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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fusenews: Channeling My Oddness

forbes-logoLet’s do a Fusenews today that’s in an extra-quick crunchy fast style! To wit:

My happy news of the week was that there was a nice little article in Forbes about me.  I could contest their use of the world "powerful" in the subtitle (I can’t even successfully open a jar of anchovies, after all) but the rest of it was very nice indeed!  A big thank you to Dan Blank for drawing the magazine’s attention in the first place.

  • The Slate article that compares children’s biographies of Presidents to those for adults could be mighty damning were it not for the fact that most of their examples are much older titles.  The two notable exceptions are a George W. Bush biography and Yes We Can: A Biography of Barack Obama by Galen Thomas.  I’ve been increasingly impressed in the last few years by how a lot of children’s biographies have found ways to portray their subjects as complex human beings.  So to see a piece that lumps children’s bios, old and new, together and makes them all seem the same, kind of chaps my hide. Ah well.  It’s not as if they don’t make some excellent points.  Thanks to John Peters for the link.

  • Claire Gross of The Horn Book considers the Percy Jackson film and finds it a bit lacking.  Sounds like a royal mess.  She makes some great points that are well worth considering when your kids ah-bug you to see it too.  Your necessary reading of the day then.

  • And now, for those of you desiring to pluck out thine own eyes, from Cynopsis Kids:

"Tori Spelling first kid’s book, Presenting  … Tallulah , will be published by Aladdin , which is an imprint of Simon & Schuster, on September 21, 2010.  Loosely based on Spelling’s childhood experiences Presenting … Tallulah revolves around a young girl who is trying to figure out who she is and move away from all the people telling her what she can’t or shouldn’t do.  The book features illustrations by Vanessa Brantley Newton. While this is Spelling’s first book for kids, she has previously penned two adult books (Mommywood , sTORI ), with the third, tentatively titled uncharted terriTORI , will be published in June 2010."

  • Getting kids to read is hard enough for librarians.  Actually sitting down and teaching it to them like teachers do?  All the more reason to read the New York Times‘ question What Are Your Favorite and Least Favorite Books to Teach?  Think of so of it as the anti-Best 100 Children’s Novels List (though the titles definitely overlap).  Thanks to Educating Alice for the link.

  • This may be off-topic but it’s still awesome.  Elliott Kalan, brilliant comedian and writer for The Daily Show, has done a great piece for Popular Mechanics on the 70th anniversary of the closing of the 1939 World’s Fair.  A remarkable article, with some fantastic commentary.  Just figured you’d be interested.

  • See, the thing I love about Colleen Mondor (don’t you love walking into my conversations part way?) is that she isn’t afraid to ask the hard questions.  Questions, quite frankly, that other people should really be asking.  So when she wrote the piece Questioning Claudette about things the rest of us should have been asking all along, I applaud her.  Claudette Colvin: Twice Towards Justice by Philip Hoose won a Newbery Honor this year and is maybe one of the most brilliant biographies I’ve seen.  All the stranger that I’m only considering the questions Colleen brings up now.

  • Daily Image:

I think we need a blog that is the opposite of Cake Wreaks and focuses entirely on the world of children’s literature.  Roger Sutton posted this image on his blog the other day.


It reads "TERRIFIC BABY".  Shoot, I’ll have a baby if it means I get some cake!  Thanks to Read Roger 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. Cake Wrecks posts pictures of well-done cakes on Sundays, as a change. One day their theme was children’s literature: (I wanted to do the full link but your comments don’t accept h t m l code? but cut and paste it)
    (I have to agree that I love Moishe’s nose)

    Susan from Booklights saw that and was inspired to amass more kidlit cake pictures:

  2. Congratulation on the Forbes article. They’ve finally caught up :)
    Please remember to only use your superpowers for the good ๐Ÿ˜‰

  3. Karen Cushman says:

    Re the Forbes article: good for you but kidlit??? They call it kidlit? I shall call Forbes shopping news.

  4. Love the Forbes article, Betsy! Good for you!

    Yes, the Slate article was one-sided but I also do think they point out some important trends, most notably the apparent need to shed more of everything in a more positive light. I especially loved that George Bush comparison. I wonder if anyone has done a good biography of a really awful President (James Buchannan: “at least he always wanted to do a good job”) or perhaps a relatively unnoteworthy one (Rutherford Hayes: (“altogether, he certainly never messed up”). Altogether, they seem to be concentrating on very simple books, though, which tend to not only be for younger children and therefore not only necessarily more “positive” but less “complex” and more “simplistic” in both language, research, and characterization.

  5. brenda Ferber says:

    Congrats on the fantastic Forbes article!

  6. Thanks for the kind words, Betsy. Much appreciated.

    As for that news on Tori Spelling, well, that’s just so wrong. So so so so WRONG! (Pam may need to start a whole new sub category of wrongness in the Celeb kid book writing for that one!)

  7. Karen Gray Ruelle says:

    Congrats, Betsy, on the great Forbes article, oh you Powerful One!

  8. Congrats on Forbes! I am jealous in the good way.

    Tori: I like her. The quotes in the press releases about this are pretty good: none of that “there are no good books,” but rather she was inspired by the books she does read to her kids.

  9. Oh! And re biographies for kids. I once found a Nixon one, from the start of his presidency, about what a honest man he was. Good Times.

    While I wish Slate had used in print books, what a reminder to weed our shelves and that “it’s the only book I have on x” or “i need it for the month everyone does biographies” is no excuse.

  10. True. And Karen it never occurred to me at the time to nix the “kidlit” term. Didn’t know he was going to use it. Something to remember for next time, anyway.

  11. Carl in Charlotte says:

    Yes, indeed, many congratualtions! The Frobes article confirms what we already knew. My childrens’ book universe expanded when I started reading your blog. Still does.

  12. Bridget Heos says:

    Great article in Forbes! I started reading this blog when I came across the 100 best picture books. It was a great summer reading list for my sons and me. I’ve been hooked on Fuse #8 ever since. I never knew where you got the name, but it makes sense. Everybody should name their blogs after their car woes!