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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fusenews: I Wah-Wah-Wah-Wah-Wanna

  • Keeping the Newbery out of the news seems to be more difficult that keeping it in it.  A recent article in Bloomberg news called Blacks, Hispanics Are Rare Heroes with Newbery Kids Books Medal (as opposed to Newbery adult books medal, of course) wonders if the Newbery gives away too many awards to characters who are more, "white, male and come from two-parent households than the average U.S. child, according to a Brigham Young University study."  Roger Sutton points out that, "We still are a largely white world in children’s literature and it’s always an uphill struggle," which is another way of saying that there are few books out there starring kids who aren’t white.  But I thought Wendy, a commenter on his blog, had a rather good point or two as well. " . . . the article makes it sound like the majority of Newbery books are about white children with two parents. Actually, protagonists like that are rare among Newbery winners–under-represented, if one is going to use that term. When the journalist cites the statistic about how few of the protagonists are from one-parent families, she ignores the number that are orphans, usually living with other family members.  In the past ten years, there have been two Asian / Asian American protagonists. Why not talk about how well the Newbery is doing there?"  Perhaps because saying how well a big fancy award does things does not sound as good in print.  I would also point out that the writer appears to be ignoring the Honor books, which is never a good idea.  Thanks to Read Roger for the link. UPDATE: For a thorough look at this article and its multiple flaws, head on over to Tea Cozy for the post All A-Twitter About Newbery Diversity.

  • This I want to do.  I want to do this.  I want to be able to do this.  This I want to do.

  • Alison over at ShelfTalker encourages her readers to come up with literature inspired cereals.  Some of my favorites mentioned thus far:

From Alison – Bran of Green Gables and O Cap’n My Cap’n Crunch 
From Boni Ashburn – The Higher Power of Lucky Charms (plain or with newberries)
EM – Honey Bunches of Oat-is Spofford

A fellow says about his blog Toy-a-Day, "This is a year-long project whereby I will try to design, construct and post a new paper toy from a basic template each day for one year. So there’ll be 365 toys at the end of the 365th day."  Fair enough.  The nice thing is that he also posts the templates of his little paper toys for easy downloads.  So if you happened to be doing a Where the Wild Things Are program, for example, this would be ideal.  Thanks to Children’s Illustration for the link.

  • The children’s literary blogosphere is still young enough that dying blogs are the exception rather than the rule.  Sadly one of the early staples has fallen by the wayside.  Disco Mermaids was a great little three-person blog, before its creators went and became actual honest-to-goodness published authors.  Now they are big time, big stuff, and the blog is discontinued to float unupdated forevermore.  Sad sad.  Thanks to Jen Robinson for the news.

  • Saturday’s Only in New York Moment:

Only in New York can a children’s performer named Bob Bob-a-Loo get interrupted in his stories and songs in a storytime by a hundred million billion protesters outside on 42nd Street protesting the bombing in Gaza.  Cool.

  • Wagging Tales features a beautiful writing shed.  I want a writing shed.  This appears to be a year of wants on my end.

  • Yet another reminder to check out Chicken Spaghetti’s round-up all of the best books lists out there.  The Best of the Best covers every list from the Christian Science Monitor to the LA Times.  A boon to everyone who wants to see what people are ah-luvin’.

  • Daily Image:

A Flickr group of people who reenact Far Side comics.  Example by entitee:

Nuff said.  Thanks to BoingBoing for the link.

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. The Newbery study: I posted at Tea Cozy about the flawed reporting on the study as well as the flaws in the study. I also got access to the tables for the study, and there are errors in the data. So, much ado about not much.

  2. Durn! I should’ve linked to your findings. I’ll try to adapt the post to mention that.

  3. Monica Edinger says:

    Kathy Odean also took a close look at the original study and has found a number of errors. She has created a spreadsheet of her own and I hope to post it on my blog when she is ready.

  4. janeyolen says:

    Yeah–one of the errors: putting the main character in Desperaux in the Diversity column. Well, he is a mouse, though whether than makes him Af-Am, NA, Latino, Asian, or white is hard to tell.

    She wondered, after a close reading of the study, if the guy had actually read the books.

  5. Anonymous in NYC says:

    If we do take the survey at partial value, I think that a criticism about a lack of diversity should be primarily addressed to the publishing industry. You cannot give awards to books that do not exist yet. It seems silly to address problems of representation to an award committee that gives out one award per year as opposed to an industry that publishes tens of thousands of books per year and has much much much more financial backing at its disposal.