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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fusenews: Why You Should Go to Kidlitcon (and other interesting facts)

  • Oh, you lucky bugs.  Do you know what today is?  Today is the first day of Kidlitcon and for those of you still interested in joining (and who wouldn’t be?) you have a last minute chance to be a part of the fun.  Always assuming you’re in the Austin area, of course, but I bet that LOTS of you are located in that general vicinity.  As you’ll recall, last year Kidlitcon was held in New York City and we did very well indeed with the vast hoards of people.  This year it’s a slightly smaller affair, but no less fascinating and fun.  Full details can be found here but don’t worry if you’ve missed the opening ceremonies.  The bulk of the action is on Saturday anyway, so you’ve still time to join.  So go!  Shoo!  Why waste your time here?
  • I don’t know about you but typically I go through blog reading binges.  I ignore my favorites for long periods of time and then I consume weeks’ worth of material in a single sitting.  I did this recently with the beloved Crooked House.  First, I enjoyed the fact that she highlighted the book How to Do Nothing With Nobody All Alone By Yourself (notable, if nothing else, for the Lemony Snicket quote which reads, “Every great book reminds us that we are all alone in the world. At least this one provides us with the means to entertain ourselves while we’re here.”)  The second post that caught my eye was a transcribed selection from The Mermaid of Brooklyn which I perhaps enjoyed too much.  Too too much.
  • Now some graphic novel news.  There are two horns worth tooting today.  First, there is the fact that I’m on ALSC’s Quicklists Consulting Committee and we recently came up with a newly revised Graphic Novels Reading List, broken down not just by age levels but by whether or not they’re black and white or color.  In related news, kudos to the folks at Good Comics for Kids as well as Snow Wildsmith and Scott Robins for their A Parent’s Guide to the Best Kids’ Comics: Choosing Titles Your Children Will Love.  The SLJ blog and the useful book were both mentioned on the most recent episode of the popular NPR podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour.  The episode Making Toddlers Into Nerds is a bit of a misnomer and they do a lamentable job of mentioning any children’s literature that isn’t either 50 years old or part of a huge series, but at least they get the graphic novels piece right.
  • Questions I never thought to ask until Marjorie Ingall made me: Why do chickens play an outsized role in Jewish children’s picture books?  The answer may surprise you.  Or, at the very least, you’ll be impressed with the amount of thought Marjorie has put into this subject.
  • This is a good one.  Always at the forefront of the diversity issues, Lee and Low recently put on their blog the post Literary Agents Discuss the Diversity Gap in Publishing.  The agents in question are Adriana Domínguez, Karen Grencik, Abigail Samoun, and Lori Nowicki. Much of what they’re saying echoes things we’ve heard from editors over the past few years.  Check it out.
  • I received this message recently and figured you’d want to know about it.  Ahem.

I just wanted to let you know that ABFFE’s 2013 holiday auction will take place on eBay from November 26 through December 2nd.  Please let your colleagues and friends know that this is the best place to buy holiday gifts! More than 50 leading artists and illustrators contributed to last year’s auction and we are hoping for even more art this year.  Once the auction is live, you will be able to access it from a link on

  • Me stuff.  Recently I was lucky enough to serve on the New York Times Best Illustrated judging committee for this year’s books.  If you haven’t seen the results I came up with alongside Brian Selznick and Steve Heller you have two choices.  You could look at the fancy dancy NY Times slideshow of the winners here OR you could go on over to 100 Scope Notes and check out Travis Jonker’s truly lovely round-up with book jackets and everything here.
  • Just as I collect children’s literary statues from around the States (I’m STILL updating that post, people, so don’t worry if your favorites haven’t made it yet) I also like to keep tabs on museums of famous children’s authors and illustrators.  You have your Eric Carle Museum, your Edward Gorey Museum, and apparently you also have a Tasha Tudor Museum.  Or, at least, you will when it finds a new host.

You may or may not have heard about the SpotLit list, created by Scholastic Book Group with the help of scholars, teachers, librarians, and other specialists in the field.  Well, two awesome infographics have been created to show off some of the facts behind it.  I like them partly because they’re infographics and partly because in the group picture it looks like I’m snuggling up to Harry Potter while Hedwig swoops down mere moments before removing my cranium.  This list discusses what the committee looked like and this list discusses what the books on the list consist of.

  • When a new library branch reopens in my city I don’t always report on the fact, but this recent article about the reopened Coney Island Branch is the exception to the rule.  The place looks precisely how you’d want a Coney Island branch to look.  Granted there aren’t any half naked mermaids or rides in the library, but those photographs on the walls are worth the price of admission alone.
  • Jon Klassen’s right.  Interviews with the great illustrator Arnold Lobel are few and far between.  When you can find one, you post it.  And that’s just what he did.  Thank you, Jon.
  • Hat tip to Travis Jonker.  Without him I would have never known that there are TWO children’s literature podcasts out there that had escaped my attention.  I need to upgrade the old sidebar on this blog, do I not?
  • And in the world of grants n’ such:

Greetings! There’s still time to apply for the ALSC Candlewick Press Light the Way grant. The deadline is December 1, 2013. This is a great funding opportunity if you have a project or program related to library service to children in special populations. The application is at this link:

  • Daily Image:

Today’s image may be classified as Best Fan Art Ever, or something along those lines.  How many of you are familiar with Helen Frost’s lovely middle grade Diamond Willow?  Well, it came out in 2008 or so but its fans continue to find it.  Case in point, this young woman who, with her Chinook pet dog, reenacted the cover.  Compare and contrast:


Fan Made:

Utterly adorable.  Many thanks to Helen for sharing this with me


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. The link in the post to Vicky Rideout and Children’s Technology is broken — at least for me. This one works:

    I hope this helps.

    • Elizabeth Bird says

      It helps a great deal! I switched out the link for your own. Hopefully it’ll work now. Thanks for this!

  2. I thought the NY Times list was a breath of fresh air. Women illustrators (more than one), new timers, great timers, ethnic timers and non-fiction. Woo hoo! Buh-bye status quo. Bravo!
    Hey, I thought I was the mermaid of Brooklyn! (running out of the comment box for fear of my mermaid loving friends –mobs of them – who think they own that title).

  3. Hey Elizabeth,
    Great blog. Thank for all the info. I read the Lee and Low blog last week and have been depressed ever since. It captures both why I love writing and illustrating children’s books, as well as the part that makes me want to give it up and get a job at Wal-Mart.
    Jerry Craft
    Author / Illustrator / Future Wal-Mart greeter

  4. Thank you, thank you as always, Betsy, for a great post, so many valuable nuggets of information!

  5. Great set of items, this Sunday — but please. however momentarily tempting it may seem, do not let Hedwig remove your cranium, especially with winter coming on!