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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fusenews: Call me Al

Sometimes I feel that in midst of all our Newbery/Caldecott predictions we tend to place more attention on the Newbery side of the equation.  There are Mock Newbery committees all around the country with blogs.  How strange that there are fewer Mock Caldecott committees.  You’d think it would be the other way around.  After all, picture books make for faster reads.  In the midst of all this comes the Seven Impossible Things post My Caldecott Ramblings.  Jules looks at the books I’ve examined for Caldecott potential then adds a few names of her own.  She has some very clever choices.  Eric Rohmann’s Last Song could easily nab an award while we look the other way.  Suzy Lee, alas, I am pretty sure is not a citizen (I’ve asked Chronicle before and that’s what they told me).  Is Michael Emberley American, by the way?  Because if he is then Miss Brooks Loves Books (And I Don’t) is in my possibilities pile as well.  I am also 100% with Jules on the fact that Floyd Cooper is long overdue for an award.

  • Aw.  You lucky lucky Bostonians.  While we New Yorkers are stuck here on our island watching the leaves change (leaves in New York don’t get pretty but rather turn a sickly yellow and brown before giving up in a fit of ennui and falling) you guys are able to attend the Boston Public Library’s Literary Lights for Children event.  I am particularly intrigued by the line-up.  Grace Lin, Jerry Spinelli, Karen Hesse, and Neil Gaiman.  That’s pretty neat.  Then I see the previous years’ line-ups (Susan Cooper and Laura Amy Schlitz in the same place at the same time?!) and I just end up watching the video highlights.  The only problem?  Well, they cut it off before you get to hear Laura’s story!  Those of you who saw her Newbery acceptance speech will understand how painful that is.  If you have a chance to see Ms. Schlitz tell a story then you TAKE that chance.
  • This looks like fun.  Candlewick made this cute little widget for their new graphic novel version of Gareth Hinds’ The Odyssey.  Lemme see if it’ll embed here.  I dunno if my site accepts Javascript.  If it doesn’t you can always find it here instead.


Guess not. Hey, did anyone else notice that we’ve had at least five different graphic novels this year that show off the Greek Gods? Percy Jackson, man, you’re all right with me.

  • There was a time, oh best beloveds, when it looked as though I might move clear across the country from the marble halls of New York to the sunny coast of California.  More specifically, L.A.  As the economy would have it, I didn’t so much as budge.  And now, reading about the woes of the L.A. Public Library system, I guess I’m glad I’m here.  Last hired, first fired, or so the saying goes.  And poor L.A.  My heart goes out to you guys.
  • I think it was Cheryl who sent me this.  I see great potential in this relationship if I contact him.  After all, I could yell “Hey, Al!” at him all the time, thereby invoking the Caldecott winning picture book of the same name.  Failing that, maybe we could get Sophie Blackall to illustrate the advert.  She already does Missed Connections, after all.
  • Confession: I admit that I get the child_lit listservs in digest form.  I admit as well that when I see that Jenny Schwartzberg has posted anything, anything at all, I make sure to read it and potentially steal it for my blog (with full credit to her, naturally).  I am unapologetic in doing this.  Jenny has a way of finding the best links out there.  She also happens to have a blog by the name of Jenny’s Wonderland of Books.  It’s updated infrequently enough that I sometimes forget to look at it, but when I remember, it’s worth it.  For example, she recently put up this post A Look at Historical Versions of Cinderella.  Let us at long last put the fur slipper v. glass slipper issue to rest, shall we?  Team Fur, the ball is in your court.
  • In this life you’ve got your window display and then you have your window displays.  This was recently put up for Aaron Renier’s new Walker Bean graphic novel.

When I grow up, I wanna work at Quimby’s.

