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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fusenews: Doggone It. Still Have That Potato Salad Song Caught In My Head

All right, all right.  First things first.  I’ve a personal stake, as it were, in bloggers of professional children’s literature-related publications.  Horn Book has its Roger SuttonSLJ has me and a bunch of other folksPW has ShelfTalker.  PBS has Booklights.  And essentially I figured that was that.  End of story.  Unless Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books or Kirkus upped their online presence, that would be all she wrote.  Which means that there was one journal I completely blanked on.  Booklist!  Now Booklist has a children’s literature blog as well.  Called Bookends it’s run by middle-school librarians Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan.  Most interesting.  Good to see them here.

  • Speaking of fellow SLJ blogs, Good Comics for Kids had a nice report on the Eisner Awards (the award given to comics and graphic novels) particularly those bestowed to books for youth.  Amongst my favorite winners was Best Archival Collection/Project—Strips: Little Nemo in Slumberland, Many More Splendid Sundays, by Winsor McCay (Sunday Press Books) and Best Painter/Multimedia Artist:  Jill Thompson, Magic Trixie,  Magic Trixie Sleeps Over (HarperCollins Children’s Books).  Go, Trixie, go go go!

  • The New York Times article Harry Potter is Their Peter Pan dares to equate the Harry Potter fan nostalgia with Brittany Spears and Creed.  It also seems to think that Wizard Rock is a new thing, though, so obviously it’s a little behind the times anyway.  Thanks to Jennifer Hubert Swan for the link.

  • Speaking of HP, I never really considered the life led by folks who would happen to accidentally share his name.  Poor blokes.  Of course, what I really love about this piece is how Maryland-based it is.  It shouldn’t be surprising then that my favorite line in it is, "The Sun said Maryland contains or recently contained many residents who share names with characters from the novels, including at least three men sharing the titular wizard’s name, 16 women named Hermione, 3 men named Sirius, 13 Snapes and 15 Narcissas."  Thanks to bookshelves of doom for the link.

  • I’m enjoying this nice little lull between publishing seasons.  It’s too early to show off Spring 2010 quite yet, so I’m kicking back, working on other things, enjoying my free time before the librarian previews begin in earnest.  Just the same, in case you want to see what’s lurking around the corner, editor Alvina Ling over at Little Brown has a nice little Sneak Peek at Spring 2010 that may pique your interest.  Me?  I’m rooting for anything that involves sharks and trains together in one book.

  • I’m perpetually interested in folks who follow in the footsteps of their authorial or illustratorial (not a word, I know) parents.  Ian Schoenherr follows John Schoenherr.  Thatcher Hurd follows Clement Hurd.  Not sure why it’s often guys following guys, but there you go.  Now I’ve discovered a new pairing.  Author Benjamin James Watson is the son of author/illustrator Richard Jesse Watson.  How do I know?  He tells the harrowing tale of what it was like being his father’s picture book model.  Acorn boats, jail, VANS, oh there are all sorts of sordid details to this story.  And, of course, he has the funniest name for a blog I’ve seen in a long time.

  • Remember that Top 100 Picture Books Poll I did back in April and May?  Those were good times, weren’t they?  Well, I’ll let you in on a little secret.  I fully intend to do a Top 100 Middle Grade Fiction Poll too, when the time is right.  Until then, satiate your desire for books above 32 pages with Book Nut’s recent Final Top 100 MG Books list compiled from reader suggestions.

  • Here is how I reacted to reading this piece about how First Grandmother Marian Robinson read to the kids.

Article: "First Grandmother Marian Robinson selected Audrey and Don Wood’s classic The Napping House (Harcourt, 1984) to read to 200 students from Montgomery County, MD, at the Education Department’s outdoor plaza last week."

Me:  Cool.  Good choice.

Article: "Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who accompanied Robinson, read the Rainbow Fish (North-South, 1999) by Marcus Pfister (translated by J. Alison James,) a story about inclusion."

