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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fusenews: If Henry James says it’s wrong I don’t wanna be right

I swear that every time my computer goes on the fritz I feel like I’m walking underwater for days on end while it’s in the shop.  I can’t do email effectively, I can’t update Goodreads, I can’t do anything without feeling like it’s all fake until that little laptop is returned to my knees where it belongs.  It’s a sickness, man.  Not healthy in the least.  But now that it’s back I can’t help but be thrilled!  Woot and woo-hoo and other “woo” related forms of cheering. Now on to the news . . .

  • First off, I’m pilfering this next link from the always amusing and informative Jennifer Schultz.  Because I am a member of PEN here in New York I’ve been vaguely aware of the efforts to help New Orleans rebuild post-Katrina (the Children’s/Young Adult Book Authors Committee helped move an elementary school library from St. Joseph’s School in Greenwich Village, New York City, to the Martin Luther King Jr. School in New Orleans and have continued to aid that school ever since).  The New Orleans public libraries themselves haven’t been on my radar as much.  Jennifer filled me in on the matter:

“Yesterday’s Times-Picayune (New Orleans’s newspaper) had an excellent article about the rebirth of the New Orleans Public Library system, which was devastated by Hurricane Katrina. Ever since they started to rebuild the libraries, their motto has been “Building Back Better.” The NOPL libraries were okay—they’ve always had strong community programming, but there was a lot of room for improvement—but drastic improvements were never going to be in the city’s finances, until Katrina came and they had no choice but to literally start over with many of their libraries. They didn’t want to just rebuild what they had—they wanted to take this unusual and tragic opportunity to make a strong and community-oriented system for the city. They wanted to make them public transportation-friendly, since many residents rely on it, technologically savvy,  environmentally-friendly—you name it. This is their website: (The nutria is a pest —they are great at destroying wetlands-and a source of humor in Louisiana-Louisianians can have a dark sense of humor. They had a rather colorful governor  years ago who suggested that folks should hunt and eat the nutrias in order to cut down on their numbers, and they’ve been sort of a joke ever since. Nutria fur is marketed as “guilt free fur,” etc).”

Thank you, Jennifer!  Fantastic info.  I can’t wait for ALA to return and to get to see the city (and it’s libraries!) firsthand.

  • There’s a new Diary of a Wimpy Kid book coming out this November.  Kinney says the new book will involve a love interest.  That means only one thing to me: Hot Pink Wimpy Kid!  Seriously, it should be pink.  They’ve used blue twice (lame!) and it doesn’t matter what color it is since boys will read it no matter what.  Come on, Abrams!  Man up and give us a pink cover!  Do it, do it, do it . . .
  • New Blog Alert: And close to home too.  SLJ has a new blog in town and y’all might enjoy it if you’re partial to pop culture.  Connect the Pop, our newbie, is run by the multi-talented Peter Gutierrez and is described as existing “At the Intersection of pop culture, transliteracy, and critical thinking.”  To start you off I highly suggest you take a look at his Death by Media: The Hunger Games and Teen Authenticity (Part 1) which discusses a lot of the peculiarity surrounding the media hype of the film about the dangers of media hype.
  • In other Hunger Games news, the child_lit listserv recently questioned whether or not the film would make the audience essentially members of The Capitol.  Which is to say, make us root for kids to kill kids.  Judith Ridge encapsulates the discussion then tells us her own opinion of the film.  If you read no other Hunger Games assessment before you see the movie, read this one.
  • Speaking of dystopias (and is anyone speaking about anything else these days?) great article over at Kirkus on The Invisible Dystopias.  Or as they put it, “Last week, Vicky Smith, Children’s & Teen Editor, referenced Paolo Bacigalupi, speaking on the overwhelming heteronormativity of teen dystopias. We asked Bacigalupi to expand on the subject, and he graciously agreed.”  Great stuff.
  • On the light side of things, Travis Jonker has started making his spine poetry again.  The latest: The Day I Was Rich.
  • We’re still a ways off from the Newbery/Caldecott 2013 discussions (though some weirdos are already making predictions).  Still, before we go much further I think it’s important to look at one of the front runners and to figure out who the author is.  Wonder by R.J. Palacio is undoubtedly the book with the biggest buzz this year.  It’s smart, it’s clever, and the criticisms haven’t made a dent in it (if there are any).  However, here’s the thing you might not know.  R.J. Palacio is a pen name for Workman Publishing editor Raquel Jaramillo.  PW tells the story of how Jaramillo came to write the book and the type of buzz it has received.  So bear in mind that Palacio and Jaramillo are one and the same when the award season draws near so as to avoid any confusion.
  • And with awards on the brain, in bookseller news the nominees for the E.B. White Read-Aloud Awards have been released. A great selection all around.  I was surprised to see Bluefish in the MG category (we made it teen though MG is just as appropriate, I think).  If I were to pick my own choices I might go with The Cheshire Cheese Cat for the Middle Reader, Press Here for Picture Book, Brian Selznick for Most Engaging Author, and every last one of those picture books for Picture Book Hall of Fame (except The Little Engine That Could as it gives me a case of the hives).
  • “We are living in Henry James’s nightmare. He hated children’s literature and would have been appalled at the news that J.K. Rowling not only has adult readers for her Harry Potter books but is actually trying her hand at a novel for grown-ups.”  So begins the Globe and Mail article It’s all kidlit now, and that’s just fine.  An interesting take.  Thanks to PW Kids Bookshelf for the link.
  • Daily Image:

I’m not sure what you’d call this.  A Facebook meme?  A Tumblr?  I have no idea.  All I know is that people are continually updating this site with new paper sculptures all the time.  Things like . . .

And that’s just for starters.  Go on and look.  You’ll pretty much be there all day.  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. Why, thank you! You’re quite welcome.

  2. I disagree with pink Wimpy Kid. The boys who are reading those books who don’t normally read will be quickly turned off by the color, either from their own biases, or an older sibling or family member (I’ve seen parents do it) making fun of them for having a pink book. Remember, reluctant readers judge books by the cover!

    • Elizabeth Bird says

      I wouldn’t worry about it seeing as how they’ve six other colors to choose from. At this point in the game we can afford to challenge their prejudices a tad.