Follow This Blog: RSS feed
A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fusenews: Literary Japery

Last week I was shelving something in the biography section when I saw that we owned a whole mess of Tiger Woods bios for kids.  It gave me pause, but I didn’t do anything about it.  Then Peter over at Collecting Children’s Books has to go and come up with a whole BUNCH of bios for kids of famous folks fallen from grace.  *sigh*  I’ll say this much.  We do not have an O.J. Simpson biography on our shelves.  Maybe in our reference section, though.

If you were under the impression that the Top 100 Children’s Novels Poll statistical reports were over and done with, you were entirely mistaken, my little friend.  As you may recall, over at Casa Camisas, Brooke wrote that “My husband, the statistics fanatic, noticed how books published in the last ten years were getting a disproportionate amount of attention.  So he created an algorithm that would weight the books’ poll scores according to age. The older a book was, the more value its votes would have.”  He did a preliminary calculation early on that was interesting, but when I released every book that even got a vote he was all over that like white on rice. The result is an all new Top 100 list with titles that had never made it before while others are gone altogether.  And as Brooke herself says of this list, “as a certified children’s librarian, I can say with confidence that if you were to read all of these books, you’d get a very strong foundation in becoming a children’s literature expert.”  I, suffice it to say, have not.

  • Speaking of the list, the Recorded Books K-12 Blog has started a Top Children’s Audiobooks Poll of their very own.  They want to know what your top 20 audiobooks of children’s literature are.  Special bonus: “Everyone who sends in a list of nominations will be entered to win a the grand prize: a set of 10 audiobooks from the top 20!”  Those of you with libraries lacking in great audiobooks, here’s your chance to apply for a whole bunch o’ them.  All it takes is a vote.

  • Author Marc Nobleman recalls what he calls every writer’s nightmare.  Bonus: It’s Simpsons related.  Man, can I relate.  Imagine writing something freelance and then finding that another magazine you work for on occasion does the exact same idea.  Part Two goes into even more detail.

  • As you may have heard, I’m currently writing a book with Jules from Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast and Peter from Collecting Children’s Books.  They are brilliant.  I am lucky.  The book is about the true stories behind children’s books all collected into one great big exciting series of tales.  We get these stories all kinds of places.  Wilson Swain, for example, turned me onto the fact that recently Ms. Stacy Conradt has been doing all kinds of fun looks at children’s books and series over at Mental Floss.  Some of her best have included The Scrumdidlyumptious Roald Dahl, which included some facts I did not know until now.  Cheers, Stacy.

  • For a couple months there I created a little podcast of my own about children’s literature on my old blog site.  It was fun but, to be perfectly frank, exhausting.  I couldn’t keep it up.  This was too bad since I had bought cool equipment and learned the basics when it comes to recording something in Garage Band, sending it to iTunes, and converting it to MP3 files.  That knowledge is not all for naught, however.  Author Katie Davis makes use of my dulcet/reedy tones by including one of my book recommendations at the end of her radio show Brain Burps About Books.  It’s internet radio and alongside Katie’s show you get me talking about the newest books that make me excited, one per show.  This week’s comes in at 29:18 in the show and it’s Kate Milford’s The Boneshaker (print review to come very soon).  It’s my best David Eddlestein imitation.  I also like that Kate mentions Travis Jonker of 100 Scope Notes on this show.  Man deserves his props.

  • Rumor has it that there are festivals lauding children’s literature that are held in cities other than NYC.  I know, crazy right?  In fact, if you get James Preller in the right mood he’ll tell you a remarkable tale of a mythical place called the Hudson Children’s Book Festival where authors and illustrators cavort for a single midsummer day then disappear with the mist.  Skeptic that I am, I’d have to see this to believe it.  100+ big name children’s book creators in one place at one time and it’s NOT an ALA Conference.  You’re just pulling my leg at this point right, James?  Right?

  • One of Monica Edinger’s students has written a nursery version of The Golden Compass.  Now that’s the kind of creativity adults would crave to have and it’s coming from a fourth grader!  Well done, young madam.  You have a future in literary japery.

  • We haven’t had some good Cynopsis Kids news in a while.  Berkeley Breathed single-handedly changes all of that (dude, that is ONE celebrity that I would actually love to meet):

Technicolor jumps into the world of original content with the formation of a team to develop and produce original kid-targeted animated programming content.  And with that the company has acquired its first literary property, Pete & Pickles, about an unlikely friendship of mismatched characters, by Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist Berkeley Breathed (Bloom County).  Joining the company are Jean MacCurdy and Fonda Snyder, who will team with Steven Wendland VP/Digital Productions, Technicolor, to manage the new group and lead the new initiative.  MacCurdy was formerly President, Warner Bros. Animation, and Snyder was co-founder and former President, Storyopolis Productions.  Wendland, who joined Technicolor in 2008, previously toiled for a decade at Mainframe Entertainment.  Technicolor’s animation studio, Paprikaas, is based in Bangalore, India.”

