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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

What Was the First YA Novel?

Telemaque2

Things are ah-brewing and ah-hopping on the child_lit listserv this week!  And though my blog is primarily a conduit through which one learns about children’s book news, I couldn’t help but get utterly fascinated by a discussion of origin.  Particularly, the origin of the YA novel. Fun with semantics!  So what do we mean when […]

Politics and Mainstream Children’s Literature in 2016

Hillary hc c

You may have seen the Guardian article the other day ‘Oh, what a big gun you have': NRA rewrites fairytales to include firearms.  The title pretty much is the whole story, except that these are tales posted on the NRA’s website and not (at this time) actual published books.  I was looking at the post […]

Spotted! Author Visits

DavidWalliams

When I moved to Evanston from New York City I guess I thought my life would calm down a bit.  New York City’s all about the publisher previews, the author events, the crazy dinners for big name authors and illustrators, and it is clearly party central.  And for the most part Evanston is calm.  Quiet.  […]

Newbery / Caldecott 2017: Spring Prediction Edition

IdeasAllAround

What?  Who?  Now?  Yes, if you’re checking the calendar you’ll see that three whole months of 2016 have gone by and you know what that means.  Prediction time! But Betsy, you say, that is quite simply the kookiest thing I’ve ever heard. It’s March, for crying out loud.  We’ve ten months until the next award […]

Children’s Book Week Bookmark Reveal (psst . . . It’s El Deafo related!)

Children's Choice Book Week

Books. Kids.  This is pretty basic stuff.  One should read the other.  Preferably requently.  And I suppose that for some of us there’s a perception that urging children to read is a recent phenomenon.  An outgrowth of the digital age when kids have so many things to distract and entertain them.  Gone are the days […]

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

Ccj6zyDWwAEbo8E

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 […]