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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Children’s Literary Salon: Ethics in Nonfiction

Ethics in Nonfiction

You know what the kids today are into?  Ethics.  Specifically, ethics in nonfiction.  Could anything be more fun?  Actually, no.  At least, not the way I play it. As you may know I’ve started my Children’s Literary Salon series here in Evanston, IL and as luck would have it there are a slew of talented […]

Cover Reveal: Welcome to Wonderland by Chris Grabenstein

Welcome to Wonderland

Okay, a little background before we launch into this one.  Before Chris Grabenstein wrote Mr. Lemoncello’s Library (a book for which he is justifiably famous) he wrote a whole heaping helpful of other books.  For decades.  Seriously, the man has paid his dues.  Now he has a new book out with absolutely zip, zero, zilch […]

Building the Perfect Nonfiction Blog/Site

Recently I taught a course at National Louis University on social media as it pertains to various aspects of literature for kids and teens (I believe the official name of the course was “Social Media and P-12 Youth Literature”).  Never having taught before, I was a bit nervous.  Fortunately my students, a group of savvy […]

Smell No Evil

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There’s gold in them thar book sales! So I’m at the Evanston Public Library in their booksale room and lo and behold this beauty jumps out at me. Putting aside the fact that this is without a doubt the first and only Sesame Street book that repeats the word “evil” in its title, it took […]

The Promise of Booger Beard: The Rights of Diverse Silliness

BoogerBeard

Last year this book came out: It’s pretty much just as gross as you might expect.  Boy sneezes.  The sneeze congeals into a massive beard o’ boogers.  The boy is enraptured with his newfound facial “hair”, though his mom tells him to remove it before he eats.  He’s disinclined.  It was sort of a graphic […]

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 […]