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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fusenews: Dark fiddlers and ponymen

  • Looks like the National Book Awards are taking a page out of the Oscars’ handbook.  Which is to say, if people like nominees for awards so much, why not give them MORE nominees?  Says PW, “In an effort to broaden the reach and impact of the National Book Awards, the National Book Foundation will select a longlist of 10 titles in each of its four categories (fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and young people’s literature), beginning in 2013. The longlist (10 titles per category) will be announced five weeks before the finalists (five titles per category) announcement: in 2013, the longlist will be announced on September 12, the finalists on October 15, and the winners on November 20.”  Ten!  That’s incredibly fun.  I’m sure there will hemming as well as a bit of hawing over this change, but I for one will find it mighty fascinating.  In fact I was so fascinating by the start of the article that I nearly missed the end that read, “In addition, judges comprising the four panels—fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and young people’s literature—will no longer be limited to writers, but now may also include other experts in the field including literary critics, librarians, and booksellers.”  You don’t say . . . veeeeeeeery interesting.  Doesn’t that change the whole tone of the awards, though?  Hm.

Fake Mustache: Or, How Jodie O’Rodeo and Her Wonder Horse (and Some Nerdy Kid) Saved the U.S. Presidential Election from a Mad Genius Criminal Mastermind. Tom Angleberger. Abrams/Amulet Books.

13 Hangmen
. Art Corriveau. Abrams/Amulet Books.

The Quick Fix
. Jack D. Ferraiolo. Abrams/Amulet Books.

Spy School.
Stuart Gibbs. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.

Three Times Lucky.
Sheila Turnage. Penguin/Dial Books for Young Readers.

  • In the Me Stuff files, Reads for Keeps asked some other folks and me to list our children’s literary pet peeves.  Everyone said something different, making for an interesting little piece.  I was particularly taken with this one from Farida Dowler: “Characters help in epic ways, then have their memories erased by the adult magician once the epic is complete. The Dark is Rising series, I’m looking at you.”  Oooooh, yeah.  I remember how much that drove me crazy as a kid.  Hounds of the Morrigan you are ALSO on notice.
  • There are two obituaries this week that caught my eye.  The first was that of Caldecott Medal winner Gerald McDermott, remembered in PW here.  That’s fine and all, but it’s Doug Cushman’s remembrance of his old friend that should be considered as the true tribute to McDermott.  May you all have friends that put your life and loves into such glorious context as Doug has done here.  The other loss was that of Aaron Frisch.  At the deplorably young age of 37, Aaron was responsible for one of my favorite picture book biographies of all time.  Dark Fiddler: The Life and Legend of Nicolo Paganini is one of the strangest, moodiest, and best encapsulations of a man I’ve encountered.  I reviewed the book back in 2008 and it has stayed with me ever since.  I never met Aaron personally but I am very sorry to hear that he has left us.  He gave the world some great books.

You may be familiar with the term “Googleganger”.  It tends to be someone online who has your name, exact spelling and all, and comes up in searches when folks are looking for you.  I have one who is a southern artist of some sort, and that’s all fine.  We don’t really intersect.  I can only imagine the hell my life would be if I had someone like, oh I dunno, a writer for the new My Little Pony animated series.  Because honey, you do NOT want to get wrapped up involuntarily into the Brony community.  Yet that very fate has taken one of our own: Author/Illustrator Meghan McCarthy.  She writes about it with great good humor here.  Godspeed, Meghan.

  • In other news, our old friend James Kennedy wrote a review in the Wall Street Journal of Leonard Marcus’s recent book Listening for Madeline, the 51 edited interviews with friends and colleagues of the great writer Madeleine L’Engle.  Really good stuff.  I have the book sitting on my shelf but haven’t read it cover to cover yet.  This review makes me want to do so and stat.
  • I consider myself fairly tame these days.  Gone are the days when I could whip up a surefire debate with a single blog post.  I think I’m still capable of it, but the burning desire has died down.  I can only sit and stare in wonder at those librarians out there willing to take it on the chin and express an original opinion, knowing full well that they’ll take heat for it.  If you haven’t read Miss Julie’s post Ego, They Name is Librarianship, consider it your required reading of the day.  Not only because of what it says about the state of librarianship itself (male rockstar librarians are a particular point of contention) but because it has already inspired QUITE a bit of debate.  I tip my hat to anyone who willingly walks into fire for a good point.  Thanks to 100 Scope Notes for the link.
  • Since I’ve a book or two coming out this year (LOOK!  A publisher page and everything!) I’ve been trying to figure out how to . . . y’know . . . do the author thing.  It’s not like someone hands you a guide with the title How To be a Published Writer in the First Year or anything.  Except that author Kim Purcell of the book Trafficked did precisely that.  What’s more, her advice is dead on and makes me feel like a lazy lou.  My first book’s not out until April but I’m already realizing how little I’ve gotten done.  I don’t even have my website up yet!  Eek!  Needless to say, I’ve bookmarked this link and now go back to read it every once in a while for inspiration.
  • Because finding books that portray American Indians as anything other than magical native friends is nigh unto impossible at times, Debbie Reese has created a guide, “intended to provide K-12 teachers with resources that will help them improve their skills in selecting books and materials that accurately portray American Indians.”  I’m happy to report that I bought some additional copies of Jingle Dancer just the other day.  Great book, that.
  • Daily Image:

This one’s easy.  It’s just the world’s GREATEST garage doors, that’s all.

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. That’s Keith Baker who wrote Big Fat Hen Ken Baker has only 3 titles published, through Amazon. They look nice enough, but the ones I’ve looked at aren’t up to the standard of Keith Baker (also the author of Potato Joe, LMNO Peas, and No Two Alike, also known as the King of Concept Books)

  2. Betsy, this is an excellent roundup. Thank you. I especially appreciate the link to Debbie Reese’s new site. Since the new year, I’ve been making my way through my neverending Newbery Medal/Honor project (while waiting for our January orders to come in), and the books from the 20s/30s era has presented me with some startling and uncomfortable characterizations (although Lois Lenski’s Indian Captive was definitely a surprise, but this may have been colored by the fact that I read it on the heels of The Matchlock Gun), so this has been on my mind recently.

    • Elizabeth Bird says:

      Oh, Matchlock Gun. Aside from James Daugherty’s Daniel Boone, that’s a book that really and truly makes my skin crawl.

  3. chris sheban says:

    Aaron will be missed. Thanks Betsy.

  4. Thanks for the mention of my WSJ review, Betsy! I also particularly liked Julie’s post — she organizes her own kidlit drink nights out here, and is doing great work building a community out here. Along with her many other great qualities, I think of Julie as Chicago’s answer to Betsy Bird. Watch your back!