  • Award news time!  Two, in fact.  First up, the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway shortlists were released in Britain recently.  These included:


Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

The Vanishing of Katharina Linden by Helen Grant

Rowan the Strange by Julie Hearn

The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness

Nation by Terry Pratchett

Fever Crumb by Philip Reeve

Revolver by Marcus Sedgwick

I was cheated out of Anderson getting a Newbery for Chains (I take these things very personally, as you can see).  Let’s see her finally beat Gaiman once and for all (Neil I love you, baby, but spread the love a little)!

Kate Greenaway

Leon and the Place Between by Angela McAllister, illustrated by Grahame Baker-Smith

Harry & Hopper by Freya Blackwood

The Great Paper Caper by Oliver Jeffers

Millie’s Marvellous Hat by Satoshi Kitamura

Crazy Hair by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Dave McKean

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Chris Riddell

Dunderheads by Paul Fleischman, illustrated David Roberts

There Are Cats in This Book by Viviane Schwartz

I’m kinda hoping that Schwartz wins this one.  That’s one darn cute book there.  Just sayin’.

  • On the local side of the equation, the shortlists for the E.B. White Read-Aloud Awards were announced. Behold!

2010 E.B. White Read-Aloud Award for Picture Books:

14 Cows for America by Carmen Agra Deedy, illustrated by Thomas Gonzalez

Once Upon a Twice by Denise Doyen, illustrated by Barry Moser

Princess Hyacinth (the Surprising Tale of a Girl Who Floated) by Florence Heide Parry, illustrated by Lane Smith

The Curious Garden by Peter Brown

2010 E.B. White Read-Aloud Award for Older Readers:

Leaving the Bellweathers by Kristin Clark Venuti

Tumtum and Nutmeg: Adventures Beyond Nutmouse Hall by Emily Bearn, illustrated by Nick Price

The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z. by Kate Messner

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin

  • Daily Image:

It’s a necklace.  Though perhaps you would prefer one of the jelly donuts instead.

Sort of want a lot.  Thanks to Swiss Miss 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. I entered the recorded books poll and sent them the same #1 that I sent in for your poll: Lizard Music, read by the author Daniel Pinkwater.

  2. Chris in NY says:

    Yes- the Hudson book festival is HUGE. Of course it is paid for using school funding in a district that is laying off teachers but politics aside, it is quite exciting. You should come! (Kinderhook is nearby.)

  3. I couldn’t agree more about THERE ARE CATS IN THIS BOOK — that’s one book that didn’t get its just desserts when it was published! And I read in the Candlewick catalog that there’s a sequel coming soon — Yay!!!

  4. Thanks for the heads up on yet another poll. I’m a huge audio book girl and will shortly be making my list. Jack Gantos reading his own Joey Pigza will be high up there.

    I have my own salacious sports bio story. I opened this library in the fall of 2007. The previous June I sat down with my non-fiction vendor and we went Dewey number by Dewey number creating a collection from scratch. When it came to sports bios, I asked for her help as my knowledge was deficient. She clued me into the big sellers of the moment. August rolls around and the boxes roll in. My vendor stops by to help me unpack and assures me that if I have a Michal Vick book she will be happy to replace it. I tell her that there in no way I would have bought such a heinous object. But I had. I’m sure if you were to go back and check the news streams from that summer you would find the breaking story that inserted itself between my order and delivery date. She replaced the book, but I do have a Michael Vick bio in my back room if anyone is interested. I also have a couple Tigers to go along with it.

  5. Mental Floss has a whole new column dedicated to libraries! It comes out every Wednesday, so look for it tomorrow.

  6. Brooke Shirts says:

    Woot. Thanks for the shout-out, Betsy! My husband will be excited. :-)

  7. Monica Edingers Student says:

    Dear Ms. Bird,
    Thank you so so much for linking to my blog. I am so inspired by your work, your reviews are spectacular, phenomenal, and intellectual.
    Thanks again!

  8. good job. fabulous! (.)

  9. Recorded Books says:

    Thanks so much for the shout-out to our poll! We were inspired by yours and are getting some great recommendations. Interestingly, not a whole lot of consensus yet except for on a few titles. Keep em coming!