Follow This Blog: RSS feed
A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fusenews: You know what they say about the size of a man’s autograph, don’t you?

Okay, let’s do this thing.  I’ve had a remarkably busy week and I’m itching to discuss it alongside all the other newsworthy schtoof floating about in the atmosphere.  First up . . .

That Linda Epstein gal, that Linda Epstain gal, I do I LIKE that Linda Epstein gal (can you tell I’ve been reading too much Green Eggs and Ham to the Little Bird lately?). Two days ago the Women’s National Book Association asked me to moderate a discussion with heavyweights in the field on the topic of “The Making of a Young Adult Bestseller: From Acquisition to Reader”.  The panelists included Susan Katz (President and Publisher, HarperCollins Children’s Books a.k.a. the president of MY upcoming picture book’s house), Joy Peskin (Editorial Director, Farrar Straus & Giroux Books for Young Readers), literary agent Jenny Bent (The Bent Agency), Marisa Russell (Publicity Manager, Penguin Young Readers Group), and wunderkind YA/MG author Hannah Moskowitz.  So no pressure or anything. I have to say, it was a rousing success with a packed room of professionals in the industry and up and coming authors.  Agent Linda Epstein wrote the whole thing up so I don’t have to now (yessss!) and along the way said some very nice things about me, which was swell.  Epstein’s relatively new to the agenting world herself so let me tell you a little secret to getting an agent. To my mind the most interesting agents are sometimes the young hungry ones.  Like this gal.  Just my two cents.

  • And since I am in a mood that overfloweth with love for my fellow (wo)man, I just want to extend a great big thank you to Monica Edinger for writing the very necessary and too little discussed piece Stop Calling Books for Kids “Young Adult”.  Amen and also testify.  Because “young adult” is now the hot buzzword (or at least it will be for the next 20 minutes or so) the media has a general tendency to just label any book for kids between the ages of 9-12 “young adult”.  It’s annoying and Monica zeroes in on why it’s a problem.  Actually, in February a panel of distinguished middle grade authors will be speaking in my library about this very thing.  Clear your calendars now for Saturday, February 2nd at 2:00 p.m. when the program Middle Grade: Surviving the YA Onslaught will feature writers Jeanne Birdsall, N.D. Wilson, Adam Gidwitz, and Rebecca Stead discussing this very topic at length.  Oh, the parsing that shall be had!
  • This is fun.  Head on over to First Book and vote on your favorite children’s book.  Whatever wins will end up being the 100 millionth (jeez) book they hand to a kid in need.  Wowzer.
  • Oh man.  See, I already felt bad that I was missing the Carle Museum’s 10th Anniversary.  I moaned quietly into my tea when I read press statements like, “The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, MA kicked off its 10th-anniversary celebration November 10 and 11 with the Museum’s first major permanent collection exhibition, Iconic Images: 10 Years of Collecting for The Carle, and a weekend of special events.  More than 1,200 people came from as far away as Asia to see the exhibition and meet the dozens of picture-book artists who came back to commemorate the Museum.”  But I was a good pookie.  I wasn’t going to complain.

That was all before I saw this photograph of Barry Moser, Eric Carle, and Norton Juster.

That’s it!  I can’t take it anymore!  I’m moving to Amherst.  Somebody get me a bloody job there, stat!  Thanks to Sandy Soderberg for the image.

