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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fusenews: Info Bender

I’ll begin with being embarrassed.  I don’t know how I stayed mute about this before.  I’m going to blame my lack of Fusenews.  But basically, somehow I failed to mention to you guys that there is a FABULOUS children’s literary blog out there and it’s on PBS.  Yes!  At last I am not alone in the world.  My fellow bloggers Jen Robinson, Pam Coughlan, and Susan Kusel have come together to create Booklights.  It is a natural fit for their talents and a lovely layout as well.  Add it to Ye Olde Blogroll when you’ve a chance.  I certainly will.

  • Do you remember the other day when I was recapping the upcoming Simon & Schuster Summer 2009 season and I mentioned that a book was coming out that followed the adventures of young William Shakespeare?  Here’s what I wrote: "Here’s a fun idea: Young Shakespeare.  In Wicked Will by Bailey MacDonald, young Shakespeare befriends a girl named Viola who is dressed as a boy and they solve a mystery . . . Granted, the name Viola probably could have been changed to Rosalind, but I still like the idea of a young historical figure solving mysteries.  Possible Ideas for Future Books: (1) Young Poe and his partner in crime Lenore solve a mystery in a graveyard."  Well I swear to you here and now that I didn’t know that this next item was going to be announced PW Children’s Bookshelf until I saw it with my own eyes:

Tim Travaglini at Putnam Books for Young Readers acquired North American rights to Michael P. Spradlin’s Raven’s Shadow . The novel, which is set in Washington, D.C., after the 1824 election, pits teenagers Abraham Lincoln, Charles Darwin and Edgar Allan Poe against a mysterious monster that will become known as Dracula. Spradlin, author of the Youngest Templar trilogy, is a sales manager at HarperCollins. Putnam will pub in fall 2011; Steven Chudney of the Chudney Agency was the agent.

I’m giving Spradlin points for having the sheer audacity to go there.  We all say we’re going to turn Abraham Lincoln into a superhero or something, but how often does that kind of thing get published?  I mean, if I walked into Penguin and said "Charles Darwin versus Dracula" they would have laughed me out of the room.  So I tip my hat, envisioning it as something akin to The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen for the underaged set.

  • Dear Unshelved, I liked this.  Please have Mr. Gownley come back so that he might do it often.  Failing that, Mr. Gownley, could you recommend something on my site?  Pretty please?  Thanks to bookshelves of doom for the link.

  • BEA happens to fall on the weekend when my in-laws will be coming to visit from out of town (Kidlit Drink Night will be for Friday, FYI).  That means that my trolling for galleys will have to be limited to a single day: Thursday after Day of Dialog.  However, Publishers Weekly decided to make my life a little easier when they came out with their list of Children’s Galleys to Grab at the convention.  Not coming to Book Expo?  I suspect a couple of these might still be around when we all head to Chicago for the ALA Conference there.  Thanks to PW Children’s Bookshelf for the link.

  • I’m trying to keep tabs on the publishing industry peeps that have flitted into the distance that to the current economic meltdown.  Take Sondra Santos LaBrie.  She was my Kane/Miller marketing contact for quite some time and I miss her.  Fortunately I just found out that she’s behind the website Happy Healthy Hip Parenting.  She even has a parenting blog.  Good to know.  Thanks to William Waldman for the link.  

  • For that matter, I somehow completely missed that Harper Collins editor Molly O’Neill had a blog too.  It’s called 10 Block Walk.  You can tell she’s a children’s book editor.  A title like that would work beautifully as a picture book, don’t you think?

  • I think my friend Dan is bored.  Here are the last two status updates that have been listed on his Gmail account:    "Brad Pitt IS Little Jack Horner IN Pie Games" and "Natalie Portman IS Old Mother Hubbard IN A Lack of the Bones." 

I would see those films.

  • You ever held one of those stuffed pigeons from Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus in your hands?  I was looking at one at the Bank Street Bookstore the other day and admiring how somehow Mo got his own voice to be in it.  Yet I never really noticed the supplicating look about that stuffed animal’s eyes.  It wasn’t until I watched this amusing podcast/video from the first graders of Parkview Elementary that I saw the charm.  These kids have created their own pigeon story: Don’t Let the Pigeon Be the Principal.  Darn cute.  Apparently the kids brainstormed what the pigeon would say, and then one of them did his voice.  Liked the note about one teacher’s 29th birthday . . . again.  Many thanks to Kristi Hazelrigg for the link.  NOTE: To get this to play, click on the pigeon’s head.  Took me a while to figure that one out myself.

  • So five children’s laureates walk into a bar . . . . no, wait.  Scratch that.  Let’s try again. 

