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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fusenews: Straw waist-coats and sheet-iron cravats

Like the wind!  Faster than lightning!  Lots of news and no time to tell it.  In brief . . .

Oh, how cool!  This is not to be missed.  For those of you with an interest in children’s literature around the globe, the blog Playing by the Book offers this fantastic view of children’s literary destinations in Denmark.  That Little Mermaid statue is worth the price of the flight alone.

Travis Jonker of 100 Scope Notes was kind enough to stop by my library the other week to say howdy.  He recounts his time near the library lions in the post Fuse Live! Cheers, mate!

I was pleased to see James Kennedy post a new entry for the 90-Second Newbery Film Festival that will be held at New York Public Library this November.  Of course we need more, people. MORE!  If you know any creative kids who would be interested in distilling a Newbery winning book down to 90 seconds, please do not hesitate to read the rules here and have them submit.  We must have more!

  • Shocking news!  Old children’s books used to contain more male characters than female!  Well, maybe not all that shocking.  Thanks to Abigail Gobel for the link.
  • A similar article pointed out that the number of characters with disabilities as portrayed in Newbery books is not equal to the number of children in the real world who “attend special education classes”.  The report appears to look at the whole of Newebery winners from the past to today.  It does acknowledge that things have gotten better, though, so I’m a bit confused about the point of it all.  If books today do a much better job than books in the past, isn’t that the point?
  • In other news, the picture book is not dead.  Nor is it about to be supplanted by apps or anything with spangles and whizzbangs.  Allyn Johnston and Marla Frazee explain more.
  • The Detroit Public Library recently came under fire for its new renovation.  The concern is how much was spent on a single library wing ($2.3 million) while neighborhood branches close.  More info here.  Thanks to Aunt Judy for the link.

Author of the Year: Rick Riordan for The Lost Hero

Illustrator of the Year: David Wiesner for Art & Max

K-2nd Grade Book of the Year: Little Pink Pup by Johanna Kerby

3-4th Grade Book of the Year: Lunch Lady and the Summer Camp Shakedown by Jarrett J. Krosoczka

5-6th Grade Book of the Year: The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan

Teen Choice Book of the Year: Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan

You can see pictures of the event here.

  • I always look forward to Elizabeth Bluemle’s round-up of all the starred reviews given to children’s books in the current year, if only because it gives me a sense of what to read that I may have missed.  Last year, for example, I doubt I would have picked up the marvelous Kakapo Rescue without learning about it through her round-up.  This year, however, Elizabeth points out that for a lot of reasons stars don’t really matter.  So should she keep compiling lists of them?  I didn’t weigh in there, but I know that for my own personal needs her lists are very useful.  Obviously I don’t restrict myself to only reading starred books, but as a librarian it’s a great way of putting your finger on the pulse of what folks are recommending out there.  Offer your own opinion to Elizabeth on the subject here.
  • The Oz Enthusiast solves a mystery relating to a quote from original Wonderful Wizard of Oz illustrator W.W. Denslow.  There are few things I love more than original bloggy research. Thanks to Oz and Ends for the link.
  • Oh, how cool!  NPR highlighted the fact that Peter and the Wolf is turning 75.  We’ve only about three different versions circulating in my own particular branch.  Do you have a favorite?  Personally, I like Peter but I’d probably hand a teacher The Composer Is Dead if they wanted something a little more contemporary.  Thanks to Lisa for the link.
  • Lauren Barack at SLJ offered an interesting post called KidLit-er’s Manhattan, SLJ’s BEA Guide where she gives you a list of some of the good places to visit if you’re in town for the conference next week.  Of course she mentions coming by my library (big stone lions and all) but fails to mention either the Children’s Center or the presence of Winnie-the-Pooh.  Seems an odd slip.  Also, watch out for those Bemelmans Bar martinis.  They may look nice, but pricey doesn’t even begin to describe them.  There’s a reason we’ve never had a Kidlit Drink Night in that location.  Instead, why don’t you check out the events happening in conjunction with The Centennial here at NYPL.  Lots of cool things will be going on that you might want to visit.  FYI.
  • Speaking of NYPL, big time congrats to our own Jack Martin for winning the YALSA Presidency!!  You’ve hit the big time, Jack.  Remember the little people as you go.
  • News nerd that I am, I was pleased as punch to discover that IBBY had just announced the 2012 Hans Christian Andersen Award Jury.  Well done getting on there, Ernie Bond!  That’s a gig I’d love to have someday.  Imagine getting to look at all the great children’s authors and illustrators of the world at once.
  • Guys Lit Wire is having a book fair for the Ballou Senior High School and Powell’s Book Store is helping.  You can help out too, if you’ve half a mind to do so.  It’s a great cause and they definitely need the books.  I think I’ll try sending them some of the ones I’ve gotten through my reviewing.  YA, after all, is not my bag.  This book fair is.
  • Congrats to Brenda Bowen, agent extraordinaire, for her appearance on Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me recently.  I nearly broke a finger trying to get my computer to go back so that I could confirm that it was really her.  Granted, they weren’t particularly nice to her (pulling out the old “anybody could make a picture book” line is always galling) but she handled ’em like the pro she is.  Well played, madam!  That makes two children’s literary types (Charles and Emma‘s Deborah Heiligman won thanks to the Village People last year) that I’ve heard mentioned on the show.
  • You know what librarians love?  Good booklists!  With that in mind, check out the answer to your prayers.  I often get folks in my library looking for “good multicultural picture books”.  We’ve been making up a list to meet this need, but how much easier my job is when other sites do it for me.  Over at Delightful Children’s Books is a great list of picture books to allow you to Read Around the World.  There’s even a related site specifically for librarians.  Will I be saving this list at work?  You bet your sweet bippy I will.  This is great stuff.
  • Daily Image:

So what you’re telling me is that there are beds out there made to look like books?  And that you can sleep in them?

Sign me up!  And thanks to mom 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. Aah Peter and the Wolf! I reviewed several picture book versions here: I can’t recommend Susie Templeton’s animated version of Peter and the Wolf enough ( It completely revived the piece of music for me. Thanks for linking to Playing by the book – have you seen my “visits” to the other Nordic countries?

    • Elizabeth Bird says:

      Nay, but I will now. A collected list would be superb. It’s all theoretical for most of us here in the States, but for those who travel it might prove invaluable. Cheers!

  2. Karen Ulric says:

    Funny. that’s the exact cover on my copy of “Starring Sally J. Freeman As Herself.”

  3. Karen, mine too! (And it took me till I was an adult to notice/get the Jewishness of the whole Freedman family. Sometimes we white Midwesterners are slow.)

  4. Genevieve says:

    That’s the cover I had too. And I liked this because this was about as contemporary as a Jewish family got in the books I had growing up (compared to All-of-a-Kind Family) and the family sounded like people I knew.

  5. As Karen and EM says, that’s the cover that was on my copy of Sally J. Freedman too! I think mine even has the same wrinkles. 🙂

  6. Thanks for putting up the entry I received for “Where the Mountain Meets the Moon”! (In fact, just today I received ANOTHER entry for Grace Lin’s book — done entirely with shadow puppets — I’ll share it soon!)

    Today I put up 2 more 90-Second Newbery entries I’ve received — a really great “Witch of Blackbird Pond” and another rendition of “A Wrinkle in Time.” I’m getting really excited for this festival!

  7. Thanks so much for recommending the Read Around the World booklists, Elizabeth! I didn’t notice this until now.