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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fusenews: “At 13 Bad Literature . . .”

Things are wet in NYC these days.  We’ve been experiencing a great deal of rainfall this past spring, a fact that gives me a strange sense of comfort.  I can’t help but think this might be my first year here in town where all the fountains are on in all the parks this summer.  I dream big!!

  • Speaking of big dreams (or, if we’re going to be honest, speaking of me stuff) I am pleased to announce that I have joined with the greats.  Yes, at long last, I have an interview about Giant Dance Party with author Cynthia Leitich Smith.  I’ve hit the big time, babies!!  For those of you new to Ms. Smith, her interviews are legendary in the field.  I’m just pleased as punch to take part.  And in other happy news, Giant Dance Party ended up on the What Do We Do All Day list of Best Kids’ Books of 2013 (Mid-Year Edition).  Very flattering, that.  Finally, if you feel like overdosing on me (and isn’t that really how you’d prefer to spend your Friday?) you can read this enormously flattering write-up of a recent visit I made to Chicago’s Magic Tree Bookstore.  Thank you, Eti!
  • The only thing better than the fact that they are making a Choose Your Own Adventure movie (of course they are) is the Onion A.V. Club piece on that very topic.  Clearly it was written by someone who read many many of these books when they were a kid.  Your required reading of the day, then.
  • “Loveable but unlucky in love, Amelia Bedelia is a Brooklyn barista who gets fired after a series of unfortunate misunderstandings. Unwilling to move back in with her parents, she takes a job as a live-in maid for a wealthy Park Slope family. Despite her repeated mishaps, she slowly wins everyone over.  But the question remains: will she ever find true love?”

That little nugget comes from the incomparable Minh Le and his fantastic Bookriot piece Zooey Deschanel as Amelia Bedelia: A (Hypothetical) Match Made in Quirk Heaven.  Also, utterly fabulous from start to finish.

Oh. And with all due respect to Kinky Boots, Matilda was robbed of a Tony this year.  I mean, watch that Tony Award special.  Watch the Matilda number.  Now watch the Kinky Boots number.  Need I say more?  *grumble grumble grump*

  • At BEA this year I took part in a little something called Author Speed Dating.  Basically the premise is this: As an author you are taken to a room of 19 tables.  You start at the first and have three minutes per table to talk up your book to the best of your abilities to the librarians and booksellers seated there.  Nineteen tables times three minutes each equals one pooped author.  At this last Speed Dating event Elizabeth Bluemle was seated at one of the tables.  She has since written the very useful Author Speed Dating Do’s and Don’t’s.  I think I can add to one of the Do’s: Get enough sleep the night before.
  • NPR’s Backseat Bookclub has produced an official list of all the books covered thus far.  You can even convert it into a handy-dandy printout, if you feel so inclined.  Swell.
  • There’s a nice little New Yorker piece on a photographer who, over the years, has been systematically been visiting all the libraries in the NYPL, Brooklyn, and Queens systems (though how Belmont ended up as the one in the photograph is beyond me).  It’s fun for me since I’ve been to the NYPL ones mentioned here.  Makes for a different kind of reading experience, I suppose.  Best of all, it ends at my favorite branch of all time (better than the lions): The Jefferson Market branch.  That’s where my librarian heart lies buried.  Dig it up sometime if you dare.

In case you hadn’t heard our own Jules Danielson of Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast (the web’s #1 picture book resource blog) is teaching a children’s literature course this summer for the University of Tennessee.  For those of you lucky enough to be in the area, you’re about to get the best of the best.

The good people of ALSC have been celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the Caldecott Medal like it’s nobody’s business.  Best of all, they recently came up with a fantastic listing of not just advice for attending the upcoming Newbery/Caldecott Banquet (you can sit in the back for free, folks!) but also a variety of Caldecott-inspired drinks.  Make mine a Lon Po Po.  Just go easy on the ginko nuts.

Oh. Hey.  Has anyone else heard about this?  I had to hear about it through Cynopsis Kids:

It’s been 15 years since Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was first published in the States, and to honor the occasion Scholastic is launching a contest where public libraries across the country can win a Harry Potter party pack for young readers in their communities. Entrants are asked to describe in 500 words or less the ultimate Harry Potter celebration they would throw to welcome a new generation of readers to the world of Harry Potter. Fifteen winners will be announced on Harry Potter’s birthday, July 31, with prizes including 100 copies of the new trade paperback edition, one new paperback boxed set of all seven Harry Potter books signed by the cover artist, and a $100 gift card toward the Harry Potter celebration.

You can find the entry form here, if you’re so inclined.

  • I’ve always admired the myriad ways in which authors, illustrators, and author/illustrators find ways to get their names out there.  One of the best ideas?  Coloring pages.  Kids love ’em and parents always need them.  Elizabeth Dulemba’s been doing it for years, and now she’s joined by Erica Kylander-Clark and Melanie Hope Greenberg.  You can find some samples here and here and here.
  • Have you ever found yourself on cold and lonely nights staring out of the window at the rain swept streets of the city thinking, “Why DID Charles Perrault fall out of favor during The Enlightenment?”  No?  Well now’s your chance.  As this piece says of itself, “Christine Jones explores the early English translations of Charles Perrault’s 1697 collection of fairy tales and how a change in running order was key to them becoming the stories for children which we know today.”  Thanks to AL Direct for the link.
  • Daily Image:

On days when all your stored up Daily Images are kaput and you need new fodder, that’s when you walk on over to Crooked House.  Do you not read Crooked House regularly?  For shame.  Stephany Aulenback can cure what ails you with her posts and her amazing finds.  I just grabbed the first thing I found there today, but if you scroll through her site you’ll understand what I mean.

That must have been a rough 14 years!  What do you want to bet the 40-year-old outcast is drinking gin?

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 Betsy for a double treat in posting my Coloring Pages and your review from the same website I partner with. Big props always to Elizabeth D, Queen of Coloring Pages! I started to do the Coloring Pages as a way to do seva, a sanskrit word for selfless service. For many years I’ve donated art to UNICEF, Children’s Defense Fund, Southern Poverty Law Center, ABC/ABFFE, etc. I am in order karmically for lifetimes with donating. As an illustrator I’m constantly asked to donate art. As I go through a dry period with work I must keep charity at home, as the wise saying goes. My art must pay rent and bills and help me eat. This monthly seva feels balanced and really fun.

  2. Betsy! Your book totally deserved to be on our list. It has been requested repeatedly by my sons and we are still stalking your events page to try and get to an actual book reading so my 4 year old can see your blue leg warmers (he is a little obsessed with the blue furry giants). Thanks for the shout out for Melanie’s coloring pages, too.