Follow This Blog: RSS feed
A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fusenews: The YA Mafia is dead. Long live the YA Mafia.

Call him the Tupac Shakur of children’s books.  Or maybe that title should go to Margaret Wise Brown.  In any case, it seems that every ten years or so we get a new Shel Silverstein book or collection of poems entirely out of the blue (I’m counting Falling Up, and Runny Babbit when I say that).  At some point this will inevitably lead to an Elvis situation, wherein folks will start claiming that Silverstein never actually died and is currently holed up somewhere in Amherst, MA, biding his time, releasing his books on his own schedule.  This is, of course, wishful thinking on my part since Silverstein is the author who was alive during my lifetime that I would have most liked to have met.  Watch out, Steven Kellogg.  You’re #2.  In any case, here’s the scoop on the newest Silverstein.  The man’s still got it  / had it.

  • Sometimes you want to unlearn something you have learned.  Beware then, my readers.  Once you read this you can never go through life not knowing about it.
  • Now that is how it is done!  Over the Atlantic the British blog Playing by the book has posted a quite remarkable little piece on an exhibit currently showing at the Imperial War Museum in Britain (where I once bought this poster).  In the blog post How to explore war with children?, we are told that, “Once Upon a Wartime, an exhibition which opened earlier this month at London’s Imperial War Museum, takes five children’s novels about war and conflict and uses them as a starting point to explore what war can mean for children.”  The five books in question include War Horse by Michael Morpurgo, Carrie’s War by Nina Bawden, The Silver Sword by Ian Serraillier, The Machine Gunners by Robert Westall and Little Soldier by Bernard Ashley.  Of these I am ashamed to say I have only read Carrie’s War (which is brilliant).  The post then goes on to talk about the exhibits and shows copious photographs.  It’s enough to make you pine, once again, for England.  Thanks to Sara Lewis Holmes for the link.
  • I have this fantasy that someday I’ll conduct a video conversation with Travis Jonker where we converse entirely by holding up the titles of children’s books (after all, we know he’s ace with a video cam).  I think of such things when he makes similar projects look easy.  Take, for example, his latest book spine cento.  It’s all in preparation to get you guys excited about making your own book spine poems for Poetry Month.  I know I’m tempted.  Spine it up!
  • New Blog Alert: I’m toying with the notion of having a Children’s Literary Salon at some point where folks who have given writing advice on their blogs sit on a panel and discuss this advice in a public forum.  I think of such thing when I read sites like the Emma Walton Hamilton Blog.  She gives good advice.  She’s an advocate and an educator as well as being an author and an editor.  She created the Children’s Book Hub, a virtual salon for children’s authors.  And it’s entirely unrelated but she shares blood with one of the greatest living entertainers in children’s cinema.  Just sayin’.  If she’s local (Sag Harbor, anyone?) I’d love to get her for my Salon.  Thinking ahead . . .
  • I have two words for you: book cookies.  Now I have three more words for you: yum yum yum.  Or is that just one word said multiple times?  No matter.  Thanks to Mrs. Mordecai for the link.
  • Oh boy, oh boy!  The nominees for the 2011 Indies Choice/E.B. White Read-Aloud Book Awards are up and running for one and all to see, and the competition is fierce.  Not only do you have to decide what the Young Adult book of the year should be (not so subtle hint – Bamboo People) but also the middle grade and picture book E.B. White Read-Alouds, books that should appear in the Picture Book Hall of Fame (all of which appeared on my Top 100 Picture Books Poll), and most cruel of all “Most Engaging Author”.  No “Most Engaging Illustrator” interestingly.  Wonder why that is?
  • Our old friend author Marc Tyler Nobleman is up to new tricks.  Noblemania is one of the more exciting of the children’s author blogs out there, partially because the man is good at content.  Recently he wrote a post called You make a living at that? that discusses the ins and outs of living off of your writing.  There’s also an interesting look at bringing back matter to the forefront, and personal recollections of his editor, Janet Schulman.  All good stuff.
  • Bad news, guys.  As fun as it was to consider, there apparently isn’t a YA Mafia.  Holly Black would know, of course.  Such a pity.  I had lovely images of folks like John Green and Maureen Johnson wearing fedoras, skulking in alleyways, calling people “dame” and the like.  *sigh*
  • Ye gods, she’s done it again!  Seriously, I’m so glad I gave up my own children’s literary podcast blog, because the sheer amount of work Katie Davis puts into Brain Burps About Books would have floored me.  Do you know whom she got for the latest interview?  Do you?  None other than Betsy Franco, mother of one half of our most recent Oscar host and children’s poet (I like her cats) THAT is who.  How does she do it?  How does she do it?
  • Are children’s book award winners historical documents that freeze a moment in time, or should you be allowed to update elements so as to keep them timely?  Roger Sutton gives the quick and dirty on one such debate over at Read Roger.
  • I’m human.  I read a title like Please Bring Back These Books! and I’m helpless to resist.  I love discussing out-of-print titles.  It’s what makes life worth living.  What’s fascinating about that blog post on ShelfTalker, however, is the fact that Elizabeth Bluemle isn’t talking about obscure titles but well-known ones.  In particular she singles out the 1943 Katherine Woods translation of The Little Prince and the original James and the Giant Peach with the Nancy Eckholm Burkert illustrations.  Wow.  Hardcore.
  • Movie news time!  Here’s a new one I’ve not seen before.  From Cynopsis Kids:

