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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fusenews: It’s a mouse. It’s a monkey. It’s a blue footed booby.

  • So I’m at a lovely picture book author’s event the other night at Sharlene’s (note the shameless plug for my friend’s bar) and while talking to some industry folks I hear a rumor I’d previously been unaware of.  “Did you know that they’re thinking of merging the ALA and BEA conferences?”  Uh . . . say what now?  Yes, apparently you can’t learn everything there is to know about the world of publishing by glancing at your Twitter feed once a day.  Trolling the web, I found the rumor to be mentioned in a Library Journal piece called, appropriately, ALA Annual Conference to Merge with BEA Show? At this moment everything boils down to “don’t nobody know nothing”.  Someone asked how I personally would feel about such a merge and it’s difficult to say.  My personal goal in life is to bring all aspects of children’s literature together into one big happy family.  So if the booksellers and the librarians can become friendlier, this is a good thing.  On the other hand, the greedy side of me would be disappointed not to have BEA closer to home (it makes galley grabbing a more active sport).  But that’s a minor/very greedy quibble.  I wonder how other folks feel about the matter.
  • Speaking of my personal goal to merge us all into one happy ball o’ fun (I need to find a more eloquent way of putting that) Jules Danielson, fellow blogger and one third of my book writing team, has taken a giant leap forward in the world of children’s literature blogging.  Blogging is essentially a solitary activity.  You stare at a little screen for long periods of time.  Where’s the connection?  Well Jules wrote me this little note recently and I could NOT be more delighted:
I know you posted recently about Cristiana Clerci’s The Tea Box — over in Italy. This is that amazing blogger who posts about international picture books — in French, English, and even Spanish, I think! Well, I just adore her and her blog and have a huge interest in international picture books and illustrators, yet I don’t have enough time to cover it all as much as I’d like. She and I have joked about starting our own transatlantic panel on international picture books or some such thing, but then it occurred to me to ask her if she’d like to contribute to my blog….
….And she agreed! So, I’ll be collaborating with her in this manner (she’ll make occasional contributions to 7-Imp, not unlike what Steven Withrow does), and tomorrow I plan to do a post that introduces her.
That post is now up and running, folks, so high thee hence to read it.  To my mind, this marks a precipitous step forward in the world of the Kidlitosphere.  We are not merely national but INTERnational.  If we can start connecting with children’s literary bloggers in other countries, imagine the changes that could be wrought.  And then think about all the books our kids could have knowledge of.  My mind blows.
  • To be frank, I have many personal goals in life.  To someday become the National Ambassador of Young People’s Literature (target date: 2030).  To someday eat the rest of the walnuts in my cupboard (target date: two minutes from now, give or take).  And finally, to someday see a picture book starring a blue footed booby.  Oh, it’ll happen (and at this rate it’ll probably be illustrated by Lane Smith).  In the short term, I will settle for platypuses, which is why I was so pleased to hear that Jarrett Krosoczka has a fun series coming out with Walden Media that he pitched as “Frog and Toad meets Law and Order.”  Ain’t he brilliant?  And Walden’s an ideal fit for him.  That kid is going places now.
  • Me with the blabbity blab.  You know I can’t review everything I read (current number of books in my Goodreads To Be Reviewed pile: 69).  So sometimes I need to review in other formats.  That’s where Katie Davis comes in.  She has a new podcast up and running and I’ll spot her a review or two on the site.  This week’s episode: Author Websites That Rock.  The book I review?  Selling Hope by Kristin Tubb.

Best New Blog Alert: Wow.  This . . . wow.  I am in awe.  Here’s my thinking on today’s amazing new children’s and YA literary blog.  I know that my blog has a lot of information but it’s not exactly kid-friendly, is it?  I mean, children and teens don’t clamor to read me on a regular basis.  That’s fine.  I’m a gatekeeper blog, I guess.  But it would be kind of nice if there was a blog out there that was a lot of fun for kids to read.  One that gave great reading suggestions, had a kind of plot of its own, and maybe included a comic or two on the side.  And monsters.  It would definitely have to have monsters.  Well seek ye no further, oh children of the corn.  Lo and behold the power and glory that is Bigfoot Reads.  The plot is simple.  Bigfoot and his cryptid friends (a sea monster, alien, some half turtles, psychic beagles, etc.) read contemporary children’s literature, conduct interviews, etc.  Recently the bookclub decided to read Keeper by Kathi Appelt.  The results basically blow any review I ever write out of the water.  Wow.  Pray, authors, pray that these guys read your book someday.  I am thoroughly impressed.  Thanks to Kathi Appelt for the link.

