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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fusenews: Berries of new, cots of Cal.

  • Today I shall begin by ripping out your heart and stomping it into tiny shreds upon the floor.  You may be aware that for years I have worked with the real Winnie-the-Pooh toys at NYPL.  You may also know that the real Christopher Robin had a serious falling out with his father about the books.  Now Ian Chachere has written was is easily the BEST graphic story about Christopher Robin at the end of his days.  Thank you for the link, Kate.
  • Well, get out your fire hoses and start running for the hills (I prefer my mixed metaphors shaken, not stirred).  The Newbery/Caldecott prediction season is about to begin 4 realz.  Calling Caldecott is gently starting its engine, checking its rear view mirror, and making sure the gas tank is full.  Heavy Medal, meanwhile, is putting pedal to the medal (so to speak), revving this puppy as loud as it can go, and then tearing down the street leaving only burnt rubber and flames in its wake.  If you have favorites, they will be systematically destroyed (even, God help us, Doll Bones if Nina’s comments are any indication).  Personally I’m just biding my time until Jonathan Hunt attempts to defend Far Far Away as a Newbery contender.
  • Speaking of the berry of new, Travis Jonker is churning out the fun posts on Newbery stats.  They remind me of the glory days of Peter Sieruta (he loved these sorts of things).  Want to win a Newbery of your very own?  Then you’d better check out So You Want to Win a Newbery, Part 1 and Part 2.
  • Whenever I hear that a celebrity has written a children’s book my reaction isn’t so much outrage as a kind of resigned, “What took them so long?”  In my perverted take on Andy Warhol’s famous quote, in the future everyone will have their own children’s book for 15 minutes.  The latest not-so-surprising travesty is Rush Limbaugh’s are-we-absolutely-certain-this-isn’t-from-The-Onion book Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims.  And we could pull out the usual jokes and all (certainly I’m highly tempted to buy a copy, if only to randomly quote from it on this blog to comedic effect from time to time) but it was Thom Barthelmess who classed the joint up recently by writing of it, “I believe that librarians can shape that discourse by modeling respect for those with whom we disagree. And I believe that every time we suggest to a child that her book choice is inappropriate we weaken the foundation on which she is building a life of reading. This, my friends, is where intellectual rubber meets the freedom road. Let’s be sure we’re holding the map right-side up.”
  • How did I miss this?  Last year I did indeed notice the plethora of Chloes.  So why didn’t I see the abundance of 2013 Floras?  Fortunately Elissa Gershowitz at Horn Book was there to pick up my slack.
  • Once you start talking about Common Core it’s hard to stop. I’ll just close up my mentions of it here by pointing out that if you ever wanted some great reading, it’s fun to take a gander at Museums in a Common Core World.
  • Um . . . awesome.

If you’re not a regular reader of the very rare middle grade science fiction / fantasy blog Views From the Tesseract, I cannot recommend it highly enough.  Stephanie’s recent post on the book The Fallen Spaceman is fabulous.  Particularly when you discover which Caldecott winner and his son did the illustrations.  Australian readers in particular are urged to comment on it.

  • Step right up, ladies and gentlemen! It’s time for a little game I like to call Guess the Picture Book. Or, rather, it’s a little game Marc Tyler Nobleman likes to call, since he’s the one who came up with it in the first place.

A book award for wordless picture books?  Boy, wouldn’t it be nice if such a thing existed?  Well here’s the crazy thing.  Now it does.  Seems that the folks in The Town of Mulazzo (no, I am not making any of this up) collaborated with a host of heavies and came up with The Silent Book Contest.  This is for unpublished manuscripts, so if you’ve a wordless piece that’s been burning a hole in your desk drawer, now’s the time to pull it out and submit it.  Many thanks to Sergio Ruzzier for the heads up!

  • It sort of sounds like a dream.  Apparently if you win the Louise Seaman Bechtel Fellowship then you get to “spend a total of four weeks or more reading and studying at the Baldwin Library of the George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida, Gainesville.”  The catch?  You have to be a working children’s librarian.  Still and all, what fun!  Maybe when I’m older . . .
  • Well, I can’t really report on this without being a little biased.  The first ever NYC Neighborhood Library Awards are happening and five of NYPL’s branches are up for contention.  Better still, two are in the Bronx (as I visit branches I am rapidly coming to the opinion that the Bronx is this awesome place that no one knows jack diddly squat about).  Good luck, guys!
  • Things I didn’t know until this week:  1. That the New York Historical Society has this amazing children’s space that’s so drop dead gorgeous that I think I might cry.  2. That they have their own bookclub for kids who love history called The History Detectives.  What’s more, they love authors who have written fiction and nonfiction books about New York history.  So if any of you guys ever want to make a bookclub appearance, these folks would be a perfect “get”.

Of course, I highly recommend you read the piece just the same.  The art of those jackets is dee-licious.  Thanks to AL Direct for the link.

  • To be honest, his grandfather was also a looker back in the WWII days.  If you don’t believe me, read one of those books about his spying days.
  • Here in NYC, Bookfest (that cataclysmic delight of children’s book discussions, hosted by Bank Street College) is nigh.  Nigh and I’m moderating a discussion that so far includes Nathan Hale and Grace Lin . . . because life RULES!!  Sign on up for one of the panels anyway.  I’m sure there’s space (for now).
  • Daily Image:

I don’t suppose this is technically a children’s literature article, but the hidden underground flowering world they discovered not that long ago sure feels like something out a kids book. Just a taste:



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. Well, you’re right–that comic was a heartbreaker. Thanks for posting this.

  2. Jeanne Birdsall says

    Yes, Betsy, someone must write a book about the hidden world of the Son Doong Cave, that underground Shangri La. I’ve been dreaming about it for days. I’d write the book myself if I had the slightest idea how to describe physical stuff like climbing giant walls and fording roaring underground rivers.

  3. Okay! You want to know what bugs me about Barbara Stripling and others who defend CCSS? No? Well, too bad: First of all, I do NOT mind the standards themselves because they are what most of the teachers I know HAVE ALWAYS DONE, ARE DOING NOW, AND WILL CONTINUE TO DO! So, CCSS do NOT raise expectations, they simply give teachers new busy-work in documenting standard procedure. What does Stripling and others think we have been doing? Each year I try to be a better teacher and so do most of the professionals PROFESSIONALS that I know. I truly resent the implication that somehow that is NOT what we have always done. Where I can get behind CCSS is in the very simple (and important) task of trying to introduce great new nonfiction into the curriculum. However, trying to set percentages is a fool’s game. There, rant over! Forgive me.

  4. I read both of Christopher Robin’s memoirs – and every book his father wrote that I could get in my greedy hands. It was not easy being Christopher Robin. No wonder he prefers being called Billy Moon.