  • This has very little to do with children’s literature and everything to do with critical reviews.  Someday I hope to encounter a book as worthy of a crushing review as this restaurant received.  It is not nice.  It is, instead, oddly thrilling.  And yes, I would only write a review like this for a celebrity children’s book.  The closest I ever came was one for that beautifully horrid One Last Time: Good-bye to Yankee Stadium by Ray Negron.  Without a doubt, the worst book I ever reviewed, and the most enjoyable review I’ve ever written.  There’s something cathartic in tearing apart celebrity picture books.  It cleanses the soul.  The restaurant review was still better.
  • Okay, this one is just self-serving.  Ahem.  Dear U.S. Publishers (I’m looking at YOU Harper Collins),  If you have any compassion in the cold cockles of your heart, please bring the rest of the “My Sister the Vampire” series by Sienna Mercer to American shores.  The children of NY demand what I cannot provide.  They pepper me with suggestions for buying the British editions.  I can’t do it.  This is taxing. Please to remedy.
  • Now for a segment I like to call Folks Who Are Doing Good (And Are Not Me).  First up, Scholastic has gone all to the good with its extensive list of Storm Recovery Resources covering everything from their One Million Book Donation for Schools and Libraries hard hit by Sandy (you can apply here) to tips on explaining the storm to children.  It’s actually quite impressive.
  • The second link comes after I had tea with T.A. Barron yesterday (my life, as you may have noticed, is simply an unending series of cascading delights).  Tom told me about the Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes, an award given out yearly to twenty-five kids between the ages of 8-18 who have “made a significant positive difference to people and our planet.”  They get $2,500 to their project or their higher education if they win it.  Know a kid who’d fit right in?  Stuff like this I’d love to collect and put on one easy-to-navigate site.  Someday . . .
  • Nina Lindsay of Heavy Medals leads a busy life.  When she’s not debating the relative merits of the latest Gary Schmidt she’s chairing the Caldecott 75th Anniversary Task Force.  No small feat.  Recently she appealed to the ALSC listserv members by saying, “The  Caldecott 75th Anniversary Task Force needs your help  in spreading the word about the many exciting ways to celebrate 75 years of distinguished picture books.  Just head over to to pick up your electronic badge (like mine below!), and while you’re there, check out how you can join the celebration. Then, with badge appended, please take a moment to send a message to your state or local library groups, your school contacts, your book clubs or parent groups, and invite them to join in the celebration.   Who wouldn’t like to meet David Wiesner on Facebook?”  Good stuff, though I’m still cagey about whether or not I’m allowed to show that fancy medal they made for the celebration.
  • Daily Image:

Meet Amanda Bock.  She works in an elementary school library and is working on her MLIS.  She also appears to have the world’s greatest teensy tiny collection of miniature books signed by children’s literary greats.  I’ve never seen anything to compare.  Example A:

That’s Edward Gorey.

You’ll be happy to hear she’s recently made a Tumblr to display what she has.  Remarkable.  Big time thanks to Jarrett Krosoczka for the link and the picture.

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. That Moser/Carle/Juster pic! That’s librarian gold right there.

  2. Laura's Mom says

    You have done more good than you will ever know, I do not have the words to thank you all. Your books really are the best medicine. thank you!

  3. Aw Betsy! Thanks! But you’re going to confuse all those hopeful writers looking for an agent, because I’m NOT YOUNG! Does “young at heart” count?!

    • Elizabeth Bird says

      I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Young and hungry is a state of mind, m’dear. State of mind.

  4. The best book poll is actually at First Books not First Second. (I was puzzled why the GN publisher would be doing one!)

  5. Also, thanks for mentioning my HuffPo blog rant, It would be great for folks to head over to comment as it would help to clarify the issue and get it out there in the public eye. The comments so far have been fascinating as many seem to be from adults who like to read this broadening collection of YA. And so they argue that it is fine and don’t seem to understand that this marginalizes a whole group. One commenter is arguing that it is a genre and wants to know what is wrong with that. Others are insisting it is all the fault of the publishers for marketing everything as YA. Not. There is another comment thread going on with a much more informed group over at my educating alice where I crossposted.

    I suggest a MOVEMENT on this! SAVE THE CHILDREN (BOOKS)?


  1. […] November 14. It was moderated by New York Public Library’s youth materials specialist and Fuse #8 blogger Betsy Bird, at Manhattan’s Wix Lounge, a free work and event space for creative […]

  2. […] November 14. It was moderated by New York Public Library’s youth materials specialist and Fuse #8 blogger Betsy Bird, at Manhattan’s Wix Lounge, a free work and event space for creative […]