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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fusenews: Though to be fair, who ever heard of harmFUL spitballing?

Howdy-do, folks.  Today I am off to the Yonkers Library to participate in a Charles Dickens panel with some experts in the field.  Why me?  I don’t precisely know but I’m honored to be asked.  Plus the train ride will allow me to read my new Lemony Snicket book (this would be the children’s literature equivalent of bold as you please name dropping).


First up, some nepotism, uncut.  The resident husband has a tendency to be brilliant (not that I’m biased or anything).  Recent evidence of this can be found on editor Cheryl Klein’s podcast Narrative Breakdown – Creative Writing, Screenwriting,Young Adult Lit, TV shows and More.  With partner-in-crime James Monohan, the two of them have a habit of talking about writing in all its many forms.  Mr. Bird appears on the episode called “Scene Construction 1 > Character Expectations and Tactics” on 9/8/12 which was described as, “what may be our most ambitious episode yet.”  In related news, Mr. Bird has restarted his blog Cockeyed Caravan in all its wild advisory glory.  I just like this picture he came up with when talking about the roles individuals play in teams:

  • Wow.  This post outlining how creating a book trailer meets Common Core Standards is fantastic.  Many thanks indeed to Joyce Valenza for the link!
  • In case you weren’t aware of it, the Onion A.V. Club has decided that young adult literature is interesting enough to highlight on occasion (articles equating it with chick lit and meritless copyright suits notwithstanding).  In the series YA Why? they split their time evenly between new hot titles and older fare.  Stay for the new stuff but eschew the looks back in time.  Odds are whatever title you see there, the Fine Lines column by Lizzie Skurnick did it better.
  • “…the critic is someone who, when his knowledge, operated on by his taste in the presence of some new example of the genre he’s interested in…hungers to make sense of that new thing, to analyze it, interpret it, make it mean something.”  Flatterer.  As an aspiring book critic of children’s fare, I was much taken with the Darryl Campbell Millions article Is This Book Bad, Or Is It Just Me? The Anatomy of Book Reviews which seeks to not only summarize in brief the spats and spits in the adult literary criticism world (a fine and fancy recap if ever there was one) then goes so far as to define the four classical elements of literary appraisal (“Reaction. Summary. Aesthetic and historical appraisal”).  This one is your required reading of the day.  Many thanks to Marjorie Ingall (who will be part of the literary criticism panel at this year’s KidLitCon) for the link.
  • List this one under Good Folks Doing Stuff You Should Know About.  Now tell me everything you know about The Foundation for Children’s Books.  Not to worry.  If you don’t live in Boston you might not have heard about them.  I’m a New Yorker but I know all too well the good works of the Bostonians, and this organization is particularly keen since they “bring acclaimed children’s book authors and illustrators into underserved K-8 schools in Boston for visits and workshops focused on writing and illustration.”  Folks like Barbara O’Connor, Grace Lin, Mitali Perkins, Bryan Collier, and many many more.  From what I hear, this year they’re hoping to expand their work in six schools, increase the number of donated books they bring to each school, and start a “Books for Breakfast” professional development series in Boston classrooms where they focus on particular “libraries” of new books–for example, “great non-fiction for 4th and 5th graders,” and then donate the books that they highlight to those classrooms.  FYI!!
  • Movie news time!  As you may know I tend to get my heads up from Cynopsis Kids.  This week they threw out a little piece of info that I almost missed.  I was reading up on future children’s movie projects when the title Happy Smekday floated past.  Happy what now?  Apparently I missed Adam Rex’s June post that mentioned that an official announcement had been made about a True Meaning of Smekday movie from Dreamworks Animation.  More to the point the press release (and IMDB page) report that it will star Jim Parsons and Rihanna.  Which . . . is perfect.  Blooming bloody perfect.  Clearly J.Lo will be played by Parsons and Tip by Rihanna.  I’m a little floored.  Mind you, the description of the film that they provide is a bit ugh. “In Happy Smekday! an alien race invades Earth and uses it as a hideout from their mortal enemy. When one lowly alien accidentally notifies the enemies of his whereabouts, he is forced to go on the run with a teenage girl. The two become unlikely buddies and embark on a comical globe-trotting adventure to right his wrongs, in which our alien hero learns what it really means to be human.”  As I recall J.Lo discovers “what it really means to be human” insofar as it means taking road trips and wearing a sheet over his head.  Ah well.  All I ask is that they include my favorite line in the book when he looks at Tip’s car and says with sweet condescension “Oh.  It rolls”.

There’s other book news on the horizon too, so look lively.  Cynopsis Kids has been busy.  To wit:

  • “Universal looks to Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci to produce its feature film adaptation of author Dugald A. Steer’s popular kid’s book series Dragonology (12 books so far), per Heat Vision. Kurtzman and Orci have a first look deal with Universal under their banner K/O Paper Products  Dragonology is part of that agreement. Dragonology was to be written by Leonard Hartman who will now serve as an executive producer. A new writer has not yet been named. Kurtzman and Orci, who wrote and produced Star Trek 2, are also set to write and executive produce the Amazing Spider-Man movie sequel.”

And very very exciting news:

  • FilmNation Entertainment acquires the feature film rights to the popular kid’s book A Tale Dark & Grimm by author Adam Gidwitz. FilmNation is partnering with Marissa McMahon of Kamala Films to finance the development and produce the live-action movie with FilmNation Entertainment’s Aaron Ryder and Karen Lunder. Jon Gunn (Mercy Streets, My Date with Drew) and John W. Mann (Mercy Streets) will pen the screenplay. Based on some of the more gruesome Grimm Brother’s stories, A Tale Dark & Grimm follows the adventures of two unsuspecting kids who hold the key to breaking out of the dark ages. McMahon explains, “Gidwitz’s A Tale Dark & Grimm is a smart, addictive, and hilariously gruesome narrative that turns familiar fairy tales on their head, much to the delight of both children and parents.” FilmNation recently completed filming on the new teen-targeted comedy Premature, which they are producing from writer/director Dan Beers.”

Not so sure about the whole “hold the key to breaking out of the dark ages” part (and you know the devil is totally going to get cut) but still good news for the author.  Have no idea how they’ll do it, though.  I mean, there is a LOT of blood in that book.

  • Daily Image:

It came out a couple months ago but I never linked to it.  You’d do well to discover this great Flavorwire post on 10 Wonderful Libraries Repurposed from Unused Structures (though really, how can you link to one jail and not mention the greatest courthouse-to-library conversion of all time, the Jefferson Market Branch?).  Here’s a converted railcar to library:

And if you liked that be sure to read the follow up post on 10 Awesome Bookstores Repurposed from Unused Structures.  Big thanks to Mike Lewis for the links!

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. But I always pictured a Smekday movie as live-action (with a digital J.Lo) and Grimm as an animated one. I think you could get away with more blood that way. Shows what I know…

  2. Jim Parsons and Rihanna – perfect!!

  3. Yay for Adam Gidwitz! I’m with you, though…what are they talking about in that summary line? Weird.

  4. Christine Bird says:

    Matt Bird, brilliant? You are not biased at all. He truly is.