Me: If by "inclusion" you mean "getting rid of everything that makes you special and unique," then yes, I suppose you are right.  Oh, Secretary Duncan.  Why must you undermine the First Grandmother so?

  • Grace Lin took a recent visit to the adorable Mazza Museum, and she has done a nice little photo blog tour to show it off.  Jealous, I am.  I’ll make it there someday though.  I hope, I hope.

  • "It’s like Clifford meets Nietzsche."  Dang.  There’s a line I’m not going to be able to top anytime soon.  Jules of 7-Imp is, of course, talking about the latest Mac Barnett/Adam Rex collaboration.  In the piece they also discuss a variety of upcoming titles including a picture book that will "make your head bleed rainbows."  Gah!  Stop it, Jules!  Write too many good lines and I’ll just end up burying myself in the sand, too woebegotten to attempt any of my own.

  • Daily Image:

One of the perks that come with being an NYPL librarian is that you get to go to Central Park in the summer to tell stories in front of the statue of Hans Christian Andersen.  I’ve done it almost every year I’ve been here and it’s always a thrill.  You stand there with the little open-mouthed youngsters thinking to yourself, "I’m in Central Park!  Talking!  Doing stuff!  In Central Park!"  Fortunately these little thought bursts are small enough to not interfere with the whole "storytelling" business.

Well recently artist Sam Adoquei took notice.  He recently sent the following message out: "On Saturdays when I am in Central Park painting around Hans Christian Anderson’s sculpture, I often hear the storytellers engaging children with stories by Hans Christian Anderson. This inspired me to paint the picture below. I want to make the image accessible to all those who bring happiness to children."

Then accessible it shall be.  Enjoy, oh you people who bring happiness to children.

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. Ben Watson says:

    Thank you Besty! Nowhere to go but down now. Though I can’t claim to be the only published spawn of my dad’s. My brother Jesse Watson is a taller, dread-locked version of me, and former hot dude of children’s literature to boot.

    It’s hard being as tall as your mother’s… you know.

  2. Melissa (Book Nut) says:

    Thanks for the shout out, Betsy. I’m looking forward to your (real, official, scientific!) top 100 MG list… when the time is right. :)

  3. Jules, 7-Imp says:

    Oh, Adam Rex totally said that the next book will make your “head bleed rainbows,” which also made me laugh outloud. Talking to him usually does. That Adam.

  4. Jennifer Schultz says:

    Publishers Weekly has a spring 2010 sneak preview (go to Tools, then Announcement issues, and click on the Fall 2009 Children’s Announcements….the link to the spring article is there).

  5. Fuse #8 says:

    So Jesse Watson IS related to Benjamin James Watson! And the circle draws tighter and tighter together.

  6. janeyolen says:

    Of course the Garis family of Amherst MA (Uncle Wiggly, Bobbsey Twins etc.) probably takes the cake for family participation in their parents’ writing and illustrating careers. Even the in-laws did it. Probably worth a full Betsy Bird workup, I’d say!

    But the Yolen-Stemple family ain’t bad. I write, of course. My husband David Stemple had one children’s book out and was planning more but died too soon. Daughter Heidi E. Y. Stemple has published a dozen or so books. Ditto son Adam Stemple. And son Jason Stemple is a nature photographer with about a dozen children’s books out, too. And some of the grandkids are starting now.

    Other notable families going down the same road in addition to the ones you have mentioned include: Patricia MacLachlan and daughter Emily, son John; Barry Moser and daughter, son-in-law and grandchild; the Dillons and their son; Virginia Hamilton and Arnold Adoff and their son; Florence Parry Heide and her daughter; Walter Dean Myers and his son;
    Rebecca Kai Dotlich and her daughter (though I’m not sure whether she’s sold a book yet though I knew she’s writing) and I am sure many more. Tip of the iceberg time. Maybe we should make a list!