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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fusenews: In Which I Get a Little Photo Crazy

Colleen Mondor at Chasing Ray and Gwenda Bond over at Shaken and Stirred  both have some great posts up that touch on the issue of class in children’s books.  Look through the titles on current bookstore shelves and find me the lower income contemporary kids that lead happy lives.  As Colleen said, "I don’t think economic conditions were better reflected 30 years ago. (I don’t recall ever reading a book about a kid with divorced parents – where the both parents are still in the picture – let alone one that showed shopping with coupons like my family did.) But having said that, I don’t think books today are nearly as reflective of modern economic society as they should be and that is important – it is very important."  On a similar note Gwen said of Ramona and Her Father, "This is the one where her father gets laid off from his job; eventually, at the end, he gets a new one as a check-out cashier. I can’t remember the last time I read about a real blue collar family like this, where it was portrayed as okay and a non-issue to not be the Joneses."  I myself can think of only one book recently that included working class characters AND took place in the present AND was free from abuse.  That would be The Qwikpick Adventure Society by our very own Sam Riddleburger.  Think about all the recent children’s books you’ve read where a kid lived in a trailer and it wasn’t a huge, enormous, gigantic deal AND they weren’t suffering from physical or emotional distress.  Better yet, name me a children’s book where there was a character that was a Jehovah’s Witness and it wasn’t the focus of the tale.  Kudos to the Riddleburger man.

  • I trust Bank Street College librarian Lisa von Drasek.  I trust her opinions.  I trust her voice.  And so when I found out that she had written a piece on that Anne of Green Gables prequel Before Green Gables I made sure to check it out.  You should consider doing the same.  My mother would approve of it.  It says that "Megan Follows is Anne", and so she is.  Bizarrely, apparently Putnam put out Before Green Gables as an adult title.  Granted, most of the people I know that have been excited about it were adults, but I hardly think that should be the book’s base.

  • A good title is money in the bank.  When I was in Stratford, Ontario recently I had a chance to sit down with incipient YA author R.J. Anderson and we discussed a book that I’d heard mentioned a couple months ago and remembered based on title alone.  I mean, how do you forget a story called In the Forest of Hands and Teeth?  Well Alison Morris over at ShelfTalker has come up with another book title that I am now inordinately fond of: Food Hates You, Too and Other Poems.  And look at that cover. You’d need a heart of stone to resist that pup.  I think I’m in love.

  • Over in Britain, Amazon and Hatchett are taking off the gloves for an all out slap-fest.  Behemoth Number One is mad at Behemoth Number Two (and this is a little unclear) "over terms and discounts".  Now Amazon is refusing to sell new Stephen King and James Patterson novels.  It is unclear if this is the case here in America too.  I’m partial to Bookninja’s take on the conflict: "It’s like watching two people you dislike have a fist fight."  Thanks to Bookninja for the link.

  • Who says abecedarian fun is limited to the printed page?  The Baby Animal Alphabet Book is a sure-fire cure to any down and out day.  Here’s an A a B and a C from the site (though there are many more of each letter). 

Thanks to BB-Blog for the link.

  • Speaking of online "baby" content, The Morning News recently published Baby’s First Internet .  The text is by one Kevin Fanning but the pictures are by the wonderful Kean Soo who wrote that magnificent graphic novel Jellaby this year.  Yay, Kean Soo!  Here was my particular fav:

Thanks to Educating Alice for the link.

  • Well, another fairy died today.  Apparently the rumor that Samuel Beckett and Ernie Bushmiller, creator of the comic strip "Nancy", corresponded at length is just that.  A debunked rumor .  Take heart though, fellow travelers.  That rumor you heard that Samuel Beckett used to drive Andre the Giant to school every day?  Absolutely true (as the extras on the Princess Bride DVD will attest).  Thanks to Bookninja for the first link.

  • Generally it is considered bad netequitte to steal images for you blog from another unwary site. Enter a list of 25 Free Stock Photo Sites from Digital Image Magazine.  Now you can usurp a standard photo of fido for your blog without worrying that someone somewhere is gonna get angry. 

  • Daily Image:

When worlds collide.  Bookninja had linked to a lovely little piece about literary tattoos from the Telegraph.  I thought they looked nice enough but the one I really enjoyed was this.

Cool, eh?  Then I see that it is credited to Colleen AF Venable.  Colleen?  Yep.  Sure as shooting everyone’s favorite Programs Associate for the Children’s Book Council is a photographer extraordinaire in her spare time.  Colleen, did you know you were included in a Telegraph piece? 


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. Nice marmots.

  2. Tracie Zimmer says:

    Barb O’Connor’s new GREETINGS FROM NOWHERE has some happy kids from working class backgrounds, actually most of her books show working-class people who aren’t tortured by it. I have long Loved O’Connor’s work and wish more people knew all her books!

  3. Fuse #8 says:

    Good point. She did “How to Steal a Dog” too, yes? That was contemporary as well. And now you’ve just given me yet another reason to read “Greetings from Nowhere”. Oh, to-be-read shelf . . .

  4. Jennifer Schultz says:

    Striped Ice Cream by Joan M. Lexau would be another one. An older book, but one of my favorites from childhood.

  5. Eva Mitnick says:

    Growing up in what was then a gritty community, and living in a stable but decidedly non-conventional one-parent family, I lusted after books that depicted that exotic situation – the two-parent family living in the suburbs! Mom stays home, kids don’t worry about getting beat up after school – luscious escapism!

  6. Adam Rex says:

    I thought I should mention Katy Kelly’s Lucy Rose books, in which both divorced parents are still in the picture, are loving to Lucy, and even friendly with one another. The recent divorce is a major subject in the first few books, but Lucy comes to terms with it gracefully.

  7. Fuse, there are lots of things to like about Sam’s Qwikpick book, but you nailed my very favorite thing of all.

  8. Too bad Sam Riddleburger can’t figure out how to post to this blog. His posts either don’t show up or show up twice. Sad.
    Anyhow, if he could, I’m sure he would say:

    Getting mentioned in the same bullet item with Ramona made my day/month/year! Ramona is the greatest.

  9. Fuse #8 says:

    Aw. Sorry man. The commenting feature is the curse I bear, but you the readers are the ones who suffer. If it’s any comfort, I’m unable to comment on my own blog quite often too. Glad you liked the link.