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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fusenews: Red-bearded ghosts welcome!

  • I begin today with news that is only tangentially children’s literature related.  My excuse is that it makes me so happy I can hardly breathe.  For Christmas I got the soundtrack of the musical Matilda, and I’ve been cooing over the brilliant lyrics and music ever since.  Tim Minchin was the man behind said lyrics and music.  Now I discover that Matthew Warchus (the director of Matilda) and Tim will pair together once more . . . for a Groundhog Day musical!!  And yes, that would be the 1993 movie starring Bill Murray.  Cannot wait!
  • In other theatrical news (albeit three years too late) were you aware that someone made a play about the fact that Anne Carroll Moore didn’t like Stuart Little?  How I missed this back in 2011 I will never know.  You would have thought someone would have brought it up before now.
  • Seed libraries.  They’re what’s happening.  Countdown to picture book about a seed library in 3 . . . 2 . . . 1  . . .
  • BookPage recently came out with their list of the Most Anticipated Children’s and Teen Books of 2014.  Pretty much your standard stuff.  You’ve got your new Jenni Holm, your new Sheila Turnage, your new Peter Sis, your new me . . . wait, what?  Yup.  My book with Jules Danielson and Peter Sieruta is mentioned!  Mind you, it’s not out until August, but it’s nice of them to mention it just the same.
  • It’s not particularly well-known but in the days of coal furnaces and such, live-in janitors and their families were housed in many of New York Public Library’s branches.  Can you imagine actually growing up in a library?  A bunch of kids did!  From the St. Agnes branch to the Webster location full apartments existed on the library’s top floors.  Why?  Well the coal furnaces demanded it.  Someone had to be on duty 24/7 and that someone was the on-site janitor.  Over the years I’ve had the delight of visiting a couple of these old apartments.  Some in Staten Island.  Some in the Bronx.  Sometimes they get converted but there are times when they sit there, perfectly preserved, their lack of a fire escape keeping them from being turned into usable space.  Sachiko Clayton had a great piece about them a couple years ago and now I discover that even the main branch of NYPL, the Schwarzman Building, had a family!  This old New York Times article gives all the details and even explains where they lived (the Mezzanine, which makes perfect sense when you visit it).  Best of all it says that the library is haunted by a red-bearded ghost.  I worked in the spooky stacks at night for years and years and never saw such a feller.  Pity.  Would have been nice to know what to look for.

If you know my sister then you know she’s the crafty one.  Yep, all the craft-related genes skipped right onto me and glommed right onto her.  Now she’s created a new post on her blog on How to Make a Book Purse.  Warning: It’s remarkably difficult.  And it requires the death of a book, but boy are they pretty.

Well done, Travis Jonker!  Setting up a conversation between Caldecott greats like Chris Raschka and Jon Klassen takes some wrangling.  And it feel so natural.  Don’t know how you did it, man, but it works.  It really does.

There are always books in a given year that I regret not getting a chance to review.  Salt by Helen Frost is one of my most recent.  Sure I was on the committee that put it on NYPL’s 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing list, but I could have done more.  Fortunately, someone else picked up my slack and then some.  Because the work was “partly a product of a collaborative effort that included Myaamia people living in the Fort Wayne area, the Fort Wayne Historical Society, and the staff of the Myaamia Center” George Ironstack has created the world’s greatest FAQ for the book at Aacimotaatiiyankwi, the Miami Community History & Ecology Blog.  Prepare to watch your jaw drop to the floor as you read this thing.  Then grab the nearest teacher and make them add the book to their Summer Reading list.  Now, if you please.  Now now now.

  • “The number of teens who say they do not read for fun increased sharply in 2013. In quarterly 2012 surveys that number was around 20 percent, but in spring 2013 it was 30 percent and in fall 2013 it jumped to 41 percent.”  Lee Wind reports on the latest data regarding child and teen reading habits and ebook use.
  • My husband has been blogging up a storm lately.  The latest movie to fall in his wake?  The Hobbit.  Had the experience of watching the second part without watching the first the other day and hoo-boy.  Let’s just say I agree with everything he’s written here.  But then I was always a bigger fan of the Rankin/Bass version anyway.
  • Speaking of ebooks, boy have I got a fantastic resource for you librarians today.  Behold, the official release of the ReadersFirst Guide to Library E-Book Vendors.  It has been posted on the ReadersFirst website with an accompanying press release.  Everything you need to know is now in one sweet little package.  In conjunction with the release of the Guide, its creators will also be taking part in the ALA Masters Series at this month’s ALA Midwinter Meeting in Philadelphia.  ReadersFirst is scheduled to present on Sunday, January 26th at 11:45-12:30 in the Conference Center, room 202B.  FYI if you’re looking for stuff to do!
  • Coming to New York anytime soon?  You can still see NYPL’s amazing The ABC of It exhibit for another month or so, but if you’d like to see other children’s literature related happenings in the city, I have good news.  Starting January 24th, The Morgan Library & Museum will be presenting an exhibit on The Little Prince.  And just in time to tie it into the Peter Sis picture book bio (The Pilot and the Little Prince) of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry too!  Can’t wait to see what the show has to say about Consuelo.  QUITE the character, she.
  • Daily Image:

And for our daily (and somewhat off-topic) image, I link to a photographer who is doing what I wish I had the talents to do myself.  Mainly, inserting her present self into pictures of herself from when she was a small child.

Thanks to Mom 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. What? The play. Moore. E.B. White. Play? Three years ago. My mind is a little bit blown, and I’m speaking in grunts.

    Huh. Interesting.

    • Elizabeth Bird says

      I know, right? While we were plugging away at our book together, somebody was writing a bloody play about one of our stories. Can’t imagine it was too terribly riveting, knowing the source material. Still, I like the fact that the stories in our book are being turned into stories for public consumption. First this then Saving Mr. Banks. Who knows what will be next?

  2. Bina Williams says

    My Christmas gift from my nieces was that they took me to dinner and to see Matilda…We went last week and it was T-riffic! I want the soundtrack so am glad to hear that you are enjoying it!
    I would love to go again, actually!

    • Elizabeth Bird says

      Wow! That’s a hard show to get into. I wouldn’t mind seeing it again myself. One of these days it’ll come to TKTS . . .

  3. Someone should write a picture book about the families (or a family) that lived in a library – that would be cool! I can just imagine the intricate, detail-filled illustrations (maybe by Brock Cole, or David Small or Marla Frazee).

  4. Thanks for sharing my book purse!