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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fusenews: Honest Toddlers and Awesome Amish

  • First off, I have to suspect that after this week my blogging stats will be fairly healthy.  First I wondered whither the 2013 middle grade black boys and then Sophie Blackall let me become the repository for some truly fantastic stories.  Doubling back to that question about diversity in 2013 middle grades, author Varian Johnson has a good post of his own delving into that same topic.  I randomly ran into Varian on my little book tour while hanging out with James Kennedy in Chicago.  It is a very small children’s literary world after all, my friends.
  • Along very much the same lines, I would like you to read the best book review you will read all year.  Possibly all decade.  If you have not experienced a Pink Me review before, they pretty much give me something to strive for.  Paula knows how to zero in on the meat of a book, and acknowledge the good alongside the seriously uncomfortable.  And what’s making her uncomfortable at the moment?  That would be Trash Can Days by Teddy Steinkeller.  If we are talking about depictions of race in books for our youth, then this is an excellent place to start the conversation.  This is your required reading of the day.  A billion thanks to Mary Ann for the heads up.
  • Not sure if I should be furious or relieved that the universe didn’t alert me to the fact that Honest Toddler, one of my favorite Twitter feeds, has a blog.  Better still, there are children’s book reviews.  Worth seeking out if only because it managed to work the phrase, “too much rim make the ride too hard” into an encapsulation of Babar.
  • I was so very very happy to see that the WNBA recently announced that one of its winners of the 2013 Pannell Award was none other than the delightful Bookbug Bookstore in Kalamazoo, Michigan.  Bookbug recently went out of their way to create for me the greatest Giant Dance Party the world has ever known.  I’m talking strobe lights, cupcakes, a smoke machine, kicky music, and an actual GIANT in the house.  Derek Molitor and Joanna Parzakonis totally deserve that award.  If you see them at BEA this year, give ’em a clap on the back from me.
  • The site Dolce Bellezza is hosting an upcoming reading challenge in June asking folks to come up with Japanese children’s books.  The comments offer more suggestions as well, in case you’re interested.
  • Once upon a time I used to work in the Central Children’s Room of New York Public Library in a branch located across the street from MOMA called The Donnell.  Then they tore it down.  Tore it down good they did.  That was back in 2008 and finally they’ve announced the new library location that will be in the same space.  The 53 Street Branch Designs were covered by all major New York City dailies and more so if you’re curious to see what the world’s most ultra-mod library branch looks like, observe:  The New York Times  The Wall Street JournalThe New York PostThe New York Daily NewsThe Associated Press, and NY1.
  • In other library news, Jay-Z was found in our archives . . . circa 1939.
  • Regarding book covers, this is how you do it people.  Want to make your average everyday kid read about the Amish willingly?

Geez, that’s a smart cover.  Why is this so hard for some folks to figure out?  This!  Do this!

  • Good news, folks!  Dan Blank, one of my favorite folks in town, is in the business of telling authors how to do parts of their jobs better.  He does these webinars that are well worth considering.  In fact, on 5/22 he has a Build Your Author Platform course you might do well to check out.  Just sayin’.
  • Rita Meade, I love you.  Today is a day for me to link to bloggers unafraid to take up arms against ignorance.  In this case, Rita offers a response to Michael Rosenblum’s disheartening What’s a Library? piece.  His piece reminds me of the time I was seated next to an otherwise perfectly nice hedge fund manager who had a hard time contemplating why libraries continue to exist.  For him, the argument that not everything is digitized (or will be) and libraries contain out-of-print titles turned out to be my most persuasive point (like Rosenblum, he was unmoved by the not-everyone-has-internet-access argument), but it’s different for every person.  In any case, Rita’s response does the heart good.  We need more Ritas.
  • Heart still bleeding a little?  This’ll sop up the mess.  A heartwarming (in the truest sense) post from Kathi Appelt.
  • Were you listening to Ask Me Another when Lois Lowry appeared on the program?  If not, she shows up at around 18:40.  Thanks to Ben Collinsworth for the link.
  • It’s about this point that I realize that I may be the last person in our business (the children’s / YA book biz) not to mention Maureen Johnson’s remarkable Coverflip piece.  You’ve probably all seen this already, but if you’re the last person in America to find it, you’re welcome.
  • I might have mentioned in my Neil Gaiman / Jon Klassen / Lemony Snicket post that I was at Bank Street College of Education recently to talk with some of the kiddos there about book covers.  Allie Bruce, local librarian extraordinaire, was kind enough to blog about my visit as well as some of the responses from the kids.  If you wanna see me showing more thigh than I really should (yes, I’m afraid that really is what I wear when I talk to 6th graders) now’s your chance.  Also check out the kids’ thoughts on books seen in “a certain bookstore chain” recently.
  • Daily Image:

This is nice.  An Austin photographer decided that rather than dress her 5-year-old up like a Disney princess she’d do something a little different and dress her up like a range of kickass women.  Here’s one of the many results of the project:

Loverly.  You can see more here.

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. There’s now a big bruhaha for my branch library in Brooklyn Heights. I really hope they will not close it and that it goes the way of the Donnell.

  2. I wonder where those little Amish girls are supposed to live–I live in Lancaster, PA, (the Amish capital, you might say,) and you don’t see their style of dress or black bonnets around here.

    They are total cutie pies though!

    • Elizabeth Bird says

      Not sure. The author, however, was raised Old Order Amish in Somerset County, PA. Perhaps that’s a clue.

    • I was wondering the same thing too! (I also live in Lancaster, PA)

      I also was under the impression they didn’t allow their pictures to be taken. Still, I agree, the girls are adorable and it offers readers the chance to take a peak into a little known culture right in their very own country.

      • hi Sarah J,

        I was excited to see a fellow Lancastrian here–I’ll have to check out your blog 🙂

    • Santiago says

      I haven’t seen the title (Book three). I think I saw the first book and it looked like the girl on the cover had a lot of make-up on. Kinda defeats the purpose, no?

  3. Hey Betsy thanks for the shot in the arm. You are right, I was VERY uncomfortable writing that review, so your praise means a lot!