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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fusenews: Quoth the winner – “I was at dog church!”

  • First and foremost, this:


That would be Kadir Nelson’s tribute to the Schomburg Library in NYC. In an amazing bit of research you can see that he includes both the old Schomburg Library (now overrun with ivy) and the new Schomburg together at the bottom.  Love that fine attention to detail.

  • In all the talks we’ve heard from people about A FINE DESSERT and A BIRTHDAY CAKE FOR GEORGE WASHINGTON, I sometimes feel like we haven’t heard enough from the teachers about how they teach topics like slavery.  That’s why posts like Monica Edinger’s In the Classroom: Teaching About Slavery are so important.  If you read no other link today, read this one.
  • This one’s for the librarians.  Want to know all the different rates publishers charge libraries for ebooks?  A handy dandy chart explains all.
  • Travis Jonker knew not what he hath wrought when he posted about The Most Annoying Board Book Ever.  I know precisely what book he’s talking about (as does anyone else who has encountered it).  I never get rid of books, as my household will attest, but THAT book I gave away with a flourish when I moved.  I wasn’t going to use precious box space cluttering it up with that monstrosity.  One of the buttons that’s supposed to sound like snoring actually sounds like Darth Vader.  And believe you me, you do NOT want the unsettling feeling that Vader is lurking around your house.

Screen Shot 2016-02-18 at 10.22.02 PMSpeaking of radio, have you guys all heard James Kennedy (of 90-Second Newbery and The Order of Odd Fish fame) on Matthew Winner’s Let’s Get Busy podcast?  If you listen to no other interview on that show (and I include my own when I say that) listen to this one.  The two guys basically hit it out of the park right at the start when James mentions the plethora of The Call stories as they relate to ALA Award committees.  The dog church bit . . . seriously, you just have to listen.  And not just because an Oakland newspaper said of James that, “Between his wardrobe choices and excited mannerisms, he had the familiar air of Professor Gilderoy Lockhart in the Harry Potter film adaptations, only he was not a braggart.”  I always think of him as more a Xenophilius Lovegood type, but maybe that’s just the Rhys Ifans talking.

  • Man. I gotta apologize. Somebody somewhere alerted me to the Booktoss piece Say It With Me: Intersectionality and I’ve forgotten who they are.  Mea culpa.  In any case, this is a great piece of writing.  From Beyonce at the Superbowl to Ben Hatke’s Little Robot.  Not an easy connection, but Laura Jimenez manages it.  Kudos.
  • I think I failed to post this before, but Mike Lewis did a killer rundown of the CTTCB’s Social Media Institute in his piece Exiting the Echo Chamber.  I am, however, a little jealous at the title.  Wish I’d thought of it myself.
  • Why, yes.  I would like to attend a Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry exhibition at the Brooklyn Public Library.  However did you know?  But quick question: When did Wendell Minor illustrate the series?  It makes me happy but I want to see that work.
  • Things I’m Surprised More Publishers Don’t Do With Their Backlist: This. I guess it helps if you have a big recognizable name, but still. Now can we PLEASE discuss doing this with William’s Doll?  You want money?  I have money. (Fun Fact: I don’t have money – I just want to see it brought into the 21st century)
The tattered and faded stuffed animals--Pooh, Tigger, Kanga, Eeyore and Piglet--that inspired the children's tales of A.A. Milne sit in a glass case at a branch of the New York Public Library in New York, Thursday, February 5, 1998. New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani paid a visit to the animals Thurday to show his support for keeping them in the city.(AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

Pooh and friends pre-2008

Though it contains an image of the original Winnie-the-Pooh toys that has to be more than eight years old (Donnell Library!), the Huffington Post article Christopher Robin Was Real, And Other Facts About Winnie-The-Pooh’s Author has some nice items in it.  Particularly point #2.  H.G. Wells?  Really?

