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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fusenews: The broken motel sign adds a nice touch too

Oh man.  Sometimes I just don’t manage to keep up with all the news.  Lightning fast round today, folks!  Keep up if you can.

  • A show of hands.  How many of you knew that the Department of Social and Cultural Analysis at NYU was hosting, in conjunction with the Institute of African American Affairs, a conference called A is for Anansi: Literature for Children of African Descent?  Well, it’s going on October 8th and 9th (both days that I have to work, doggone it) and will feature such luminaries as Andrea Davis Pinkney, K.T. Horning, Zetta Elliott, Arnold Adoff, Michael Patrick Hearn, and there will be a tribute to Virginia Hamilton, Tom Feelings, and the Dillons with the Dillons actually present!  Oh, did I mention the price?  It’s FREE!  You residents now haven’t any excuse at all.  Me?  Stuck at work, but maybe I can make the keynote and opening reception.
  • There was lots of news this week.  One of the biggest stories concerned the Chicago parents that staged a sit-in at their local school so that a library could be built.  I’ve heard word that there might be a way to send them children’s books (they’d like bilingual ones in particular).  If I get more details I will let you know.
  • Mike Jung’s Little Bloggy Wog (winner of my personal Best Blog Name of the Year Award two years running) says, I wanna see some Mock Fleischman action! For my part, I was only recently made aware of the Fleischman Award (I’d been under the impression that the Brits had cornered the market on funny book awards with their Roald Dahl prize).  SCBWI, here in the States, tends to bestow the Sid Fleischman Funny Book Award.  Mike wants to hear your nominations for such a prize.  Me too, for that matter.  I think Popularity Papers, Milo, and The Strange Case of Origami Yoda are my frontrunners. Dunno if they’re SCBWI members, though.
  • My vow to be short and sweet was apparently all bluster.  But I mean it this time!  Okay, so I find the stats of how many folks read my book on Goodreads really funny.  I was impressed at first.  Then I noticed what the numbers on the left-hand side were.  Thanks for reading it just the same, folks!
  • Abby (the) Librarian has some news for you.  To be blunt about it, ALA is Not Your Mom.  Go aim your maternal issues elsewhere, my dears.
  • Wanna see my living room?  Who doesn’t?  You can get a glimpse of it behind my enormous head if you watch my interview with Dan Blank.
  • Sometimes I like to look at the British publishers (in this case, Scholastic) to see the different covers they slap on American books.  This one may be my favorite:

There are not enough disembodied hands on book jackets today.  So sayeth I.  Now I wonder why they excised the “Beth” from “Susan Beth Pfeffer”s name.

  • Say . . . speaking of lands aside from the U.S. of A., if you American publishers happen to be looking for a fabulous artist from another culture, might I recommend  Nour Bishouty.  I’ve been enjoying her blog, particularly the post that showed her drawing an old woman’s face on a friend’s balding head.  Good times.
  • 100 Scope Notes located an audio clip of NPR discussing Roald Dahl’s life.
  • A lot of animators end up children’s illustrators eventually, and almost all of them are male.  A recent exception that comes to mind is Marla Frazee, who briefly worked with Disney.  Historically, Disney was not exactly the most open-minded employer.  Check out this 1938 rejection letter from Disney to a female artist.  First off, it’s amazing to actually hear someone outright say “we don’t hire women”.  Second, kudos to Mary Ford for holding onto that letter.
  • Libraries aren’t warehouses of books?  Says who?  I’m loving the Something Different Every Day piece Why have libraries? Makes me feel good, it does.
  • Aw man.  Now I’m being driven crazy too.  My co-author Peter at Collecting Children’s Books recently wrote on his last Sunday blog post (a great piece containing cookbooks and unspeakable issues in YA lit) the following: “Author Tom Angleberger (AKA Sam T. Riddleburger) of the Berger and Burger blog recently sent me a challenge. He asked: ‘Which current day kidlit author (not illustrator) was an animator on Nimh? Hint: his main character is rather loud’.”  Even with the additional hint I’m stumped.  The answer appears to be in the comments of the post, though.
  • It’s still Banned Books Week, you know.  Check out Kate Messner’s post Educators on Banned Books over at The Hate-Mongering Tart (who placed second in 2010’s aforementioned Best Blog Name of the Year Award).
  • Dang.  Just when everything was going so well the children’s literature commissioner had to announce that “All picture books to be ’80s film adaptations.”  On the one hand, this is depressing in the extreme.  One can’t help but worry for the future of the Caldecott.  On the other hand, I may finally be able to sell my 48-page version of Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo (I envision Anita Lobel as the illustrator).  Extra points to Paula for coming up with the idea of Patricia Polacco adapting Witness.  As she says, “that one might work.”
  • So Neil Gaiman, Robin McKinley, and Diana Wynne Jones sit down together, right?  And  . . . well, you may as well read the post yourself.  Sounds like a joke.  Ain’t.