  • So five children’s laureates are asked what their seven favorite children’s books are by The Guardian.  They comply, and here’s what I found rather cute; there’s just the teensiest bit of overlap.  What I mean to say is that Michael Rosen makes one of his picks a Quentin Blake title.  Aw.  Now I’m off to make sure we have all of these on my shelves.  I mean, I know that these folks are British and some of these might be a touch obscure over here, but a good book’s a good book!  Thanks to bookshelves of doom for the link.

  • Y’all know I’m moving to California one of these days here, right?  And by "days" I mean "months".  No rush, no bother.  But it does mean that I’m keeping one roving eye on that long soon-to-become-an-island-in-the-Pacific-after-the-earthquake state.  Now recently the California Book Awards were announced.  I wouldn’t normally notice such things, were it not for the fact that the Young Adult and Juvenile category winners were particularly good.  Note if you will:

California Book Awards

Young Adult

White Sands, Red Menace        [Gold]

By: Ellen Klages 


We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball     [Gold]

By: Kadir Nelson


  • Has anyone else been inclined to start speaking in pirate speak since Facebook installed that Pirate language option?  Well avast ye, me hearties!  Yonder blog tour be fast approaching.  Arggh!  She be filled with bountiful booty. . . . and the metaphor falls apart.  In my usual normal convoluted tongue I will instead tell you that there is a blog tour coming up in conjunction with Michael Hemphill and Sam Riddleburger’s Stonewall Hinkleman and the Battle of Bull Run.  Visit just one of the blog tour sites and you’ll be in the running for fabulous prizes, including Danny Dragonbreath (which I’m enjoying right now and which opens with some pirate speak of its own . . . arrr!).

  • Daily Image:

Doesn’t look like much on a first glance.

Just some books on a shelf.  Except that artist Victoria Reichelt doesn’t take pictures of books.  She makes paintings of them.  What we have here is just a dollop of photo realism.  Says Ms. Reichelt, "These works are a paradox to paint – as once the books are an image on canvas, they are shut forever and can never be read. In a painting, they serve a very different purpose from their intended function – they are purely objects like the others I paint and you’re forced to judge them by the covers."  You can see more of the paintings (and a more in-depth explanation) here.  Thanks to Bookninja 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. Jennifer Schultz says:

    Good luck with your move. Where in CA (if you can say)?

  2. david e says:

    wait… what?! moving to CA? old stomping grounds for me, both southern (childhood) and northern (adult). you’ll never have to deal with snow, and the earthquakes are truly nothing to worry about. the size of earthquake it would take to send CA in to the sea would be a tectonic event so large it would be felt the world over and we’d probably all end up living in a susan beth pfeffer novel.

  3. Fuse #8 says:

    Probably the L.A. portion, actually. Potentially by the end of this year. Under different circumstances I would be leaving New York right about now anyway but something came up. In any case, when I was a kid I was baffled as to why people lived in California. Earthquakes? Yeah, no thank you (though, like my husband, I was convinced that the real danger of any earthquake was falling into the cracks that opened up in the earth). Please bear in mind that I grew up in Kalamazoo where, when I was two, a tornado ran helter skelter through the center of town. So it’s not like I had a natural disaster-free life. Now I’ll get to experience shaky shaky land for myself. Interesting.

  4. WendieO says:

    Funny thing about California earthquakes. I was just standing there at the SCBWI-LA National gathering when, all of a sudden, I lost my balance, tottering back and forth. After my little dance, I looked up and said, ”

  5. WendieO says:

    Did you feel that? The rest of them just sat there and said, nope. I forgot that SLJ cuts comments off at the quotes, sorry. I guess that if you are a Californian, an earthquake has to be strong enough to cause things to fall off the shelves before you notice. Enjoy living in La-La land. -wendieO

  6. Jen Robinson says:

    Thanks for the Booklights plug, Bets! It is much appreciated.

    And can I suggest that if you’re moving to CA anyway, northern CA is a nice place to be, too. Just saying… Though we did have a tiny earthquake last night.

  7. Jennifer Stanton Chapman says:

    Go to the Cerritos Public library when you hit Los Angeles. It’s the library of my childhood.

  8. tanita says:

    Abe Lincoln v. Dracula??? For serious? Okay, I love that. Why do I love that???

    You will adorn my home state, I am sure of it. And really — earthquakes… It was probably a big truck. Honest. You’ll know when an earthquake comes. It’ll be in the paper. You will have slept through it. Or been on the road. Or missed it altogether… trust me …

  9. Kristi Hazelrigg says:

    I was so excited to see our school on your blog this morning–I’m glad you liked our Pigeon podcast! Thanks so much for passing the word about it!

    FYI,we’ve finally posted it on YouTube, as well. Thanks again!

  10. If anyone is interested I just interviewed Senior Editor, Timothy Travaglini on my blog called “Mermaids on Parade”. I cannot give you the addy because this website will not allow it in the comments. Google Melanie Hope Greenberg to go there.