for his teenage son and the thousands of kids who deal with bullying that he wrote Playground, an insightful look at how bullied kids become the bullies
Being Wendy by Fran Drescher
Fran Drescher's voice on The Nanny was just to the thing to make small children cry, but she does the opposite when she takes to the written word. Dressing her characters in boxes in Being Wendy, Drescher teaches a gentle lesson about being comfortable being different and learning to be a leader.
Freckleface Strawberry by Julianne Moore
When she's not busy playing Sarah Palin on TV or winning a Golden Globe as a lesbian mom in The Kids Are All Right, Julianne Moore is the author behind the Freckleface Strawberry series about a little girl with ginger hair and freckles she just can't wash off her face.
Flanimals by Ricky Gervais
Ricky Gervais' addition to the world of kids lit is not quite as hilarious as his now infamous Golden Globes hosting gigs, but the look at a world full of nonsense animals is pretty funny in its own right.
The Very Fairy Princess: Here Comes the Flower Girl by Julie Andrews & Emma Walton Hamilton
Actress Julie Andrews has delighted kids with her turns as Mary Poppins and Princess Mia's grandma in The Princess Diaries films, but she has also been reaching out to kids from the page since the 1970s. These days she writes children's books with daughter Emma Walton Hamilton, including The Very Fairy Princess series, loosely based on Hamilton's daughter.
In the latest, The Very Fairy Princess: Here Comes the Flower Girl, little Geraldine's Aunt Sue is getting married, and she's opted for an outdoor wedding in the garden. It could put a crimp in the grand plans of a very fairy princess, but this little girl knows better: every event could use a little extra sparkle.
A sweet book that reminds kids being a princess is about what's on the inside, not the outside.
The Boy With Pink Hair by Perez Hilton
Yes, that Perez Hilton, the guy who makes a living snarking on celebrities, has a kids' book that's actually kind of cute! The illustrations are funny, the story line about being different sweet.
What is your favorite children's book penned by a celebrity?