  • ARGGGH!  My eyes!  My eyes! Nothing in this life or the next can ever be good again.
  • Yay!  I lied.  Happy times are here again.  It’s New Award time!  I love new awards.  I remember once in the early days of the Cybils someone left a snarky comment to the effect of, “Gee, great.  Yet another circular award to put on the cover of a book”.  An illustrator immediately responded with, “I don’t mind.  You can cover my jackets with all the circular stickers you want.”  My response was that we’d just make it square instead.  In any case, there’s a new award out and it’s the NAIBA Carla Cohen Free Speech Award.  Named after the owner of the bookstore Politics and Prose, the award this year is going to The Dreamer by Pam Munoz Ryan, illustrated by Peter Sis.  Woot!  Thanks to Mitali Perkins for the link.
  • FYI: How crazy is it that author Lisa Yee goes to Paris and then happens to stumble across The Invention of Hugo Cabret on the very first day of filming?
  • My darlings, I have many dreams.  For example, I dream of someday hosting a Quiz Competition in my library between librarians and people working in the publishing field.  I would moderate, pick all the really hard questions (I’d make the answers multiple choice to be fair) and the prize would be something librarian-ish (a lifetime supply of card catalog cards, perhaps?).  With this dream in the back of my mind I like to find strange facts.  For example, what bestselling graphic novelist for children began his career with a non-fiction road trip book about visiting all the hot UFO sites in America?  The answer may surprise you.
  • While we’re discussing my crazy dreams (Fuse #8 = my dream journal, and aren’t YOU lucky to be on the receiving end, eh whot?) I’ve one that’s even crazier than the quiz idea.  Okay.  So what if someone wrote a series that followed a kid from board books to picture books to easy readers to early chapter books to graphic novels to middle grade chapter books to YA fiction and finally in an adult fiction capacity?  Talk about epic!  It’s a single life told in the formats that apply to each stage of the person’s life.  I got to thinking about this idea recently when I heard that they’re writing adult sequels to the Sweet Valley High books.  The girls are adults so the books are too.  Which is to say, helloooo future trend!  Thanks to The Longstockings for the link.
  • Marc Tyler Nobleman’s been doing some pretty keen posts on his blog lately.  Here we have the risk run by using dialogue in nonfiction picture books (and the danger in not sourcing your material).  He also has a post up on the number of times the magazine Entertainment Weekly has ever displayed an author (guess how many times it’s been a woman too while you’re at it).  And it’s a little late for Talk Like a Pirate Day (which was Sunday, by the by) but you can still indulge in a little pirate haiku fun if the notion grabs you.  Arrr!
  • Okay.  Show of hands.  Who wants to take a road trip with me to the Geisel Library Building named, appropriately enough, after Audrey and Theodor Geisel a.k.a. Dr. Seuss?  Extra added incentive, it looks like this:

I ever tell you kids that I once interned with a photographer who took pictures of the interiors of libraries?  True story.

  • I think it was at the last Kidlit Drink Night the other day where a friend turned to me and said, “You hear about the six-year-old kid who supposedly made a 23-book deal?”  “Uh, no.”  “Well it was a hoax.”  Nothing weirder than hearing about a hoax after the fact, of course.  I think it’s significant that the folks I follow on Twitter never picked up on the initial fake story. Thanks to Bookninja for the link.
  • Aw.  Hey, did anyone else notice that Joan Steiner, the author of those nice Look-Alike books died the other day?  I’ve always been grateful for the Look-Alike books since they’re something I can hand a kid that’s already gone through all my Where’s Waldo? and Walter Wick titles.  I’m sorry to hear that she’s gone.
  • I found the Guardian article The curse of swearing in children’s books amusing partly because British swear words differ so greatly from those of the Yanks at times.  The “bollocks” of Skellig come off as positively quaint on this side of the pond.
  • Daily Image:

If you visit me at my reference desk you will find that it is a lime green color akin to the kind of thing you might see in a particularly delicious Slurpee.  With that in mind, you understand why I yearn to have a desk like this one made out of books.

Yearn, I say.  Thanks to Bookninja for the link.

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. You don’t need to be an American citizen to be a Caldecott candidate. U.S. residency is good enough.

    From the ALA website:


    1. The Medal shall be awarded annually to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children published by an American publisher in the United States in English during the preceding year. There are no limitations as to the character of the picture book except that the illustrations be original work. Honor books may be named. These shall be books that are also truly distinguished.
    2. The award is restricted to artists who are citizens or residents of the United States. Books published in a U.S. territory or U.S. commonwealth are eligible.
    3. The committee in its deliberations is to consider only books eligible for the award, as specified in the terms.

