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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

List of Authors/Illustrators. Met, Loved, and Tripped Over. (Part One)

These round-ups are dangerous in part because I suffer from a severe case of ALA Aphasia. I’m going to try to tell you about some of the folks I bumped into while at ALA. This is partly self-indulgent and partly apologetic because I know I’ve forgotten people.  Sorry, guys.  Next conference I’ll let you tattoo your names on my left cheekbone (but it’ll have to be backwards so that I can read them in the mirror later).

When hunting the wild children’s author, there’s usually only one place to go.  The ALA Convention Floor. Not having paid attention to little things like, oh say, the exact date and time that floor would open, I ended up reading a lot of Catherine Jinks’ Evil Genius while waiting to get down there (good book, that). Once in, I quickly located Erica S. Perl who had been a clever pookie and asked me to stop by at a time when I wasn’t munching or lunching.  It is unfortunate that the Gods of Book Convention Floors placed the Abrams booth in the bookseller equivalent of the boonies.  Sure, at least it wasn’t in the back of the room, but it still took a special trek just to get there.  In any case, here is the lovely Ms. Perl posing with her book Ninety-Three In My Family.

One of the Abrams people took the picture (which explains the lovely view of all their upcoming books here).  And if you’re wondering why this is the only picture of an author in this post, it is because Ms. Perl was the only person who asked to take one of us with her camera.  I never think to take photographs.  It’s my curse.

The next day I ran into Jeff Kinney, author of the Funniest Book of the Year (no discussion on this one) Diary of a Wimpy Kid.  Read. This. Book. People.  I mean it.  Do it.

I also performed a dynamic tumble over Avi‘s feet. Fun Fact: Avi’s not really a trip-over-my-feet kinda guy. He didn’t say anything or, for that matter, notice me at all though, so that was all right. I then noticed that he was going to start signing stuff, but after you’ve tripped over a man what else is there to do but move on and find someone else to trip over?  Word on the street had it that David Wiesner has some nicely trippable feet.  I did not linger.  

And then there are the big name authors you keep running into without ever figuring out how to talk to them. I’ve never spoken to either Holly Black or Judy Blume, and it’s getting awkward. We’re always at the same places. Wait. That’s not entirely true. I did speak to Judy Blume once. I told her the black and white cookies being served at a NYPL librarian event "were good". That’s the kind of pure unadulterated brilliance Ms. Blume doesn’t see every day, I’m sure. In the case of Holly Black, I’m sure we could chat, but what would we say? I’ve reviewed some of her books on Amazon, where they were swallowed up by the inky blackness that is that site. She would not know me from Adam, and it seems a shame to bother her. Still, every time I run into Ms. Black I feel a twinge of, "Should I say something?," followed swiftly by a quick, "Naaaah."

Speaking of Judy Blume, John Green (oh, I know all about his Guilt Free Three) wins the Remember My Name Award of the conference. Like the guy has nothing better to do but recall that Fuse #8 = Betsy Bird. But when I ran into him at a cool Simon & Schuster party he not only remembered me but gave me a big ole hug. This felt natural as I am a regular viewer of Brotherhood 2.0 and, as a result, am under the mistaken impression that he’s a buddy who talks directly to me every other day (except on week-ends). I asked him about this too. "Isn’t it weird that everyone in the world now regards you as their friend?," says I. John countered by confiding to me that it was a clever marketing scheme on his part. He’ll just make everyone his friend and sell his books that way. MySpace Friends be damned!

Now how much do I love author Mitali Perkins? So much so that I went to her book promotion at the Martin Luther King library branch rather than see Peter Sis at the Czech Embassy. THAT is how much I love Mitali Perkins. The cool thing was that she returned my love tenfold. Not only were there tasty treats and sweet things to drink (all of which I avoided so as to not burst from the amount of food being crammed into my gullet by the publishers that week) but she managed to get us to all stand up and dance. And dance we did! Apparently there are photos out there regarding my hip moves.  So help me God if those hit the internet….

In any case, newbie author Karen Day was present as well, which was nice. She came to the SCBWI Kidlit Drink Night long long ago. Her book is currently sitting in my To Be Reviewed Pile. The pile is enormous, messy, and mumbles insults at me when it thinks I’m not listening.

I saw the lovely Ms. Linda Sue Park at the Newbery Banquet later in my trip.  I’d seen her the night before at the aforementioned hot S&S party, but didn’t get a chance to chat.  Every time I see Linda it’s like she’s hugging and hanging out with some fellow Newbery winner.  Once during an SCBWI Conference I interrupted her conversation with Katherine Paterson.  Ms. Paterson was very nice about it but I have learned an important rule regarding Ms. Park.  Wait for her to come to you.  Anywho, she look faaaaabulous at the Newbery night.  Wish I’d taken a picture (consarn it…).


About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.


  1. I have no memory of you interrupting any conversation of mine, with or without Katherine Paterson. And wouldn’t you know it: there I was spending the whole of my ALA weekend wondering when Betsy Bird was going to break away from all her adoring blogland fans to come over and talk to *me*….

    Ah well. At least I got a great photo of you, over on my blog if you haven’t seen it yet.

    I may well incur the wrath of librarianland by posting this next, which I have no wish to do, but I thought you’d like to know that when my significant other saw that photo of you, his comment was something like, “Wow. She doesn’t look like a librarian.”

    It was a great night, no? All best, Linda Sue

  2. Mitali Perkins says:

    Oh, wow. I had no idea of the extent of sacrifice required to Bollywood the afternoon away with me. Thanks, Fuse, and everybody else who came. The YouTube video will be uploaded soon, and I’ll keep your blog fans posted about a glimpse of you learning how to use your eyes to do bhangra right.

  3. Fuse #8 says:

    Ooooh. Pretty pics, Linda. Linkable to the extreme. I shall take the librarian comment with the spirit with which it was intended. And Mitali, I do warn you that if that YouTube video goes up it may cause blindness to the innocent viewers out there. You wouldn’t want to inflict that upon hundreds of thousands of viewers, would you?