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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fusenews: “Don’t Let the Pigeon Die Alone”

  • I hope you all took the time to notice the magnificent One Shot World Tour: City Living conducted by any number of our best bloggers in the biz.  I had every intention of participating and then lost my head.  Fortunately there are folks out there far more reliable than myself for this kind of thing.  From historical London to alternate London, from trees in Brooklyn to blackouts there, this thing was awesome.  Chasing Ray has the round-up.  Enjoy.
  • Well sir, the National Book Award was announced two days ago.  Once again a children’s book rather than a teen novel won.  Interestingly, that book was not Gary Schmidt’s fabulous Okay for Now but the rather awesome in its own right Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai(a title that to my mind win’s The 2011 When You Reach Me Award for Most Difficult Title to Remember).  Of course, Leila Roy called what would happen when someone won.  Doggone it.
  • Ah, Nancy Drew.  Folks just can’t stop talking about you, can they?  If they’re not speculating about what might be playing on your iPod then they’re sending you back in time to the Salem Witch Trials.  Buck up, kid.  It could be worse.  You could be Cherry Ames.
  • Re: Racism and colonialism in Pippi Longstocking, what she said.
  • Fun Fact: The American Folklore Society has an award.  It’s called The Aesop Prize and it’s awarded by the Children’s Folklore Section of the society.  This year the award went to Trickster: Native American Tales – A Graphic Collection, which I agree was extraordinary.  So naturally I was curious about what the previous winners had been.  Amusingly in 2010 the award went to Joha Makes a Wish by Eric A. Kimmel.  In 2009 it went to Dance, Nana, Dance (Baila, Nana, Baila) by Joe Hayes, and in 2008 it was Ain’t Nothing But a Man: My Quest to Find the Real John Henry by Scott Reynolds Nelson.  You can see the full list, and the many honorable mentions, here if you’re curious.  For that matter, if you’ve a children’s work of folklore published in 2011 or 2012 and you want it to be considered for this prize, check out the Prize Review Criteria.
  • So I’ve been beating my head against a wall the last few months trying desperately to get folks to comment on Jefferson’s Sons by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley as a Newbery contender.  Until now I had very little luck.  Then, this week, goldmine!  True, folks aren’t necessarily as taken with it as I am, but at least they’re discussing it.  For some criticism check out Monica Edinger’s Thoughts on Newbery Historical Fiction, Slavery, and Didacticism, Jonathan Hunt’s thoughts, and Nina Lindsay’s.  All three of these, for the record, are critical of the book.  For the record, I take offense to anyone suggesting that the only reason I like this book is because I like the message.  I’ve a low didacticism tolerance, and Baker’s book caught my eye not solely for the subject matter but due to the keen writing.  Indeed the discussions are flying fast and furious, a sign that there is much to chew on here.  This is a good thing for a Newbery candidate.  Indeed, I’m watching all of this quite closely.  The book will definitely be part of the discussion with the real Newbery committee, you betcha.
  • Oh.  I wrote a review for The New York Times last Sunday.  Cause that’s how I roll.

I’ve a future blog post in the works speculating as to why it is that there is a single area of the country that seemingly sports more authors and illustrators of children’s books than any other.  Until my ruminations see the light, however, you are going to just have to enjoy Rich Michelson’s recap of The 22nd Annual Children’s Illustration Exhibit in the meantime.  At a certain point the sheer number of names begin to strike you as almost ridiculous.  Great visuals.

I don’t normally read the “Deals” part of Publishers Weekly but this week I’m glad I did.  And I quote:

HMH Gets Last Title in Lowry’s ‘Giver’ Series

In another major children’s deal, Margaret Raymo at Houghton Mifflin Books for Children bought world rights to Son, the fourth title in Lois Lowry’s canonical YA series, the Giver Quartet. Phyllis Westberg at Harold Ober represented the Newbery-winning Lowry, who, according to HMH, has sold more than 11 million books. The first book in the series, The Giver, came out in 1993 and won the Newbery Medal the following year; it follows an 11-year-old named Jonas living in a futuristic utopian society that evolves into a more dystopian world. Gabriel, a central character from the series, who also appeared in that first book, is the subject of Son, which introduces readers to his mother. (In The Giver, Gabriel is an orphan who is raised by Jonas’s family.) The Son is scheduled for fall 2012.”

  • And the write-ups of James Kennedy’s 90-Second Newbery just keep on coming.  First up, the Likely Stories blog at Booklist interviewed him about the series as well as the kick-ass presentation at NYPL.  Then the Ossining Public Library reported on our event, including a picture of me that makes me look like I’m in the middle of singing The National Anthem.  Travis Jonker said that Scieszka’s tux was the “sartorial equivalent of a mullet – business up top, party on the bottom.”  And Angela at Tredyffrin Kids offered her own recap as well.
  • Motherreader reviews her first app, and it’s appropriately enough the Don’t Let the Pigeon one that was recently released.  She offers a good layman’s take on encountering such a beast.  When I saw the trailer for the app I was initially incensed that Jon Scieszka (he of the aforementioned tux mullet) didn’t do the bus driver’s voice.  Turns out, he was offered the chance but was too busy.  See, kids?  That’s where assumptions will getcha.
  • Y’all know that I hold a special soft spot in my heart for the Highlights Foundation (and not just because I bear an eerie physical similarity to the doofus Goofus).  Well they happen to hold a little something called the Whole Novel Workshop once a year that just sounds lovely.  The next one is being led by Helen Hemphill with writers (like Kathi Appelt), editors, and agents to help up and coming authors with their manuscript revisions.  Anyway, the deadline to sign up is Dec. 21.  Sounds like fun, yes yes?
  • Daily Image:

It’s a mystery.  It involves libraries.  And it contains many tiny book sculptures that look like this:

Big time thanks to Katie Davis for this 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. Another GIVER novel!!!! Oh, my goodness. I guess I knew it was a quartet, but I’d forgotten… wow, we’ll have to reread the whole thing once it’s out.

  2. Helen Hemphill is wonderful. That workshop is going to be terrific!

  3. Thanks for orgainizing the 90-Second Newbery Film Festival. We had a great time & thanks for linking to our blog.