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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fusenews: Who reviews the reviewers?

I was saddened to learn of the death of children’s author Georgess McHargue on Monday, July 18th.  It seems that this was a death our community missed and I am sorry for it.  Ms. McHargue penned many a fine children’s novel, but my favorite would have to be Stoneflight, a tale of New York City’s statuary come to life.  According to her obituary, “After working at Golden Press, Georgess became an editor at Doubleday. In her long career as an author, she published 35 books, many are for young adults, some focused on archaeology, mythology and history. She was nominated for a National Book Award for The Beasts of Never, and wrote many reviews over the years for the NY Times Book Review.”  Jane Yolen was a friend of hers and alerted me to her passing.  Thank you, Jane, for letting us know.  She was a brilliant writer.

  • Diane Roback, now I doff my hat to you.  The recent PW article on Colorful Characters is a boon to the industry.  I dare say it’s brilliant.  One does wonder how Walter Mayes, who is not old, feels about being included amongst the dead and elderly.  I hope he enjoys it!  Being known as a “colorful character” will keep folks talking about you (and writing about you) for decades to come.
  • That’s cool. Zetta Elliott had a chance to interview and profile Jacqueline Woodson in Ms. Magazine‘s blog recently.  Good title too: Writing Children’s Books While Black and Feminist.  The part where she’s asked to name “five other black LGBTQ authors of children’s literature” is telling.  I don’t know that I could either.
  • Living as we do in an essentially disposable society, Dan Blank’s piece on Preserving Your Legacy: Backing Up Your Digital Media makes for necessary reading.  As someone who has lost countless photos and files through my own negligence, this piece rings true to me.  Particularly the part where Dan says he makes sure that “Once a day, I backup my photo library onto an external hard drive.”  Anthony Horowitz once told me the same thing.  How’s THAT for name dropping, eh eh?
  • Jobs!  Jobs in the publishing industry!  Jobs I say!
  • And much along the same lines, were you aware that there’s a group out there made up entirely of youngsters who are entering the publishing industry?  At 33 I reserve the right to call twenty-somethings “youngsters”.  I am also allowed to shake my cane at them and use phrases like “whippersnappers” and “hooligans”.  But I digress.  The Children’s Book Council has an Early Career Committee responsible for, amongst other things, the yearly Trivia Challenge that makes me drool with envy (no librarians attend).  Interested?  “If you are an employee of a CBC member publisher and you would like to be added to the ECC mailing list, please e-mail Mary or Rachel.”  In the meantime, check out this piece about the committee and its Harry Potter love by Abrams called Navigating the Children’s Book Council (with Harry Potter in tow).
  • As you read this I may be chowing down on delicious scones at Alice’s Tea Cup with Liz from Tea Cozy, Pam from MotherReader, and one of my two co-authors, Jules from Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast (unable to attend ECC events I find my awesome hangouts where I may).  Jules, for the record, recently posted the following statement: “I feel like I should say something dramatic here, such as, if you read any one 7-Imp post this year, let it be this one. And that’s because today I’m shining the spotlight on the folks at, a bi-weekly magazine connecting literacy and the visual arts.”  I’m sold.  In fact, just to stand with her in solidarity I’ll post one of the videos she located, giving a bit more information about the group:

Go, people making a difference!  And go Jules for highlighting them as beautifully as she has here.

  • Oh me.  Oh my.  Awful Library Books is calling this post 80s Teen Fiction, but I can guarantee you that there’s probably more than one children’s room in the country that has some of these in their children’s section.  Never have I felt so fortunate that my teenagerhood coincided perfectly with the beginning of the 90s (Christopher Pike all the way, baby).  Still, it’s hard to tear my eyes away from these, particularly the Spinelli.

Thanks to bookshelves of doom for the link.