  • I mentioned this on Sunday, but in case you missed it you might want to take note of SLJ’s upcoming Trailie Awards for the best book trailers of the year.  I like the idea.  Dunno about the name, though.  Trailie.  Sounds mildly disturbing for reasons I can’t quite put my finger on.
  • The problem with reading other people’s blogs is that sometimes my memories get mucked with.  I’ll read a Twitter link or a blog post and later be convinced that I myself wrote on that topic on my site.  Such was the case with the Nikki Grimes piece in Hunger Mountain (the VCFA journal of the arts) called Color Me Perplexed.  In the piece Ms. Grimes discusses the problems that still exist today when it comes to getting folks to give books to kids about children with races other than their own.  I know this problem all too well.  That’s why I love it when parents walk in with reading lists and tell me to pick the books for their children.  It’s much easier to convince a parent to allow their kids to read something new and interesting if that’s all I’m handing them.  Ha ha!  Thanks to Ann Braybrooks for the link.
  • Daily Image:

This isn’t strictly children’s.  Indeed, it may not take even YA into consideration.  Doesn’t really matter, though.  This is a survey and comparison of fantasy novel cover art trends in 2008 vs. 2009.  Click on the image below to see a larger version.

Thanks to 100 Scope Notes for the link.  Like you, Travis, I too am saddened by the decline in glowy magic.  Guess Sassy doesn’t count, huh?

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. Is it possible you’ve never seen this one by Betsy Lewin?
    Not her usual style, I know, but lovely.
    you were kidding, right?

    • Elizabeth Bird says:

      Well fiddle my sticks. That’s a blue footed booby all right. All right, new goal. I want there to be TWO books out there about blue footed boobies. Oh the spam I’m going to acquire today . . . .

  2. Thank you Elisabeth for the kind words, I am really thrilled with this new adventure! Never in my life I would have thought I could collaborate with Jules, nor be noticed by you with my little box. THANK YOU! Cristiana

  3. Leila did a post the other day about glowy necklaces in YA, which is getting to be a mildly annoying trend. But I think it’s awesome that someone actually puts that chart together!

  4. As the Hunger Mountain co-editor thanks for the shout out re Nikki Grimes wonderful piece this issue. And, thanks for suggesting she send it our way!

  5. You wouldn’t believe the scene in Morzant’s lab this morning when Norman burst in to announce that you had mentioned us on your blog. Let’s just say that Bunsen burners and good news are not the best combination. After we put out the fire, we continued our celebration well into the afternoon. Thank you so much for bringing attention to our endeavor. We love sharing our favorite books with other readers.

  6. Hmm. What I find interesting in that graph is the only selection that shows an increase from 2008 to 2009 is guns. Where did all the other covers go? Is everything getting more diverse? Or is it changes in tracking (the glowy magic has finally been distinguised from the smoke/fog, etc)? And I have now officially taken this graph far more seriously than its originators intended.

  7. I actually learned about Blue-Footed Boobies from a children’s picture book. The absolutely delightful Bird Alphabet Book, by Jerry Pallotta, was one of my son’s favorites when he was small (20 years ago).

    My sister (a birdlover) had bought an autographed copy for Josh.

    I can’t find our copy at this moment (I KNOW we kept it.), but here’s approximately how B goes:

    B is for Bat…. (Sentences about Bats.)
    Wait a minute! Although they have wings and can fly, bats are not birds. Get out of this book, you bats! (Page turn)

    B is for Blue-Footed Booby….

    I remember that the last sentence on that page is, “The other bird on this page is a Red-Footed Booby.”

    The B page alone had me utterly charmed with the book. And Josh read it over and over and over (memorized it before he could read anyway). It was so much fun to hear his little voice say, “Get out of this book, you bats!”

    Years later, when we went to the Museum of Natural History in DC and saw stuffed creatures, Josh was very interested in finding birds like the Jacana from The Bird Alphabet Book — but most exciting was the Blue-Footed Booby!

    Anyway, I absolutely agree that the more children’s picture books containing Blue-Footed Boobies, the better!

  8. For news on International childrens books (well OK, with a British focus mainly) I love that the British magazine Books for Keeps is now in an online only magazine format.
    Plus they have a huge online archive of reviews.