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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fusenews: To lose one author may be regarded as a misfortune. To lose dozens looks like carelessness.

At this point you just have to start throwing your hands up in the air.  Then you have to start eyeing some of the older children’s authors and illustrators who are still around with great trepidation.  We’ve been host to a SLEW of deaths already this year, but August is making May look like it wasn’t even trying.  This month we’ve seen Jean Merrill (The Pushcart War and The Toothpaste Millionaire), Remy Charlip (Fortunately and a cameo in Brian Selznick’s The Invention of Hugo Cabret), Mollie Hunter (The Sound of Chariots is a real pip though I always liked her supernatural fantasies like The Mermaid Summer), and Jose Aruego (why have so few mentioned that the illustrator behind books like Gregory the Terrible Eater and Leo the Late Bloomer passed away?).  All right, universe!  We get it!  We art mortal.  We remember.  Now enough with the death-like stuff.  Seriously, it’s getting old at this point.

  • Sure, we can go back and forth all day about whether or not Charlotte’s Web should really have been voted (twice) as the best children’s novel of all time on my poll.  But why bother when Book Aunt does the questioning for us?  A good post to get the old gray cells running.
  • Now I find this to be a better idea than those videoed librarian previews publishers sometimes attempt.  Nothing can be duller than watching talking heads talk about books, even if the books aren’t out yet.  But reading a cool PDF with the inside scoop on titles you’ve yet to see?  Now you’re talking.  Chronicle Books has released a PDF of their Fall 2012 books preview , and it includes fun little insights that go even further into the future like this:

  • It wasn’t long ago that I helped conduct a panel on The Rockin’ Women of YA.  Long story short, I didn’t screw it up!  To appreciate the degree to which I didn’t screw it up, you can read a recap here.
  • So I finally figured it out.  Approximately 43% of my given day is spent trying to slap labels on children’s authors using adult writers as my guide.  Example: Gary Paulsen is the Ernest Hemingway of children’s books (if Hemingway was into ballet, of course).  Most recently, though, the incident with Lauren Conrad where she guilelessly ripped asunder the works of Lemony Snicket solidified in my mind who Daniel Handler really is.  Read the following article and then tell me that he is not the Oscar Wilde of children’s literature.  Oscar Wilde, for the record, attempted to be the Oscar Wilde of children’s literature but unless you’re Team Selfish Giant (or Team Happy Prince, for that matter) then I think you too would prefer Mr. Handler to wear that mantle.
  • I know my picture books fairly well, but Jules at 7-Imp?  Nobody but nobody tops her.  Check out her post on her Favorite Picture Books for Fall and I guarantee there will be at least one on there you haven’t heard of but would like to see pronto.  For me that would be Jeff Newman’s work on a Bruchac book.  Love Newman.  Love the Bruchacs.  Want want want.
  • My grandfather was Southern.  Did I ever tell you that?  Atlanta born and bred, that one.  Things like that occur to me when I hear about The Southern Festival of Books.  It’s coming up this October in Nashville (Jules’ stomping grounds, I do believe) and you should check out that roster of authors.  Wowie.  A veritable who’s who, don’t you think?
  • Well let’s take a trip across the ocean and see how the Aussies are doing these days.  And look!  Lo and behold the Children’s Book Council of Australia has just announced its 2012 winners.  Just take a gander at those lists. Crow Country and A Bus Called Heaven are available to us here in the States, but the one I’ve got my eye on is the Jackie French / Bruce Whatley title Flood.  Check out that cover.

You can see the full shortlists here and the Notable Booklist here.  Thanks to Judith Ridge for the info!

  • My buddy Dan Blank is a certifiable genius when it comes to the realm of platforms n’ such.  All the more reason to take his free webinar this Thursday called Why You Need An Author Platform (happening 8/23 at 3 p.m. EST).  And if you like the taste of that you can always sign up for his Build Your Author Platform 6-week online course going on from September 5th to October 23rd.  All good stuff to know.
  • Don’t know if you read much on the CBC Diversity blog but the recent series of guest posts by folks like Joe Monti and Andrea Davis Pinkney on how they got into publishing are your required reading of the day. Thanks to Nancy Mercado for the links.
  • This ties in.  I finished reading Sonia Manzano (a.k.a. Maria from Sesame Street)’s middle grade novel The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano the other day (edited by the aforementioned Ms. Pinkney).  I admit that I picked it up partly because of the subject matter (a story involving The Young Lords, a subject that I think it’s fair to say has never been published for children before) and partly because when it comes to fictional works for kids starring Hispanic characters, there’s almost nothing out this year.  A Julia Alvarez here an Alma Flor Ada there, but that’s about it.  So you understand my interest in this Wisconsin State Journal article questioning the gaping hole where books about minority kids should be.  Here’s the part that got my attention: “Though the issue of minority representation in children’ books has garnered attention for decades, the disparity has increased during the recent recession, according to the Cooperative Children’s Books Center at UW-Madison’s School of Education, which tracks how many children’s books published each year feature minority authors and characters.”  I’d argue except… I can’t.  And believe me, after seeing the jacket for books like M.H. Herlong’s Buddy, I don’t see the situation getting much better for those books that actually do feature such characters either.  Thanks to PW Children’s Bookshelf.
  • Daily Image:

All right, this one verges between cute and creepy in all the ways I like.  It’s a toy company that turns the drawings of kids into stuffed animals.  Ah-yup.  Check out a smattering of examples here. These I liked:

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. Thank you for the kind mention, and of course: for the 5-eyed bunny.

  2. Karen Gray Ruelle says

    Love that FLOOD cover!

  3. Thinking about Book Aunt’s post on the Polls, it makes me realize that there was going to be a Children’s Poll too. Did I miss the post where the results were revealed?

    • Elizabeth Bird says

      Do you mean the picture book poll? It was indeed revealed. Click on the links on my sidebar if you want a cool PDF of the list!

  4. No, I meant a children’s choice poll, with the same rules but done by people who were under 18.

    • Elizabeth Bird says

      Oh right! The kid votes! I confess that I forgot all about them. RIGHT! I’ll do something with them soon then.

  5. Wow, that toy company is pretty AMAZING! haha

  6. Speaking of festivals, I highly recommend you get in touch with your roots at the
    I have been several times and it is always fabulous! Their roster of authors is quite awesome as well. then in November – drop in on the Savannah Childrens Book Festival

  7. Your opening paragraph is too timely. Nina Bawden died yesterday.