DreamWorks Animation unveils plans to bring Rumblewick to the big screen, with director Tim Johnson (Over The Hedge, Antz) and writer Jim Herzfeld (Meet the Fockers, Meet the Parents) collaborating on the project.  The movie is based on the kid’s book My Unwilling Witch (The Rumblewick Letters) by Hiawyn Oram and Sarah Warburton, which revolves around the adventures of a magician’s rabbit that is invited to learn real magic only to learn he is a pawn in a battle between rival witches.  He must outsmart the witches to survive.

  • Daily Image:

Have we grown tired of cut paper beauty yet?  No?  Excellent.  Well this is all the work of artist Su Blackwell.  Someone asked me recently if I knew her.  Not I, though her name is essentially that of my mother, which can be a bit confusing for a person.

See more here.  Thanks to Jane Curley 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. So glad you liked my posts about the Imperial War Museum! The last space in in the exhibit was a library of (mostly) children’s fiction about war and conflict – I’ve now been provided with the list of books included in that section of the exhibition and will be posting the list next week in Playing by the book.

  2. Re: Ralph Lauren: reminds me of a certain book by John Newbery.

  3. I adore the book Silver Sword/ Escape From Warsaw. Love, love, love it. Almost enough to fly to London just to see that part of the exhibit.

  4. Genevieve says:

    YES YES YES for the Nancy Eckholm Burkert illustrations for James and the Giant Peach. I don’t have my childhood edition anymore and I missed those pictures sorely when we got the book from the library and it turned out to have the Quentin ones. They just don’t have enough of the depth that lays just below the surface of this book.

  5. Love your Silverstein/Tupac analogy. I look forward to the day when both return from the isolated islands they’ve been hiding out on since faking their own deaths. How else to explain their level of posthumous output? Also, thanks for the book spine poetry shout-out – it’ll be cool to see what folks come up with.

  6. Thank you so much for the shout-out, Elizabeth! I’d be honored to be a part of your children’s lit salon anytime – New York is an easy 2 hour drive from Sag Harbor.
    Emma Walton Hamilton

  7. “Boys and girls can dress up and down, they can be sporty or elegant.” I won’t lie, I want to experience this R.L. Gang.

  8. Fusenews andZoe thanks so much for the information on the Imperial Museum’s new Once Upon a Wartime exhibition. Sounds worth another trip to London to see friends. Loved Cacrrie’s War and the Silver Sword. Actually I did a blog review last week for an awesome picture book about War/peace called “The Enemy” by David Cali and Serge Bloch.

    Please pursue your idea of a Children’s Literary Salon, and may I add support to your thoughts of inviting Emma Walton Hamilton. I came across Emma’s blog, Emmasaries, last year and have subsequently followed her online course on writing Picture books, Justwriteforkids and am a member of the ChildrensBookHub. The skills, information and encouragement I have received from all three resources have been phenomenal. Emma is not just an author but an individual gifted in, and motivated by, helping other writers reach their vision.

    I now need to check out a Curious Collection of Cats.

  9. Patricia Tilton says:

    Just read your comment about the good advice available to authors on Emma Walton Hamilton’s Blog. I just happen to be a member of the Hub, the very informative virtual literary salon Emma has created for both published and aspiring authors. Emma holds two teleseminars a month for members: one Q&A with Emma and the others are interviews with authors, agents, publishers and so on. For me, the Hub is laying a wonderful foundation for members. It is so nice to be part of a literary community where you can learn from an outstanding author, editor and educator, but at the same time develop a creatve and supportive bond with a group of writers. Hope others will check out the Children’s Book Hub.

  10. Great post!

    I’d like to alert you and your readers to a wonderful Canadian middle-grade trilogy about children evacuated to Canada during World War II — gives an excellent perspective on that aspect of the war and its effect on children: Look for “The Guests of War” trilogy by Kit Pearson. The individual titles are “The Sky is Falling”, “Looking at the Moon”, and “The Lights Go on Again”.

    And I’m delighted to see your mention of Emma Walton Hamilton’s blog and Children’s Book Hub. I can highly recommend both — Emma has taught me so much as I progress in my writing career. She is a gem!

  11. Thanks, Betsy, on behalf of BAMBOO PEOPLE!

  12. I’m torn by the horror of the Ralph Lauren thing, and giddiness over the chance to use it in my upcoming Media Literacy unit.

  13. Ancient Editor says:

    What a surprise and honor to be in Fusenews among listings that show why it’s an exciting time to be around. Thank you!

  14. Betsy Franco–that’s easy. Katie and Betsy and a bunch of others (and me!) have all been part of a small, select Internet mafia group. We knew her long before she (and her sons) became famous. We love her anyway. Or still.

    Shel alive and living in Amherst? Trust me–I’d be the first to know! Well, maybe the second. Angela DiTerlizzi would be the first and she’d tell me.

    Literary Salon? When? Where? And only if the baby comes, too!