  2. Geisel Library! The centerpiece of my first Alma mater UCSD (University of California, San Diego) GO TRITONS! *snort* Also where I earned my degree in microbiology. You may also like to know that the library is also surrounded by a Garden of Eden complete with exotic plants and a pebble trail shaped like a snake (complete with eyes and tongue) and also the very place where I mustered up the courage to ask my wife out on our very first date. Awwwwww *double snort*

    • Elizabeth Bird says

      Well shoot. Saying that you asked your future wife out in the Garden of Eden has all SORTS of interesting connotations at work. Well played, man!

      The residency question is fascinating to me. Thanks for clarifying it, guys.

  3. Well I have just learned something new! Sergio is exactly right. I went to the Caldecott Committee manual and found this extended definition of “Resident:”

    RESIDENT – means 1) that the author or illustrator has established and maintains residence in the United States, U.S. territory, or U.S. commonwealth, as distinct from being a casual or occasional visitor.

    Or 2) that the author/illustrator meets one of the following criteria:

    a) The author/illustrator, a citizen of another country, holds a “green card” and is a Permanent Resident Alien.

    b) The author/illustrator lives for at least 6 months EVERY year in the United States, regardless of where the book was actually written.

    c) A resident is also an individual whose permanent home is in the US but who is outside of the US for a temporary purpose. For example, an individual goes on vacation in another country or works there temporarily. The individual still maintains residency in the US and intends to return.

  4. Hmmm… If you had a desk like the one pictured, wouldn’t that be a little like a physician having a desk made out of human skulls? Just askin’… (wry grin)

  5. Jenny Schwartzberg says

    Thanks for the shout-out, Betsy! Lots of interesting news today. I’ll have to finish going through them tonight. And yes, JRR’s name was John Ronald Reuel Tolkien. That’s off the top of my head. It’s such an unusual name it stuck in it years ago. And to JMyersbook, that’s about what I thought when I saw that book desk photo. I always wince when I see repurposed books like book boxes and book furniture. Books are meant to be read…

  6. I used a branch of the LA Public Library when I was a kid, so that article is infuriating. Of course, I’m more personally affected by the cuts in Fairfax County, Virginia. The library system was cut by almost $3 million, and I was RIF’d, but they did find me a job as a Management Analyst in the Office for Children for the same pay — with much less responsibility. (Same pay as a librarian for much less challenging work. Interesting, no?)

    To add insult to injury, last week, the Board of Supervisors voted to put $24.9 million into a “rainy day fund” against “future budget shortfalls”!!! Excuse me? Yes, that is more than EIGHT TIMES the amount they cut from the libraries. Now they suddenly seem to have “extra” after saying that in hard times we all had to make sacrifices — so they sacrificed the libraries.

    I agree with the author of the article that the powers that be don’t seem to realize that by cutting libraries they are most hurting the poor, the jobless, immigrants, children without home internet access, and so many more. But those are exactly the groups who are less likely to speak up to the people in power….

    Sorry to use this as an excuse to rant, but the LA situation sounds so similar. When the people in power don’t understand how important libraries are to everyone, not just luxuries for a few, they can make some awfully bad choices.

  7. John Ronald Reuel. (Now I’ll go read the article. My youthful Tolkien fandom info is in the back of my head popping up occasionally with odd bits of trivia.)

  8. This was a hard week for children’s books. Losing not only Jane Steiner, but also Varnette Honeywood, illustrator of the original Little Bill books.

  9. Yes, as Jenny says, thanks as always for the kind word!

  10. I want that desk!

    Next year’s BlogHer is in San Diego and now you’ve given me a pilgrimage, so thanks! You should come! I have long dreamed of my regular blog and my kidlit blog favorites all rolling into one glorious convention.

    • Elizabeth Bird says

      We sort of tried that at the last Book Expo. Amy’s Friends put together a kind of blogger convention, but it was mostly on the adult side. Only about 5 people there were children’s literature-related. Maybe someday, though. Someday.