  • Here’s another one for the librarians.  Booksellers too, as it happens.  According to a recent Nielsen Report, Social Omnivores And Book Placement Majorly Influence Children’s Book Buyership.  No surprises there.  What is surprising is that when it comes to selecting books, “The shelf has more influence than the promotional table, window display, bargain bin, etc. combined by a very wide margin.”.  Yep.  Your displays may look all kinds of pretty, but nothing beats good old fashioned shelving when it comes to checkouts/sales.  Who knew?  Thanks to Carl Schwanke for the link.
  • Word I Don’t Use Enough: Ostrobogulous. Disagree on peril of defining it (though this may help). Thanks to Phil Nel for the link.
  • “Where are the children’s books that celebrate working-class values and voices?” is not a question being asked by many folks here in America.  It is, however, being asked in The Guardian by Elen Caldecott.  And it is a question I would very much like us to start answering over here as well.
  • Daily Image:

Alison Morris, currently working as the Senior Director of Collection Development & Merchandising at First Book, is the cleverest crafty person I know.  Years ago she showed me how to make F&Gs into birdhouses.  Now she’s making classic children’s characters into marble magnets.


Want to make your own?  Instructions can be found here.  Cheers, Alison!

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 for mentioning my post. I’m going to do a follow-up post soon with specifics about how the actual sessions have been going. Just to show how incredibly observant we need to be when doing this with kids, to never assume, to find ways to check in, and so forth.

    Here’s one example (and sorry for the length of this). As part of a lesson that featured a look at Bunce Island (a fort off the coast of Sierra Leone where enslaved rice farmers were especially desired to bring to Charleston) I showed the children a primary source image of an ad for a sale ( that states “”To be sold. . . a cargo of ninety-four prime, healthy Negroes”; men, women, and children from Sierra Leone.” I heard gasps and discovered it was because of the word “Negroes.” It was then I realized some had not encountered the word before, some thought it was the n-word they’d vaguely heard about.

    And so yesterday I followed up, discussing where the word came from (Spanish and Portuguese — one student who speaks Spanish knew this immediately), read excerpts from speeches of famous folk over the years containing the word (from Wade Hudson’s excellent Powerful Words), we talked about what it means to define people by words this way, and more. At one point we were discussing other words for white and a child whispered something that I couldn’t hear and the child who knew Spanish next to him laughed. I took him aside later and at first he was reluctant to tell me what he had said. Finally he whispered to me, “Blanco.” I told him that was a good word to have said, not a bad one at all. And then I spoke to the little girl who had laughed, wanting to be sure to validate her response too. Her laughter had been one of surprise and nothing more. All was fine, but it made me realize yet again that I need to pay such close attention, check in regularly, and follow-up anytime I sense confusion. (Btw, I have a fairly diverse class, so kids of all ethnicities and backgrounds are engaging with this, each in their own way.)

  2. Nina Lehman says

    I am always uncomfortable with aged lists. As I scrolled down the Brightly list I was struck by the fact that the vast majority, but not all, were books that my children read and enjoyed at much younger ages.

    • Elizabeth Bird says

      You will note, then, that there was a huge range in reading levels there. Picture books as well as chapter books like Charlotte’s Web. That’s what I like about the list. It’s for kids of all reading levels but with age appropriate content.

    • My Boaz's Ruth says

      My son (3rd grade, 8 yo) loves the Humphrey books. But read the Who was series in 1st grade… And Wimpy Kid, Where the Sidewalk Ends… so this list made me wonder if the Humphrey books are now really too young for him. He did read the Ramona books this year and adores the Maps book. And it showed me a few more books to direct him to try.

      He also loves The Phantom Tollbooth, which is not here at all. And James Patterson’s “Middle School” series.

  3. It’s always a treat to get mentioned on Fuse #8 — but it’s a double treat when my ramblings make it into the headline. Thanks, Betsy! (And thanks to Mr. Winner for having me on his podcast!)

    • Elizabeth Bird says

      Thanks, James. It is, upon retrospect, an odd little title. Hopefully folks understand that it comes from your interview.

  4. The Daily Image with the marble magnets has a pattern below it that makes me think of Sophie Blackall’s work. The pattern is the same one used in Finding Winnie.

  5. Betsy, I can’t thank you enough for the link about eBooks. This is a great resource for when you need to beg (and plead) for more funding in collection development.

    Also, I wish I lived in Brooklyn. I am so inspired by the RoTHMC exhibit. That book is in my Top 10 Newberys – and I loved it as a kid, too.