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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fusenews: And I’m floating in a most peculiar way

With the publication of Selnick’s Wonderstruck this first link seems appropriate*.  Would-be children’s book illustrators take note.  If you’ve never done a book for kids and you want to get noticed, why not take your favorite David Bowie song and make it child-appropriate?  To the best of my knowledge Andrew Kolb has never done a published children’s book, though I wouldn’t be surprised if someone like Little, Brown were to tap him.  And when he turned Bowie’s Space Oddity into a picture book on his site the results were nothing short of gorgeous.  Not to say heartbreaking.  Besides, how can’t you help but like a guy that has a site called Spiderman is Neat?

  • The Cybils are nigh upon us!  Each year the children’s and YA literary bloggers join forces and rate all the books for children worth reading.  This year is no different, and there is a new category: apps!  Which is all well and good, but folks have been signing up to judge the other older categories far more often, leaving the poor apps category alone.  Have a blog about books for youth?  Join now and correct the problem!  Just fill out this application form and look at the CYBIL website for more info before the September 15th deadline!
  • Here in New York City, Hurricane Irene came and went.  In my tiny part of Harlem we were, by luck, entirely unaffected.  The biggest problem we faced was a severe lack of tasty treats at the local Starbucks.  Oh, the pain, the pain!! Author Kate Messner has a book out next year on a different kind of storm. (Futuristic tornadoes? I am so there!!)  In the meantime Kate posted an invitation before Hurricane Irene to  those in its path to “write or draw or otherwise create art during the storm, and to share it online as a communal art-making experience.”  The responses came in from authors and illustrators everywhere and Kate has linked to them all on her website.  Check it.
  • I’ve decided that the hardest part of writing a book isn’t the actual writing part.  It’s the part where you have to come up with a title (Jules, Peter, you know what I’m talking about, right?).  Well Phil Nel has a novel notion.  He’s written a dual biography of Crockett Johnson and Ruth Krauss.  Now he’s asking you, the general populace, to come up with a name.  Write something great that he picks and you win a signed copy of the book.  The deadline in this is September 7th.  I don’t get a vote but some of the titles I liked the most was “Crayon and Pen”.
  • Um… can I go live in Mr. Schu’s library now?  Puh-leeeze?  (It’s the urinals that slay me)
  • I’m feeling pretty puffed up over finding that old Slate article, I gotta tell you.  It took a while to locate, though, so I just don’t have the energy to do the same for Robert Lipsyte’s Boys and Reading – Is There Any Hope? piece (also in The Times).  I know there have been multiple articles along very similar lines over the years (years heck, decades!) but . . . meh.  In any case, the belief in problems that occur ostensibly because women rule the industry is by no means new.  Now The Rejectionist tackles the Lipsyte article and offers one in kind.  And so it goes.
  • You know how sometimes a baseball player will pitch a perfect game?  Well that’s how I feel about a recent post over at 100 Scope Notes.  It’s posts like that that put my Fusenews to shame.  Every item in there was interesting.  Dang.
  • It’s never too early to produce a Best Books List of a given . . . wait a sec… *check calendar*  Seriously, folks?  In August?  The 2011 ABC Best Books for Children Catalog Title List Preview is up, you see.  And I respect that, but how can you come up with a best books list this early in the year?  Seriously, you read everything?  Because any list that doesn’t include Jefferson’s Sons, The Unforgotten Coat, Witches, and other fall releases makes me raise this left eyebrow of mine up at least half a millimeter.  Then again, I must be missing something here.  Otherwise how could The Strange Case of Origami Yoda end up on a 2011 list?  Maybe it’s something like June ’10 to June ’11?  Thanks to Harold Underdown for the link.
  • In other ABC news is the ABC New Voices 2011 list.  Definitely some folks on there I’m happy to see. Jonathan Auxier, of course, and I hear good things about this Tess Hilmo gal.  Still, I might have to insist that they should have included Ms. Thanhha Lai.  That Inside Out and Back Again of hers had all the markings of a great debut.
  • The standard line with kids and books that are or are not appropriate is that most child readers are self-censoring.  Which is to say, they read what they want and skip the stuff they’re not ready for.  Author Kelly Barnhill (did I mention recently that her book The Mostly True Adventures of Jack is Newbery-worthy?)  has a great personal post on this topic called On Appropriateness (and the lack thereof)(and learning not to worry about it).  I’ll have to remember it when Baby Bird someday starts plucking books off of my “grown-up” shelf.  Thanks to Kate Messner for the link.
  • Does the term “Bridge to Books” mean anything to you?  If not, you need to start reading this.  Basically it’s the idea of using books for kids for good instead of evil.  Many thanks to Alyson Beecher for the link.
  • Need a job?  Want to work at The Eric Carle Museum (who doesn’t?).  Have any teaching experience?  Well, have I got good news for you.
  • New Blog Alert: Oh wow!  Oh wowie wow wow!  At long last my goal to find children’s literary blogs worldwide begins to come together.  I had Italy and England taken care of long since.  Now Popop is the very first French children’s book blog I’ve seen to date!  And I find that my rudimentary high school French lets me stumble through it well enough.  For example, in the sidebar I can see some links to other French children’s book blogs like Alors, ςa bulle? (which covers animation, education, and art as well as books for kids), Citrouille, blog des Libraries Sorcières (with a review of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas that I’m pretty sure I agree with), Dans le sac d’Olga, and more.  Wow.  Fantastic.  Thanks to 100 Scope Notes for the link.
  • The ultimate list of golems in child and teen novels?  Look no further than Marjorie Ingalls’ piece in Tablet. It’s a pretty complete list.  I might add this year’s The Wikkeling by Steven Arntson which, while not technically a golem, shares many of its characteristics (particularly in its creation).
  • Daily Image:

You could go mad trying to keep up with Stencil Nation‘s photostream.  Once in a while, though, it yields something of children’s literary interest.  Like so:

Off to rewatch Exit Through the Gift Shop now.