Warner Bros. is working on live-action feature film adaptation of Pinocchio with Dan Jinks producing the project and Bryan Fuller writing the script, per Variety .  Jinks said in an interview with the trade said that he was inspired to do this project by Tim Burton’s adaptation of Alice in Wonderland.  Italian author Carlo Collodi created the character and story in his 1880s book The Adventures of Pinocchio”

Maybe it’ll wipe the memory of that Jonathan Taylor Thomas vehicle from everyone’s mind.  Too late.  Already wiped.  Did anyone ever see that film, by the way?

Oh.  And that’s not all:

MarVista Entertainment heads to Mipcom 2010 where it will showcase a range of programming including kid and family targeted TV movies including:

  • Witches of Oz – a two-part modern twist on L. Frank Baum’s world of OZ that stars Christopher Lloyd as the Wizard, Sean Astin (Lord of the Rings, The Goonies), Billy Boyd (Lord of the Rings), Lance Henrikson (Millennium, Alien), Mia Sara (Timecop, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off), Jeffrey Combs (Re-Animator), Ethan Embry (Can’t Hardly Wait), Eliza Swenson as Billie Westbrook, and Paulie Rojas as Dorothy Gale, among others.  Written/directed by Leigh Scott, the family aimed Witches of OZ is produced by Palace Imaginarium’s Christopher Campbell and produced by Swenson and Campbell.”

So that’s what they did with my beloved Christopher Lloyd and Sean Astin.  Grrrrr.

  • Yay!  Elizabeth Bluemle has released her September edition of The Stars So Far.  A shocking FOUR books have gotten six stars this year.  Compare that to last year’s zippo.  Interestingly, they’re all older chapter books, except one that’s a bit more middle grade.  I wonder if picture books have a hard time getting six stars because art appreciation is so subjective.  Hm.
  • Daily Image:

Signage!  Sweet sweet signage!  How I long for my own.  In the meantime I’ll just drool over the results of the Smashing Magazine World of Signage photo contest.

I’m sure we librarians all have our favorites, but this one was mine.  I like my signage like I like my men.  Short.  To the point.  Taking up an entire wall.  Wait . . . .

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. David Ziegler says:

    Thanks for highlighting the protest in Chicago over the lack of a school library. Reading the article, I was stunned to read this fact: “But according to Bond, classroom libraries are common, with more than 160 schools in Chicago without libraries.” There are “over 600” public schools in Chicago, so perhaps 25% don’t have a school library? As a 25+ year resident of Chicago, this makes me furious. What can the Illinois Library Association and ALA (headquartered in Chicago) do about this crisis?

  2. Wow! It’s like this Fuse News was written just for me!

    1) That hand coming out of the ground may be a homage to the cover of John Christopher’s last-people-on-earth book, Empty World.

    2) Two of my favorite illustrators are women who went from animation to children’s books: Mary Blair and Alice Provensen.

    3) Witches of Oz: I’m interviewing the Cowardly Lion for GeekDad.

    4) Gregory K. is right about the NIMH animator! If you want proof, peek at the dedication of Loud Boy #1. The first name is: Mr. Don Bluth!

    And thanks for the Mock Sid nomination!!

  3. Thanks for the Sid Fleischman Award link! I didn’t know this one, though I should have.

  4. Oooo! I loved the interview — 35 minutes of highly entertaining behind-the-scenes info and backstory (but not much of a glimpse of your apartment! lol). 😀

  5. Ehh, your head’s not so big. Thanks for the shout-out, and for the head-up about the Dahl award, I didn’t know about that one! And if I hadn’t picked 8TH GRADE SUPERZERO as my Mock Sid winner, I would definitely go with ORIGAMI YODA.

  6. My Boaz's Ruth says:

    Aigh! Now not only does “Older Posts” not work but I can not even scroll through using the arrows on the top of each page!

    • Elizabeth Bird says:

      I have found a temporary solution to the dilemma. Add a / to the end of my address. Then reload the page with that address. For some reason, when you do that everything, from “Older Posts” to scrolling through works like a charm. A weird weird glitch.