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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fusenews: Juice proof

Oh man.  I need to get my third Newbery/Caldecott predictions up and pronto.  Now that the Heavy Medal blog has entered the arena again you just know that the debating is about to begin.  Already I can see that I’ll have to fight tooth and nail for my beloved One Crazy Summer and that Nina and Jonathan will have to convince me on why a person would want to read a children’s book on playing bridge (no one has given me an adequate explanation of its charms quite yet).  Most importantly, can A Conspiracy of Kings stand on its own without a person having read the other books?  Which is to say, am I gonna have to read it? Ooo!  I love these debates!  So much to talk about already.  Now I need to finish Only One Year . . .

  • Great news came to me yesterday all thanks to Cynopsis Kids.  Check it out, Kevin Lewis fans:

Disney Publishing Worldwide names Kevin Lewis as Executive Editor, Disney Hyperion Books, an imprint of Disney Book Group.  In his new position Lewis is responsible for acquiring and editing picture books, as well as middle grade and young adult novels for Disney-Hyperion.  Most recently, Lewis was Editorial Director, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, and prior to that as an Associate Editor with Blue Sky Press, an imprint of Scholastic.”

This makes me happy.  Some of us have been waiting on tenterhooks to hear where Kevin would settle down next.  This is the guy who has, in the past, edited folks like Tony DiTerlizzi and Kadir Nelson.  We have little doubt he’ll work his magic at Hyperion now.  Couldn’t be happier.

  • Sick and tired of not getting enough Monica Edinger?  Well if Educating Alice doesn’t satisfy you then you might be pleased to learn that our Dalton School blogger has a good looking HuffPo blog up and running as well these days.  A smart idea too.  It’s always wise to expand your audience.
  • (“Your Online Guide to Offbeat Tourist Attractions”) stopped by the old children’s room to have a gander at our famous residents.  It’s a rather smart little write-up with some facts in there that I myself was not entirely clear on.  They get extra points as well for the snarky end to the write-up.  Couldn’t agree with them more.  Thanks to The Infomancer for the link.
  • You can criticize a person’s personal beliefs, clothes, worldly possessions, and general attitude all you want but better keep your hands off their The Giving Tree.  Yes, the triumvirate of mediocrity made the news yet again with the New York Times article Children’s Books You (Might) Hate and Silverstein’s weirdo tale is at the forefront of the discussion.  The comments consist primarily of critics and those who would label themselves Team Giving Tree.  Other comments show some interesting critiques of some of the children’s books out there.  There’s a pretty convincing screed against Dandelion by Don Freeman that’s going to make me give it a second glance when next I’m in my library. Thanks to PW Children’s Bookshelf for the link.
  • Time to talk up Barb Langridge a bit.  So there’s this marvelous children’s literature resource out there by the name of A Book and a Hug.  It’s run by the aforementioned Ms. Langridge and it is maybe one of the finest reader’s advisory sites for children and YA books I’ve seen.  It has the usual good things like recommended books for boys, different reading levels, etc.  But the exciting thing to me is the site’s Advanced Search function.  By using it, you can limit the books you’re looking for by keyword, age level, genre, even country!  There’s really nothing like it on the web.  Barb may also start including links to children’s literature blog reviews, which will be delightful.  She’s included a couple blog links already under her Resources section (I’m there).  Keep your eye on this site in the future.  This is where I expect children’s literature to head, and it’ll make a fabulous resource for children’s librarians and booksellers.
  • Fun with covers time.  Adam Rex discusses on his blog the sheer number of different Guys Read covers he went through before they settled on a jacket for the humor edition.  Like his commenter McLean Kendree I was incredibly partial to “the pie blitzkrieg” and sad that it didn’t make the final cut.  Pie + face = funny.  That’s just simple math.  By the way, Adam doesn’t include the final cover, but as you can see here it’s perfectly respectable.
  • A big thank you to Rocco Staino at SLJ for reporting on my August Children’s Literary Salon.  The topic was ebooks and my 2-3 panelists (one sent a video in lieu of his appearance) touched on some topics that hadn’t really been handled on the children’s side of the equation all that often.  My favorite part of the day was when panelist Jennifer Perry (who appeared alongside Stephen Roxburgh) mentioned that e-readers for children won’t really hit the market until they find a way to make one “juice proof”.  Those of you considering writing review blogs of children’s electronic literary resources, I recommend the name “Juice Proof”.  Catchy.
  • And while I’m thinking of it, Travis at 100 Scope Notes found a cover that, in his own words, has a certain “this book may have been used to squash a bug” quality to it.  Bravo.
  • I’m just a regular chatty cathy these days on the topic of whether or not the BEA Conference and the ALA Conference will/should join forces.  One person I discussed the issue with suggested that it would make awards like the Newbery and the Caldecott more inclined to be commercial.  I don’t know about that myself.  We do have rules and standards in place, after all.  The PW article Merits of Joint BEA/ALA Convention Weighed brought up some other concerns but nothing that particularly rang true for me.  I dunno.  I’d like to hear more discussion of this on the children’s literary blogger side.
  • Big news time for all you reviewer types out there.  Looks like The Wall Street Journal has decided to get into the book reviewing business.  Yup.  Considering how folks have been slicing their book review sections out of their print publications left and right, the WSJ‘s decision flies in the face of all that and is downright gutsy.  Now the real question: Any children’s reviews gonna make their cut?  Thanks to Liz Hartman for the link.

