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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fusenews: All I remember is it had a blue cover


How does Horn Book not have a “weird stuff” room?

I can’t believe I forgot to tell you that I was a guest on the Horn Book Podcast recently.  To be a guest has been a dream of mine ever since I listened to its first episode.  Hearing the banter between Roger Sutton and Siân Gaetano fills my heart with gladness.  Oddly, in my episode I was there sans Roger.  I’m also only half joking when I say my ultimate goal is to supplant him in all things.  Many thanks to the excellent Siân who not only is smart, witty, and very good at keeping the conversation moving at a sharp clip, but who is also adept at subtly pointing out when you’ve moved too far from the microphone.  Oh, and the topic?  Religion.  Cause that’s how I roll.  Apparently.


This is so cool.  A recent online New Yorker article called City of Women discussed the fact that in New York City an overwhelming number of street, subway, and place names are named after men.  That’s not particular to NYC, of course.  The whole country pretty much acts the same way, but in the five boroughs it feels particularly egregious since everything’s so close together.  The article has some nice details, like this:

“A recent essay by Allison Meier notes that there are only five statues of named women in New York City: Joan of Arc, Golda Meir, Gertrude Stein, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Har­riet Tubman, the last four added in the past third of a century. Until 1984, there was only one, the medieval Joan in Riverside Park, installed in 1915. Before that, only men were commemorated in the statuary of New York City.”

In response to all this, a subway map with place names of women rather than men was created.  I spy with my little eye such children’s literature tributes as Margaret Wise Brown and Edwidge Danticat (I know she’s most adult, but I’m counting her anyway) amongst others.


And in case you missed it, there’s another online New Yorker piece I urge you to seek out.  Adam Gidwitz appears to be everywhere these days, thanks in large part to a massive publicity push on the part of Penguin Random House to get The Inquisitor’s Tale some proper monetary and critical attention.  This includes The New Yorker where his piece What Makes a Children’s Book Good? will make you think and learn and grow.  Plus it mentions Dinotopia which no one EVER mentions anymore.  Isn’t that weird?  For how popular it was?  Note to Self: Write blog post called “The Dinotopia Conspiracy”.




It’s British, but I’m sure it would only take a couple tweaks to make this good for the American market.  A market that is very very very hungry for books of this sort.  This year alone we’ve seen at least three picture books on the subject.  Now it’s time for something a little older and we have NOTHING at this precise moment in time that would suit us as well as this.


Okay, this is an interesting one.  You’ve heard of literary children’s periodicals.  You’ve heard of films and television shows for kids based on books.  Now let us consider the children’s literary podcast.  Of an original book, no less!  There is one out there, and it’s called “The Alien Adventures of Finn Caspian”.  A self-described sci-fi podcast for kids, the show is heavily influenced by and referential to children’s literature.  For all your budding science fiction fans out there then.


Honestly, I rather adored this next one.  Artist Paints Humorous Book Covers Based on Foggy Memories.  Every children’s librarian that has ever been faced with an adult patron trying to remember a book from their youth (“There was this kid and he said he feet had brains of their own and they kept making him do stuff, and . . . .”) should read and appreciate this.  My personal favorite:



Travis Jonker can do anything.  He can scale mighty mountains.  He can cross burning desert sands.  He can sail into the worst of storms.  At least I assume he can since he just about kills it with his blog.  Check out one of his latest and coolest pieces: A Geisel Award Infographic.  Travis!  Teach me your ways!


It is good to remember that even when this crazy world has let you down, #TrumpDrSeuss can spring up and make everything at least a little more ludicrous.


Oh!  This is fun.  Look what I’m up to later this month:

foundation65If you’re interested in watching this panel and you live in the Chicago area, come on by!  It’s free to the public and just look at that line-up.  Nice, right?


Do you fantasize about the perfect Little Free Library?  Have you personally figured out a way to combat all its design problems?  Do you think you might hold the key to the world’s most perfect one?  Then you might want to submit to Chronicle’s Little Free Library Design Competition.  The rules are simple. You just write out a 200-word description of your project and include an image of a sketch, rendering, model, or completed piece with that description.  All submissions are due by 11/11, though, so good luck!


Will Elena Ferrante’s New Picture Book Terrify Children?  If not then at the very least that Wall Street Journal headline is bound to terrify adults. Thanks to Jules and Travis for the link.


Lee and Low shared eight of their titles that offer alternative viewpoints to historical moments that traditionally have been taught to kids only one way.  A very good idea for a post, shared fittingly on Indigenous People’s Day.


Daily Image:

In case you’ve been stumped coming up with an original Halloween costume, I saw this one last year and just figured I’d hold onto it until I could share it with you.  Voila.

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. I talk about Dinotopia on a daily basis!

    And so does its creator James Gurney, who has the best traditional painting/illustration blog on the internet:

    Endlessly fascinating posts on plein air painting, design, classic illustration, and, of course, DINOTOPIA!

    The man’s a genius, and he posts every single day.

  2. Whoops! Make that

    That first one is a dead end.

    • Elizabeth Bird says:

      Okay. That’s two people talking about Dinotopia. I maintain my conspiracy theory, though, since it was a HUGE deal back in the day but has largely been ignored by our let’s-make-everything-live-again society. I want a 21st century Dinotopia (that art, man, that art). MOOOOOORE!

  3. Jeanine Lancaster says:

    Darn you, Betsy! I should know better than to read one of your posts before work – now I want to follow every single link instead of ironing a shirt for the day. Do you think patrons will notice if I just go in wrinkled instead? Thank you for the delight and inspiration.

    • Elizabeth Bird says:

      No problem! And if it’s any consolation, no patron has ever noticed my own horribly wrinkled attire. That may be because I’ve never worn anything unwrinkled a day of my life, though. Keeping the bar low! Woo-hoo!

  4. Adam Gidwitz, FTW. Thank you for that link, Betsy. What a marvelous opinion piece.

    I’m *still* waiting for Inquisitor’s Tale from my library. It’s hot right now, and your Goodreads review has only fanned my flame to read it.