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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fusenews: Always Pegged Batman as More of a Tomi Ungerer Fan Myself

Happy ALA Conference Week!  Starting this Thursday or Friday or so the librarians will descend en masse upon our fair Chicago.  To better prepare you please be so good as to check out Andrea Vaughn Johnson’s piece for the ALSC blog Chicagoland Mini-Tours for Book Lovers. That will fill in any gaps you might have if you arrive too early or depart too late.

Now I know at least some of you have that handy dandy little ALA app that helps you arrange your schedule at the conference.  I highly suggest you add a couple of the following events to it, like the live Yarn Podcast recordings held on both Friday AND Saturday!!  And should you find you have some more down time:

On Saturday, June 24th:

  • 9:00 a.m. – Come by the Penguin Random House booth where I’ll be signing FUNNY GIRL.  I figured out how to turn the flourish on the title page into a funny face.  Worth it, right?
  • 2:00 – Come to the PopTop Stage on the Conference floor for this:

Unlocking Ideas:  Donning Our Thinking Caps and Embracing our Mistakes in the Name of Picture Book Art

Meet 6 creative minds, illustrators Judy Schachner, Kadir Nelson, Corinna Luyken, Greg Pizzoli, and Duncan Tonatiuh and moderator Betsy Bird, who will discuss the importance of imagination, creativity, and accidents in art-making as they relate to their books and the writing & illustration process.

  • 3:00 – Run like billy-o (feet don’t fail me now!) over to room W180 for this panel:

Women Aren’t Funny (And Other Essential Untruths For Middle Grade Readers)

Humor! It grabs boys’ attention, keeps them turning pages and makes them clamor for “more books like that!” But wait a second – boys aren’t the only ones demanding funny books. And men certainly aren’t the only ones writing them. So why do these misperceptions persist? With editor Sharyn November as moderator, five middle grade authors will discuss the serious business of busting stereotypes and the pleasures and pitfalls of being female and writing funny.

On Sunday, June 25th:

  • 9:30 a.m. – Come to the Graphic Novel / Gaming Stage on the Conference floor for this:

How to Write for Children

An overview of graphic novels for kids and teens, from classics (like Tintin, Boule & Bill), contemporary favorites such as Marguerite Abouet’s Akissi and Aya of Yop City, and new releases like The Baker Street Four illustrated by David Etien and Audubon: On the Wings of the World by Jérémie Royer. Moderated by Betsy Bird.

  • 2:00 p.m. – Not a librarian? Jealous that you can’t see any of this cool stuff? Then leave the Conference Center entirely and travel to LaGrange, IL for this event at Anderson’s Bookshop:

Andrea Beaty, Cece Bell, Betsy Bird & Erica Perl – Moderated by Sharyn November
Sunday, June 25th at 3:00 PM
Anderson’s Bookshop La Grange

Join us to meet a great panel of middle grade authors!  Author Sharyn November will be moderating the book discussions.

This event is free and open to the public. To join the signing line, please purchase one of the author’s latest books:
Andrea Beaty – Dorko the Magnificent 
Cece Bell – Rabbit and Robot and Ribbit
Betsy Bird – Funny Girl
Erica Perl – The Capybara Conspiracy: A Novel in Three Acts

  • 3:30 p.m. – Watch Betsy hyperventilate and then die of exhaustion, tragically just hours before that evening’s Newbery/Caldecott Banquet. In the unlikely event that she doesn’t do herself to death, you will see the latest outfit construction.  I promise no miracles, but it should be . . . on topic.


Soo . . . . has anyone else noticed the plethora of children’s literature news featured at Atlas Obscura in the last week or two? Some examples:

There are actually a lot more, but I’ve only so much time. The kicker is that all these posts are remarkably good. And that last one even managed to get Stephanie Whelan’s beloved Blast Off on there, which is fantastic since it’s probably the only book by an African-American author/illustrator and about a black kid on the list.

Winged Girl

Speaking of obscure but beloved children’s books, I’m happy to report that my beloved obscure Newbery Honor winning title The Winged Girl of Knossos (finally reprinted after all these years) just got a Wall Street Journal write-up.  A worthier book you could not hope to bestow such an honor upon.


I don’t know if you’re familiar with the site A Book and a Hug but it’s one of those rare places where you can find new books by filling out a variety of different screens that narrow down the title you seek by type.  Plus it’s adding new books to the equation every day.  The site isn’t new but its update is.

This is for the New Yorkers out there – Books of Wonder to Open Upper West Side Location.  Because apparently having just one children’s bookstore on the Upper West Side isn’t enough.  We must put the only two in town as close to one another as humanly possible.  Seriously, this I do not get.  I understand that Manhattan real estate is expensive no matter where you go, but specifically the Upper West Side?  I suppose it’s too much to hope for the Bronx (currently a borough without a single bookstore) but Harlem could have been nice.  Or Hell’s Kitchen for that matter.

NCTE has released its Reading List for Summer in Participatory Citizenship. Whaddaya waiting for?  Go! Find! Distribute to the masses!

Meanwhile over at 100 Scope Notes, Travis Jonker says what we’ve all been thinking but haven’t had the guts to say. Does anyone else remember the time he turned a snow covered hillside into WWIII?  And now I’m supposed to be learning fiscal responsibility from him? Puh-leeze.

Big time Steven Universe fan over here, that’s me. And why not? It’s a cartoon with catchy songs, great voicework, and killer writing. Plus the creator’s name is “Rebecca Sugar” which, as a Betsy Bird, I appreciate on a different level entirely. Now Rolling Stone has interviewed Ms. Sugar about the show and it’s glory.  As well they should, my friend.  As well they should.

Daily Image:

On the one hand, there’s a very large part of me that can’t believe that this is real . . .

Screen Shot 2017-06-19 at 10.45.18 PM

Screen Shot 2017-06-19 at 10.45.31 PM

On the other hand, there’s an even larger part of me that is desperate to believe that it IS!

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. The Danielsons are a little bit obsessed with Steven Universe too. Thanks for that link!