So the prez is writing a book for kids.  Sigh.  This can only lead to tears.  I think it’s fair to say that almost no political figure has ever written a book for kids that has been anything more than merely so-so.  Obama’s book is interesting since I believe (and you can correct me if I’m wrong) that no president has written a book for kids since Jimmy Carter’s The Little Baby Snoogle-Fleejer (oh, you simply cannot make these titles up, sometimes).  What interests me is the illustrator, of course.  Loren Long makes for an interesting choice.  I was actually joking with Sean Qualls the other day that after Toni Morrison and Spike Lee the only person left for him to illustrate would have to be the president.  Looks like Loren was in on that idea long ago.  If Biden writes one let’s have Stephen Gammell illustrate it, kay?

  • Matt’s hero project continues to come up with new definitions all the time.  For fun, check out his different categories for villains (love the General Zod / Nurse Ratched pairing), love interests, and things you should establish about your hero from the start.
  • Author Vicki Cobb takes on the devil in the assessment test with her post Why Our Books Can Save Education.  It’s got a beat and you can dance to it.  Check it out and lend your support to her ideas.
  • Daily Image:

Well, it’s not strictly children’s literature based, but what the hey.

These are just a couple of images from a great Flickr page that has a bit of fun with cloud formations.  One of those infinitely simple ideas that lead to great photographs.  Made my day.

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. Ah ha! So Carter did write one! I wondered.

    Yesterday, I was trying to remember where the trend of sitting prez/first lady/vp/second lady children’s book started: there was Millie’s Book, by Barbara Bush, and that Socks book from the Clinton years, and then there was the Lynne Cheney book. Dunno about the Reagan years, though.

    • Elizabeth Bird says:

      Exactly. The thing is, I can’t help but think that there was a Carter children’s book published while he was in office too. What on earth was the name of it, though? Maybe I’m just thinking of a book that was about him while he served, but … huh. And amazing that the Reagans never succumbed. Or Laura Bush for that matter. I mean, she’s a librarian. You’d think the siren lure of the printed page would get to her.

  2. Am I totally out of the loop, or did the POTUS’s children’s book appear out of nowhere? I pay close attention to the fall, and I realize that I probably do miss a few….but I think I would have noticed this. The first I heard about it was yesterday when an email from RH appeared in my inbox. It’s not even in Baker and Taylor (tried yesterday and tried again today).

  3. While I’m not saying it should win the Newbery (but it*could*), A Conspiracy of Kings stands on its own without the other books. I gave it to teen readers who hadn’t read the other books, and they lurved it. Lurved it. Lurved. It.

  4. “The Cardturner” is a wonderful read even if you think ‘bridge’ is only something that gets you across the river. I mean, come on, we’re talkin’ Louis Sachar here. I fought against reading “Holes” for the loooooongest time, back in the day, because I thought it would be a one-note juvie-detention-center book — and just look at all the fabulous stuff IT contained. Like “Holes,” “The Cardturner” has an intriguing paralell storyline from the (not-so-distant) past, and it deals with issues ranging from greed to love to loyalty. It blew me away AND it made me laugh out loud, turn for turn. Great stuff!

  5. Laura Bush did do a children’s book while her husband was in office…co-authored with her daughter Jenna, it was a picture book called “Read All About It”, illustrated by Denise Brunkus.

    Haven’t read it myself, so can’t comment…..the only reason I remember it is because they did a book signing at the LOC Festival that year, and the security was insane (I was very happy to have wheeled transport for the ton of books that I DID bring, ’cause the security detour was a looooong way)

    • Elizabeth Bird says:

      Oh, Susan, you’re right. I’m an idiot. Totally forgot about that book. For that matter one of the Bush daughters did a teen novel too.

  6. I would just like to say that the second cloud formation picture is so totally Sookie on True Blood. Take that, Vampire King of Mississippi! That is all.

  7. It was Jenna, I think.

  8. Betsy, you haven’t read the Megan Whalen Turner books? Oh, say it isn’t so! Come on, The Thief was a Newbery Honor winner!

    As much as I soooo want Megan Whalen Turner to win, I wasn’t as crazy about the latest as I was about The Queen of Attolia. As much as I’d like to say the book can stand alone, I really really don’t want people to read things that give away what happens in the earlier books. The amazing beauty of the first three books is in their plot twists. Of course, on the other hand I love rereading them over and over and over to see all the cleverly placed clues that I completely missed — so maybe you could get that kind of enjoyment on the first reading — the appreciation of a genius at the craft of plotting.

    As for The Cardturner, I did love it. But I grew up in a family of Rook players, and Rook is very like Bridge. I’m also a math nut, and I think it appealed to the math and games loving side of my personality. Adding the uncle-nephew interaction and the boy-girl interaction made it an absolutely delightful book — but I don’t really expect it to win with the committee.

    • Elizabeth Bird says:

      Oh, I read “The King of Attolia” and it was nice. Only the problem was that I couldn’t figure out why a man would love a woman who cut off his hand. The book didn’t really bother to explain, and a lot of little things in the book were confusing as well. Would have been nice to get some background on them, as I felt out at sea for much of the reading. I do wonder if the latest book will leave me feeling the same way.

  9. Alyson Whatcott says:

    Wait, your third Newbery contenders list? I’ve only seen the one from last summer. Am I missing one? Trying to keep current on my reading list… Thanks!

  10. Yes, there’s no way you should read King of Attolia without reading Queen of Attolia first. Then the marriage and how he pulls it off is amazingly awesome instead of just strange. And you really appreciate how absolutely awesome Gen is if you read The Thief — first.

    Okay, you’re convincing me NOT to recommend anyone to read A Conspiracy of Kings without reading the first three books first.

  11. My Boaz's Ruth says:

    Elizabeth: I’ve read the entire “The Thief” series (Is that what the series is called) and I’m still not sure I understand why a man would marry a woman (or even love her) that cut off his hand!