*Remember the Major Tom reference in Wonderstruck?  Well there you go.  I make my connections where I may.

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. Wow! Space Oddity is gorgeous!

    If we’re picture-book-izing David Bowie, I call dibs on “The Laughing Gnome!”

  2. Betsy: you may not get a vote, but you’re welcome to contribute! And I appreciate the idea you sent in (via email) a year or so back: A Book is to Tell: The Unconventional Lives of Crockett Johnson and Ruth Krauss. I’ve received variants on that via the blog & FB — so, clearly, adopting the syntax of A Hole Is to Dig resonates with people!

  3. Wowie. Thanks for the CYBIL tidbit and the inclusion of apps this year. This is exciting news! App-land is such a wild west frontier. It will be great to see what books bubble to the top.

  4. lisainberlin says

    For your collection of foriegn blogs: Recognize Mr. Holzwarth?

    • Elizabeth Bird says

      Woot! Germany!

      Um . . . nope. I should recognize him, shouldn’t I? A hint, Lisa?

  5. David Bowie’s Kooks would make an awesome picture book! I can see it as an adoption story for a toddler, or a book with more complicated pictures about an older kid who wants to run away after a bad day at school.

    And now I so want to read Philip Nel’s book.

    And thanks for the shout-out.

    And now I want half those stencils on that time-suck site as tattoos. I HATE YOU, BETSY

  6. I am so excited about the Bowie book I’m worried my head might explode like a friggin’ nebula. So, so, so awesome, I might have to buy a million copies. Or one copy that I read to my son a million times.

    Thanks so much for the mention of my odd little post, and for the link! (Also for saying Nice Things about my book! Does that ever get old? Please, please tell me it never gets old!)

  7. I’ll never forget babysitting when I was 19 or 20 and seeing Talking Head’s “Stay Up Late” as a picture book. At the time, I sneered — for I was in the unpleasant habit of sneering at everything. But now I can herald Space Oddity in all its glory — and admit I liked “Stay Up Late,” too!

    So glad you gave a shout-out to my local dynamo Alyson Beecher and Bridge to Books. Their new organization has already brought together so many librarians, bloggers, bookseller, teachers, parents and kids in marvelously fun and inventive ways with the common goal of exciting kids about reading. I hope it can be replicated in other places, so people outside Pasadena/Los Angeles can benefit, as well. Thanks for mentioning it!

  8. So much to read and so little time… I am thrilled to have found the links to posts about kid’s own socio-economic status reflected in their literature. Something so important that I admit to not having thought so much about…

  9. lisainberlin says

    Holzwarth wrote an award winning book which provoked a discussion at 7 imp about American squeamishness…I think you mentioned it in your blog. In his blog, Holzwarth asks famous German children’s book people to introduce their favorite book. The writer featured now wrote a title called” Cowboy Klaus and the Farting Pony “for early readers. Oops, there we go again!

    • Elizabeth Bird says

      Oh HO! THAT Holzwarth! How quickly we forget. My goodness me, and he blogs as well? I think I’m in love.

  10. Regarding Major Tom. 1) Bowie needed to be asked first for copyright approval. 2) Any poser can be an astronaut in cyberspace 3) The link was pulled I heard due to copyright infringement 4) Back door closed. 4 = my favorite.

    • Elizabeth Bird says

      Well OF COURSE it’s against copyright! Why do you think it was all online and not a real book? That’s pretty cheap of Bowie and Co. to make him blur out all the references, though. This is why I hate copyright law sometimes. If anyone tries to do something original they get shot down lickety-split, even if they’re not selling anything. That was a fun idea done for the amusement of the masses and they had to get all nitpicky. Boo-urns.

  11. Thanks for the info on the foreign Children’s Book blogs. I can’t seem to get the links for England or Italy to work though. 🙁

    • Elizabeth Bird says

      Huh! Not sure what happened there. In any case, they should work now. Thanks for the heads up!

  12. I haven’t checked in here for a while and wondered if you had replied. When someone lifts your work as their own you will grow to love the copyright law. Any poser can be an astronaut in cyberspace these days. The correct thing was to ASK FIRST about the copyright. Bowie doesn’t need this guy for any publicity, it’s a cheap shot from the artist who is looking for publicity. It’s lifting and when you display the lift to the world it’s going to get caught.

  13. David Ziegler says

    Thanks again, Betsy, for those restored links and the French and German book blogs. One friend already used the German site, and I’m waiting to hear from a librarian who’s a French speaker on the other one. Kudos as always!