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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fusenews: Coldplay, Sendak, and Golden Book Bodices

  • This news comes to us less than a week after Coldplay (yes, that Coldplay) hid something in one of the books in my Children’s Center at 42nd Street.  Apparently the doors opened that day and people tore into the room demanding, ultimately, Jeff Belanger’s Who’s Haunting the White House?  One wonders what Jeff Belanger thinks of all this.  Or if sales of his book have gone up.  Six copies of the books are now checked out of my system, I see.
  • Oh, and it only took a year but The Paris Review finally made it over to NYPL to check out the current children’s book exhibit The ABC of It.  They liked it, which is good when you consider that it’s up and running until September now.
  • May as well seek out the Secret Libraries of New York City as well, if you happen to be in town.  I knew some of these but others (the Conjuring Arts Research Center?!) who wholly new unto mine eyes.
  • Unless you resided under a Wi-Fi free rock you may have missed the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign that went wholly and totally viral.  PW summed the whole thing up with its piece BookCon Controversy Begets Diversity Social Media Campaign.  At the time, I didn’t think to alert NYPL to the campaign, but as it turned out the folks there were already on board with it.  They whipped a Celebrate Diverse Children’s Books list out of some of the titles that have appeared on our 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing lists over the last three years.  It’s a nice list too.  Good show.
  • There are, of course, children’s awards out there that remain under the radar, no matter how many diversity campaigns spring up.  Such is the case with the Children’s Africana Book Award.  Their history?  According to their site: “In 1991 the Outreach Council of the African Studies Association accepted a proposal from Africa Access to establish awards for outstanding K-12 books on Africa published in the U.S. The awards are designed to encourage the publication of accurate, balanced children’s materials on Africa, to recognize literary excellence and to acknowledge the research achievements of outstanding authors and illustrators. Collectively CABA winners show that Africa is indeed a varied and multifaceted continent. CABA titles expand and enrich our perspectives of Africa beyond the stereotypical, a historical and exotic images that are emphasized in the West.”  I was pleased beyond measure to see that Monica Edinger’s Africa Is My Home: A Child of the Amistad won in the Best Book for Older Readers category.  Well played, Monica!
  • In other news the Tomás Rivera Book Award Winners which honors, “authors and illustrators who create literature that depicts the Mexican American experience” were announced and amongst the winners was Diego Rivera: An Artist for the People by Susan Goldman Rubin.  Woohoo!
  • Just to round out the awards, the winners of the 2014 Irma Black Award were announced and the results were absolutely splendid.  PAR-ticularly The Cook Prize for the best STEM picture book.  The Boy Who Loved Math was a shoo-in to my mind, but it’s nice to see folks agreeing on that count.
  • And here I thought I knew the bulk of the Maurice Sendak illustrated classics.  So how is it that only now I’m hearing about the fact that he illustrated The Velveteen Rabbit?  The technique is fascinating.  Like he wanted it to look as if a child had scribbled all over the book at strategic moments.  See, here’s what I mean:

  • There are just too many folks to congratulate with the recent bout of 2014 ALSC Election Results but I will give one or two shout-outs just for the heck of it.  Big time congrats and woohoos to Andrew Medlar, our bright and shiny new Vice-President/President Elect. On the Caldecott committee, our fair GreenBeanTeenQueen Sarah Bean Thompson will be serving (yay, bloggers!).  The Newbery committee is seeing the delightful Allie Bruce of the Bank Street College of Education (did you see her latest SLJ article?) and Christine Scheper, my Materials Specialist colleague at the Queens Library System.  Well done, everyone!
  • The issue of when one should begin telling kids about the Holocaust has come up time and time again in conversation.  How young is too young?  What makes a book appropriate or deeply inappropriate for a given age?  Well, Marjorie Ingall over at Tablet Magazine has some thoughts on the matter, even as she examines two very recent Holocaust titles that she admires (and that I need to read stat).  As Marjorie puts it, “A lot of us drag our heels when it comes to discussing the subject at all. We tell ourselves we want our kids to maintain their innocence for as long as possible. But what avoidance means, practically speaking, is that someone else often does the educating.”
  • This is fun.  Recently I took part in a Facebook chat on the subject of getting kids into summer reading as well as various topics books can cover (the stars, science fiction, and camping, amongst others).  With that in mind the illustrious Lori Ess and I created the Reading Under the Stars Pinterest page.  A collection of spooky, camping, and space titles, it covers ages 0-18 and has a little something for everyone.
  • Woo-hoo!  I love hearing whom The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art will honor at their yearly gala.  This year marks the ninth annual gala and fundraiser and so they’ll be honoring the following folks:

Artist: Jerry Pinkney

Angel: Reach Out and Read represented by Brian Gallagher and Dr. Perri Klass

Mentor: Henrietta Smith

Bridge: Françoise Mouly

For what it’s worth, I had the honor of hearing Dr. Perri Klass speak recently at the opening of a new NYU library and she was fan-friggin’-tastic.  So pleased she’s getting her due!  Henrietta Smith, for her part, is a children’s librarian so cool she has her own Wikipedia page.  And she served under Augusta Baker!  Man!  I wanna meet her stat.

  • When I was asked if I had heard about the anthology Altered Perceptions I had to confess that I had not.  And here I thought I knew all the anthologies out in 2014.  Turns out, Altered Perceptions is a unique case.  Thirty-one authors ranging from Shannon Hale and Sara Zarr to Lauren Oliver and Brandon Mull have joined together to help out writer Robison Wells.  Rob suffers from four different mental illnesses, so his friends have donated writing to help him out of his financial debt.  It’s sort of a win-win situation.  You buy a book that includes work from one of your favorite authors and you help a guy out.  They’re halfway to their stated goal with only 17 days left to raise the funds.  Be a sport.  Help a guy out.
  • When I hear that the Huffington Post has an article out with a title like 50 of the Best Kids’ Books Published in the Last 25 Years all that I ask of the universe is that when I open the dang thing I don’t immediately cringe upon seeing the picture book image they used to headline it.  So I opened this piece up and . . . yep.  Sure as shooting.  Cringeworthy.  Now add in the factual mistakes (the Galdone version of The Three Billy Goats Gruff came out in 1973, folks, not 1989).  Most of the books are fantastic, but man oh geez it’s an odd little list.
  • Daily Image:

I’ve blogged the Little Golden Book Gown before on this site, so the fact that it exists shouldn’t be too much of a surprise.  What I did not know was that it’s about to be on display here in NYC on May 30th.

Stats about the dress include the fact that the paper skirt is comprised entirely of the original book illustrations sewn together with metallic gold thread and that the bodice is made from the books’ foil spines backed by tape adhesive.  So if anyone wants to lend this to me for an upcoming Newbery/Caldecott Banquet . . . hey, I’m totally game!

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. Thanks, Betsy!

    And WAH, the cheapest tix to the fashion show at which the Little Golden Book Gown is being shown are $96! Hell yeah they need to lend it to you, so mere mortals have a chance to see it!

  2. Thanks for the shout-out Betsy!!

  3. Great stuff here!

  4. Christine Scheper says:

    Thanks, Betsy! 🙂

  5. Hmmm–a book about a bunny in which the illustrator “wanted it to look as if a child had scribbled all over the book at strategic moments.” Does that mean the good Mr. Sendak predated Battle Bunny by about 40 or 50 years?

    • Elizabeth Bird says:

      Oooooo. How odd that it didn’t even occur to me. We are looking at the proto-Battle Bunny indeed. Sendak, man. Dude had vision.