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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Jolts of Children’s Literature in Unexpected Places

Murder42ndStreet

This is one of those series I like to do, regardless of whether or not anyone else finds it interesting. So, in effect, it’s the most self-indulgent of my postings.  Still, I think these books say something about how children’s literature is viewed by mainstream culture.  And in that there is a benefit. Onward! I […]

Should Authors and Illustrators Be Allowed to Collaborate?

harry-and-horsie

This past Saturday I held a Children’s Literary Salon here in Evanston on the topic of writing children’s books, common mistakes made by newcomers, where to go for advice, etc. (you can view the talk in its entirety here).  At one point I asked my panel to say one piece of advice they might offer […]

Caption Contest: What Is Betsy Thinking?

SeriousBetsy

This photo was shot at the Social Media Institute hosted two weeks ago at National Louis University in partnership with the Center for Teaching Through Children’s Books and SCBWI.  It shows me sitting between the illustrious Mike Lewis (he of the oddly fuzzy tie) and the incomparable Colby Sharp. So the question before you is […]

Cover Reveal: The Great Shelby Holmes by Elizabeth Eulberg

GreatShelbyHolmes

You know where I lived for eleven years of my New York City life?  Harlem. You know where no one, aside from Walter Dean Myers, ever sets a middle grade novel?  Harlem.  Greenwich Village, Brooklyn, even Queens get more love than Harlem in books for 9-12 year olds.  So you might understand why I’m happy […]

Out-of-Print Diversity

LavenderGreen

There is a perception that we’re all very sophisticated and educated these days, as opposed to the past.  That older books for children have a tendency to be racist or contain outdated ideas. Not so. In my *does the math* thirteen years as a children’s librarian I’ve discovered that you can find some real gems […]

Cover Reveal: What a Beautiful Morning by Arthur A. Levine

KidsLogoORIGINALFILE

It’s a cloudy February here in Illinois.  Yesterday the heavens opened up and let loose a downpour.  Today it is wet if not actively raining.  We are in the thick of winter, albeit an oddly warm one.  With all this in mind, I think we need some cheering up. Now a friend recently pointed out […]

Ten Things You (Probably) Didn’t Know About First Second

FirstSecond

So First Second comes to me and says it’s their 10th anniversary. Happy anniversary, sez I. They ask if I want to participate in the celebration by doing so kind of a post. My mind is a bit blank but I give it a think. Then I came up with the idea of the following […]

African-American Experience Children’s Literary Reference Guide (2011-2016)

Underground

There were a couple things I left undone when I took my leave of NYPL. Of them, the one I probably regret the most is that I didn’t devote more energy towards getting NYPL’s landmark Black Experience in Children’s Literature list up and running.  This historic list, started as early as the 1940s and possibly […]

Fashions That Jar: Children’s Book Characters Stuck in the 80s

Babysitters2

Boomers, I have a question for you. As a child of the 80s who by that very definition is neither Generation X nor Millennial, I have a very complex relationship with the fashions of my youth. When you grow up in an era where hot pink and black are a desirable color combination and ponytails […]

Slightly More Recent Books on Slavery for Young People

FreedomCongo

On January 19th, Claire Fallon, a Books and Culture Writer at The Huffington Post, wrote an article called 13 Honest Books About Slavery Young People Should Actually Read. The piece was a response to the news about Scholastic pulling the publication of A Birthday Cake for George Washington and got shared hither and thither and […]

I Tumbled, I Tweeted, I Taught: Critical Engagement Through Social Media

CTCB

Look at the internet today. Things are happening online right now that would have been inconceivable even five years ago.  With that in mind I have to say I can think of few topics more timely than the ones that will be raised at the upcoming Social Media Institute here in Illinois. Oh?  What’s that?  […]

Jolts of Children’s Literature in Unexpected Places

WellMadeBed

Okay!  We start out today with a whole range of adult titles, either coming out in the future or newly published, that contain some children’s book reference or inclusion.  And for a beginning let us examine a whole slew of books where the very idea of what a children’s author is serves as the inspiration […]

Conversations on Martin Luther King Jr. Day: Cake, Slavery, and an Unprecedented Pull

BirthdayCakeWashington

I think it was four or five months ago when I first saw A BIRTHDAY CAKE FOR GEORGE WASHINGTON on Edelweiss.  It was pretty much the final edition, though it could have been lacking some of the eventual backmatter.  No matter.  I have to admit my jaw was a bit on the floor.  This was […]

Thoughts on the Recent Spate of Awards

Screen Shot 2016-01-14 at 11.36.38 PM

I’ve been privy to lots of interesting conversations about our most recent ALA winners this week.  And since it’s Friday and we’re all now able to step back and take into account what all just happened, here is a quick summary of some of the discussions, topics, and random facts surrounding the Youth Media Awards […]

Most Classics Are Better With Robots

robot_blog

Last night I had a lot of fun speaking at The Bookstall in Winnetka about the trends of 2015, 2016, and all the 2016 books I was excited about.  Afterwards a bunch of us sat down for dinner and drinks and the conversation turned, as is natural, to robots.  I had mentioned in my talk […]