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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fusenews: Boom!

It’s always the filler.  I have this little file where I jot down ideas for posts on days when my brain is mush, and most recently I jotted down the old “casual diversity” question a friend asked me once.  Figured it would make for a good quickie blog post and then I’d be on my way.  Did NOT expect it to catch on the way that it has.  Heavens to me!  It’s my own dang fault for not realizing it might be a good topic of discussion.  Anytime you mention race, after all, you’re going to get feedback.  I’m grateful for the positive feedback and grateful too for the criticism.  Hallmarks of a good conversation, they are.  Yay, civilization.

Now on to the fluff.

  • Are you an author or illustrator looking for an original way to promote your book?  Are you aware that your publisher, for all their charms, will only go so far in terms of swag and publicity?  Does your book have any connection to fires or smoking?  I ask that last one because my adorable little sister has a new crafty blog post up and it’s a doozy: How to make matchboxes out of your book covers.  She does me a solid by making one out of Giant Dance Party, for which I am grateful, but really it would work for anything.  Something for you blokes to consider, anyways.
  • Sergio Ruzzier has done a stand up and cheer job of bringing the Bologna Book Fair just a little closer to us folks at home.  With the permission of their author, he is single-handedly translating a Bologna Children’s Book Fair Illustrator’s Exhibition juror’s experience into English.  You will NOT find this information anywhere else out there.  Consider it your required reading of the day.  Part One is here and Part Two is here.  There will be two more parts to come.  Thank you, Sergio!
  • It sounds like a prompt for a creative writing class: Write a conversation between Daniel Handler (a.k.a. Lemony Snicket) and recent Newbery re-winner Kate DiCamillo.  But in point of fact it happened.  Lots of goodies to be plucked from this, but I was particularly taken with the fact that DiCamillo was once a “picker”.  I just learned that phrase from the most recent episode of Radio Lab (one of my favorite podcasts).  Nice to hear it in the real world too.
  • You have a mission.  Look at this.  Now apply it to children’s literature in some way.  That is all.  Thanks to Marjorie Ingall for the idea.
  • New Blog Alert: Well, I feel stupid.  How have I gotten along all this time without being aware of the blog Latin@s in Kid Lit?  This site is AMAZING (I mean did you see the post on Nino Wrestles the World?) and churning out top notch content in areas no one else is focusing on consistently.
  • “Of the 124 books documented in the first half of 2013 that are about human characters who are not white, 47 were written and/or illustrated by people of color. That means that just 37.9% of the books about people of color that we’ve received so far in 2013 were actually written and/or illustrated by people of color.”  Oh, man.  You have got to leave my blog right now and head on over to CCBlogC to get the low down on who’s writing what and where the animal books fit in.  I know the post is old (July 15th) but it’s imperative.  More statistics, please!  Kyra Hicks hasn’t updated since last year, after all.
  • I love it when a review sparks a discussion which, in turn, sparks a blog post that goes on to spark a further discussion (on a listserv, no less).  When I reviewed Aaron Starmer’s The Riverman I included some thoughts on ambiguous endings.  Monica Edinger took one look at my half-baked ideas and created a fully baked blog post out of them.  The post is Tolerating Ambiguity: Endings.  Feel free to add your own thoughts over there.  I’m still formulating my own.
  • As anyone familiar with my Re-Seussification or Re-Sendakification knows, I’m a sucker for people illustrating in the style of others.  So when I heard that Nancy Vo recently attempted to do a variety of crows in the styles of other children’s book illustrators I was there.  The results are delightful.  Here’s her Jon Klassen, for example:

  • Unlike our YMAs, the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals over in Britain have longlists. Check out what’s up for contention and cheer and boo in turns.  Awfully nice of them to include books by Americans too.  If only we could have returned the favor for The Boy Who Swam With Piranhas.  Loved that one!
  • And speaking of medals (do I ever speak of anything else?) for those of you sad that Battle Bunny by Barnett, Scieszka and Myers got nothing in the awards arena, there is an exception!  Observe the following.

The Center for Children’s Books of the Graduate School of Library ad
Information Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is
pleased to announce the 2014 Gryphon Award winner: *Battle Bunny*, written
by Jon Scieszka and Mac Barnett and Alex, illustrated by Matthew Myers but
mostly Alex, and published by Simon and Shuster. Both a sendup of
saccharine period picture books and a tribute to kid invention, this
deliciously comic outing follows young Alex’s savage textual and
illustrative transforming of a treacly bunny tale into a saga of a thwarted
attempt at world rabbit domination.

The Gryphon Award committee also recognized three honor books:

– *Lulu and the Dog from the Sea*, written by Hilary McKay, illustrated
by Priscilla Lamont, and published by Whitman
– *Year of the Jungle*, written by Suzanne Collins, illustrated by James
Proimos, and published by Scholastic
– *Like Bug Juice on a Burger*, written by Julie Sternberg, illustrated
by Matthew Cordell, and published by Amulet/Abrams

The Gryphon Award is presented annually to the author of an outstanding
English language work of fiction or non-fiction for which the primary
audience is children in kindergarten through fourth grade. The title chosen
best exemplifies those qualities that successfully bridge the gap in
difficulty between books for reading aloud to children and books for
practiced readers. More information about the award can be found at the CCB
Gryphon Award webpage <>.

  • Daily Image:

Some food for your nightmares.  Bone structures and interior organs of famous popular characters.  Mostly animated, but once in a while you get a children’s literature character.  Example A:

Thanks to Kate 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. That Very Hungry Caterpillar is going to haunt my dreams.

    And now the book will be forever tied with the movie Slither for me.

    No really, Betsy, thanks EVER SO MUCH.

  2. My goodness – there’s so much going on in this post I’m going to be busy for hours! But I MUST MUST MUST make some book cover matchboxes. THANKS!

  3. Longtime reader, rare commenter … but those matchbox book covers are just too cute!!! You’ve got a very talented sister.
    And related to casual diversity, I notice the find folks at Highlights have been doing this for decades. As a brownie myself, I thought it was a good topic 🙂

  4. Thank you sis!

  5. I’m bummed about ALSC’s decision. I was on the Newbery committee ballot last year, and only missed being selected by 15 votes. So I figured I had a great chance if I tried again — nominated this year, I could try for the 2017 committee.

    But it seems like people in the past have found ways to still blog. And members are encouraged to talk about and recommend the great books they’re reading — we had a sitting committee member speak to our Youth Services librarians one year. It seems like you could do that online, or maybe write the reviews and post them after the award is announced. Now it seems like they’re saying that if I got on the committee, I’d essentially have to give up my website for a year. Is it worth it?

    On top of that, I’m an aspiring author. I stopped submitting my work while I was trying for the committee. And I stopped critiquing my friends’ work. I figure I can always get published *after* I’ve been on the committee, but not the other way around.

    I also get some of the fun of committee work by being a Cybils judge, and participating in Capitol Choices — a DC-area group that chooses 100 top children’s & YA books each year. With that group, I get the fun of in person discussion. And the Cybils *requires* you to be a blogger.

    So anyway, I’m bummed about that decision, and I have to really think through whether I want to continue to try for the Newbery committee — or instead embrace my identity as a writer and a reviewer and stick with the awards groups that welcome people like me.