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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fusenews: More Addictive Than Facebook

  • Regular once-a-day blogging took yet another blow over its brow when I discovered that new Video Chat option on Gmail.  Oh high heaven above, it’s bizarre.  It’s video phoning, that’s what it is.  The technology that gamers have known about for years but that we everyday plebes had no idea was an option.  I actually managed to have a lovely albeit brief chat with author Sarah Miller, a lovely woman with whom I’d never spoken before.  But speak we did!  So instead of writing a nice little review like I was supposed to, I’ve been in the thrall of technology itself.  Here’s some brief Fusenews to tide you over before I get back on track.

  • Of course the huge story to come out yesterday came to me via my PWdaily newsletter.  PWdaily normally doesn’t interest me much.  It’ll contain stories like Boyden Takes the Giller which I don’t pretend to understand (though it’s kind of a cool title).  But a humdinger of a headline cropped up around 11:29 a.m. yesterday: Cornelia Funke Moves to Little, Brown.  Hubba wah?  Do my eyes deceive me?  How long has this been in the works?  Further news states, "Funke’s first title with Little, Brown will be the novel Reckless, about two modern brothers in a magical 19th century world reminiscent of Grimm’s fairy tales. Reckless is tentatively scheduled for 2010 publication and will be followed by the middle-grade novel The Knight and the Boy."  Jennifer Hunt will be editing Ms. Funke (smart) but no deeper information was forthcoming.

  • The sly dogs of Bowen Press cleverly hid the fact that they have a rather magnificent blog going on until this week.  With the cheeky byline, "Publishing Good Books Well Since 2008" they’ve some nice imprinty elements.  A rotating view of upcoming covers above the blogroll.  Regular updates by three different people.  And on Wednesday there was a photograph of Greg Foley and the 500 autographed books you’ll be able to get your sticky fingers on at ALA Midwinter.  Off you go.  Thanks to Molly O’Neill for spilling the beans.

Over at everyone’s favorite Newbery discussion blog, Sharon McKellar throws down the gauntlet.  Remember when Secret of the Andes got the Newbery medal and Charlotte’s Web was relegated to Honor status (I’m using the word "remember" in its broadest sense)?  Well we’ve all suspected at one time or another that it happened because the librarians were sick and tired of handing gold medals to books populated with all-white casts and wanted something a little more multicultural to win.  But what if that wasn’t the case?  What if Secret of the Andes really was the better book?  There’s only one way to find out and it’s at the heart of McKellar’s challenge.  "Let’s read it.  All of us.  And re-read Charlotte’s Web as well and then we’ll discuss.  Would you, today, choose the same winner that was chosen for the 1953 award?  Without considering popularity, but considering only literary quality as established by the Newbery Criteria, of course."  Details are on her site.  An interesting idea, to say the least.  Some people have already jump-started the conversation.

  • I never thought it would happen, yet it has.  Garfield Minus Garfield, arguably the greatest webcomic of the 21st century (big words, no?) is being turned into a book with the blessing of Jim Davis.  Whatta feller.  If someone informed the world that my creation was more successful when you removed an essential ingredient, I’d probably hit the fan.  Thanks to PW Comics Week for the link.

  • Daily Image:

Today’s choice was a difficult one.  Both images I found came from Swiss Miss and involved the alphabet in some manner.  And while one involved personal style, the other had to do with designing walls.  In the end I decided to go with Option A since we just had a wallpaper-based Daily Image on this blog yesterday.  So instead you get to enjoy the Uppercase Scarf.

Go wild.

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. Thanks for enlightening us on the Bowen Press Blog, it’s awesome! I love to hear the thoughts,ideas and trials of another indie publisher who also sometimes feels enormous responsibility and frustrations that come with the complications that may arise with printing, quality…etc.
    Cool Scarf!!!!!

  2. Sarah Miller says:

    If I blogged on Thursdays (which I don’t) I would totally do an I-video-chatted-with-Betsy-Bird-! post. We will chat again one day. Oh yes we will.

  3. teacherninja says:

    That would actually make a good book. Someone could review the top books by year, showing the Newbery winner and the more deserving winner (if there was one). There was something like that for Oscars as I recall. It would be fun for argument’s sake anyway.

  4. Tech. Dept. says:

    Skype has video chatting, too, and Mac users also have iChat. Video is the new black.

  5. And just to clarify, Bowen Press is an imprint of Harper Collins. Not an independent publisher so much.

  6. Colleen AF Venable says:

    I’m really excited about that Bowen Press blog! I always figured it was only a matter of time before that Molly got into blogging in some form. She’s a great writer and speaker with a lot of interesting ideas, not to mention being darn funny.

    I am so happy video chats are finally breaking into mainstream. I’m a techno geek and have been video chatting for years with horrible pixalted faces, awkward time delays, “Wait…you said I what?” blip confusions. But the technology is finally getting decent and accessible! Think of all the visits authors can do all over the world. Libraries and schools that could never pay for an author, authors that can’t leave their houses…the whole thing leaves me warm and fuzzy.

  7. Colleen (or should I say Genius?) you have hit on something there. Ye gods. You are absolutely correct. What if you combined this Google video chat with white screen technology? Or, on a smaller level, just to a laptop in a classroom? Class visits become instantaneous, reliant only on the technology available. Now let’s get brand new laptops into the lower income schools that can’t afford them and BINGO! Instant author visits to anyone who wants them. Mind… beginning… to boggle…

  8. Joan Holub says:

    I LOVE the idea of video author visits. Every child should have an author-in-the-classroom experience, but for many schools that’s unaffordable. And the logistics of traveling are difficult for many authors. On a slightly different note, it would be great if there were a National Author School Visit Day–a specific day each year when authors drop everything and visit a school to interact with kids. By video or otherwise.

  9. Thanks for outing our blog, Betsy. Now if only we could appear among your publisher blog site links….

    I love the idea of author video visits, too, and will bring up the National Author School Visit Day to the Children’s Book Council Book Week organizers.

  10. I’ll see what I can do but putting you on the blogroll means kicking someone else off. Who to choose, who to choose . . . Hm.

  11. Not so fast says:

    There is/was a citywide visit-a-school day where I live. Run by wonderful people with wonderful ideals. I did it a couple of times and the disappointing truth was that — perhaps because the schools got the visits for free? — the schools did almost nothing to prepare the students. So the visitor went in and the kids didn’t know him/her or his/her books, and very reasonably they didn’t care at all about what the person was saying. Now imagine an hour of that over a webcam.

  12. Excellent point. No use reinventing the wheel here. The publishers/agents/publicity folks organizing such a thing would have to make it perfectly 100% clear how important this author/illustrator was and how the very LEAST a school could do was to read the book. There may be other ways of handling such problems, though. I’d love to hear them.

  13. victoria thorne says:

    E.B., this is one of my favorite posts ever. The chatting brings out the best in you. Delightful. Thanks for the heads up, also, about the Bowen Press blog…you are correct, as usual, King Friday, it is a marvelous.