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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fusenews: Shelve the books but shelve them slant

  • “I just finished a poem where St. Francis and St. Clare double-date with Thoreau and Evita and it just makes me very happy.”  My mother was the winner of the 2011 Prairie Schooner Book Prize because she is as good as it gets.  No brag.  Just fact.  Prairie Schooner recently interviewed her as well and I recommend looking at it, partly because this my mother we’re talking about and she makes me very proud and partly because it raises the old interview bar, so to speak.  Clearly I need to put more work into my own.
  • Once in a great while my husband’s occupation and my own will intersect.  He is a screenwriter and will alert me to interesting news items on the cinematic side of things.  This week he pointed me to a ScriptShadow piece.  If you are unfamiliar with the site it’s where a fellow going by the name of “Carson Reeves” reads and reviews the scripts that have recently sold in Hollywood and critiques them long before they are turned into films.  Each Friday Carson has something he calls Amateur Friday where folks submit their own screenplays for his review.  Last Friday someone handed in a script called Fifi, A Monkey’s Tale.  Those of you familiar with the story behind Curious George will recognize this as the original title of that manuscript.  The script essentially tells the tale of the Reys’ escape from the Nazis in WWII.  Only to punch it up a bit the screenwriter (and I kinda love this) rewrote history so that Goebbels himself wants Mr. Rey destroyed.  Something you have to see for yourself, I think.
  • Do you like awards?  Do you like children’s books that come from countries other than America?  Well then, folks, have I got great news from you.  After her recent trip to Italy to judge the awards, Jules at 7-Imp let me know that the winners have been announced:

The 2012 Bologna Ragazzi Awards have just been announced! Here are links for interested folks:

Fiction winner and mentions:;
Nonfiction winner and mentions:;
New Horizons winner and mentions:;
Opera Prima winner and mentions (Opera Prima is for new artists):

  • I long for the day Save NYC Libraries can be shut down, but until that happy day occurs it’s a hugely useful and well-organized site for fighting mayoral cuts.  Recently the mayor rolled out his old budget again and yep.  You guessed it.  We’re on the chopping block.  Check out the stats.
  • What I find so interesting about the piece What If Pokemon Had Been Designed By Golden Books? is that it just takes for granted that Little Golden Books aesthetic that has stood it in such good stead.  Plus it includes a jackalope, and you all know how much I like those.
  • Good news for science fiction fans!  The 2011 Nebula Awards Nominees have just been announced and there are some fine child and teen inclusions:

Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy Book

  • Ultraviolet, R.J. Anderson (Orchard UK; Carolrhoda)
  • Chime, Franny Billingsley (Dial)
  • The Girl of Fire and Thorns, Rae Carson (Greenwillow; Gollancz as Fire and Thorns)
  • The Boy at the End of the World, Greg van Eekhout (Bloomsbury USA)
  • Everybody Sees the Ants, A.S. King (Little, Brown)
  • Akata Witch, Nnedi Okorafor (Viking)
  • The Freedom Maze, Delia Sherman (Big Mouth House)
  • Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Laini Taylor (Little, Brown)
  • You’ll notice the inclusion of Greg van Eekhout’s 2011 title in there.  Back in 2011 I liked the book but took issue with the cover.  A recent reader pointed out that Greg addresses this, making it very clear that it is not a case of whitewashing.  Worthy reading.

Recently I whipped up a piece comparing and contrasting US Vs. UK book jackets for child and teen books.  Sometimes other folks do something similar without prompting.  The 2012 title A Boy and a Bear in a Boat by Dave Shelton (a book I wish they sold as “It’s The Life of Pi but with a tea-sipping bear instead of a man-eating tiger”) has a vastly different look when you cross the wide Atlantic Ocean.  A great piece at Caustic Cover Critic says it all.  Thanks to Jules for the link!

I have four words for you: International Edible Book Festival.  My work here is done.

Speaking of contests of one sort or another, have you been watching the 100 Scope Notes Battle of the Bad Bookmarks?  Or, as I like to call it, on beyond bacon.

I like to pay attention to weirdo trends in books for kids but serious trends are the ones worth watching closely.  That’s why we should all be grateful to Susan Marston for giving us the 411 on trends in books for kids and teens in 2012.  Add all of that to your reading list STAT!

  • Maybe it’s akin to shooting fish in a barrel but what’s not to love about a Huffington piece called Most Controversial Judy Blume Books?  I think you’ll find the cover choices particularly amusing.  Thanks to AL Direct for the link.
  • Let’s just say that if you’re a public library and you want to be able to provide ebooks to your readers, OverDrive is looking less and less fine and cheery these days.  A recent piece on Collections = Connection gives a good overview of some alternatives out there.
  • There are plenty of awards and grants out there for authors who are publishing their first books.  So what about those folks who have published before and are now having difficulty finding anyone who wants to produce their work?  Jane Yolen and SCBWI have created a grant for what they are calling “midlist authors”. To find out how to apply for one, more info can be found here.
  • Nickelodeon recently announced the nominees for the 25th Annual Kid’s Choice Awards.  The “Book” category, however, is pretty bloodless.  It includes: “Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, Harry Potter series, Hunger Games series, Twilight series”.  Look, I love HP as much as the next guy, but seriously?  There are other books out there, guys.
  • Daily Image:

In the event that I wish to drive myself insane, I now have the perfect bookshelves to install in my home.

On the other hand, imagine the money I’d save on bookends! Thanks to Aunt Judy 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. Your mom is, as always, kind of amazing. I aspire to her grasp of the sestina…

  2. And all this time I have been here in Kalamazoo reading about and admiring yet another astonishingly good writer from the Kalamazoo area… I never knew. I can see your mother in you. Wear that pride proudly!

    • Elizabeth Bird says

      Thanks, Tanita! And Ed, if you ever stopped by the Athena Bookshop back in the day you would have run into her. These days she does do some work with the libraries. FYI!

  3. Thanks, too, for posting the various award lists–I always appreciate seeing what is available internationally (and then become seriously miffed that we don’t have places close to my home that will have the actual books).

  4. Loved Athena and visited often. Was sad to see it go away. I’m sure I must have had several conversations with you mom (and George Hebben). The staff in general was excellent and they also provided all the books for the KPL events.

  5. I loved the interview with your mom. She is very funny and poetic. One of my favorite lines was the following:

    “English is in a constrant thrash, and trying to hang onto its tail can make for a fine ride as long as you have friends who will occasionally look over their glasses at you and say “No. Just … no.”