  • New Blog Alert: And this one’s a doozy!  Let’s say that you want the 411 on all the new nonfiction coming out for kids this year, but you don’t want to seek ’em out yourself.  Meet the newest (as of April) blog in town: The Nonfiction Detectives.  Reasons I like the blog: 1. A subject covered only spottily by other blogs.  2.  A great sidebar that shows all the other nonfiction blogs for kids out there that I know of (all three).  3.  A ratings system… which is a little two-faced of me since I don’t do such a system on this blog but . . ah well.  Definitely check them out and seek their sources.  They’ve a good sense of worthy titles.
  • I wrote a thing.  An article for SLJ type thing.  A thing that interviews Susan Marston of the Junior Library Guild.  That kind of thing.  She discusses some of the best books she’s seen, so you can bet that I started hitting up the publishers when I got wind of what she liked.  I’m also intrigued by one of the comments.  Barbara O’Connor has a new one coming out called On The Road To Mr. Mineo’s?  I suspect that’s 2012, but when it’s available sign me up!
  • How I Spent My Summer Vacation: Lounging about the apartment with a baby reading books for 9-year-olds.  Awesome.  How Monica Edinger of Educating Alice Spent Her Summer Vacation: In freakin’ Sierra Leone followed by trips to places like The Story Museum in the company of Philip Pullman (she doesn’t mention that fact because she is modest but it’s true!).  She officially wins the 2011 Badass Children’s Literary Trip Award, throwing my frolic in Bologna out the window.  Be sure to also check out her fascinating recap of Some (Many) Spring 2012 Books I Am Eager to See.
  • I’m not sure when it was that I first realized that authors write reviews of one another for publications like The New York Times and such.  Is that a great idea?  Over at Salon Lev Grossman (who wrote that Rowling-esque adult novel The Magicians) doesn’t think so.  “Being a novelist demands arrogance . . . To be a good critic, you have to be humble.”  Huh.  Don’t think I’ve ever been called “humble” myself, so I’m not so sure I agree with that one.  But definitely check out the piece.  It has a lot of interesting things to say, like why the adult book review editor of the Times prefers to send to novels to authors rather than professional critics.
  • Oh man.  The Hub has my number.  I think I’ve been using the phrase “dystopian” and “post-apocalyptic” interchangeably for a while now.  Bad, Betsy!  No cookie for you.  Thanks to The Hub for clarifying the matter.
  • Daily Image:

Sometimes I should just do more than one Fusenews a week.  I say that because I think about four people sent me the following link within days of one another.  Now that I’m posting it, it’s kind of old news.  I don’t care since it’s awesome.  If you haven’t seen Flavorwire’s Minimalist Posters of Your Favorite Children’s Stories then you are missing out.  I like to slowly scroll down through each image to guess what it is before I read the title.  That worked well until I got to this one:

Thanks to mom, Mia, Mel and everyone else 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. Quick correction: Georgess McHargue got her NBA nomination for THE IMPOSSIBLE PEOPLE, not THE BEASTS OF NEVER.

    • Elizabeth Bird says

      Good catch, Peter! And bad show, oh obituary writer.

      Colleen, I think you’re in the clear. Unless your son starts colonizing other kids’ sandboxes “for their own good”. Then at least you know who to blame.

  2. Wow. Now that I know I was being manipulated by a “band of hippie hammer-lovers” or imperialist loving trains I don’t think I’ll look back on my son’s early childhood the same again. Although honestly, he just loved the trains and talking construction vehicles. Is that sooooo bad???

  3. Walter Mayes says

    I am absolutely thrilled to be a Colorful Character and honored to be among such greats!

  4. Genevieve says

    Love the Children’s Book Council Harry Potter link! I am totally going to name a local trivia team That’s So Ravenclaw, if the originators wouldn’t mind.
    (And as I’m headed to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios this weekend, I’ll look for a chance to use the phrase.)

  5. Love the minimalist posters, especially the ones for The Princess and the Pea and The Wizard of Oz (though it was missing ‘home’). Thanks for the link.

  6. Is that Spinelli cover supposed to be about a boy and his older triplet brothers? Or did the illustrator have only the one model and not enough imagination to change somebody’s hair color?

  7. Thanks so much for mentioning my post. I’m thrilled! And that cover is obviously a young Henry Winkler, dreaming of being the Fonz.

  8. Elliott posted the full and unedited interview with Woodson in two parts on her blog. Its a must read if you like the profile in Ms. Magazine

  9. Speaking of youngsters to publishing, the AAP has been sponsoring the Young to Publishing Group for 10 years now! I really enjoyed it when I was a newly minted editorial assistant in New York in the early 2000s and hopefully it’s still helpful for other newbies. Check it out at:

  10. You might appreciate today’s drawing lesson on how to draw bunnies:
    (and note that Simone Lia, as well as Oliver Jeffers in his post (Same series) on how to draw penguins…. both compare various appendages to sausages). Ah, the UK. Not sure our american illustrators would use the same analogy.