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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fusenews: Digitization for the Win

BlackExperienceinChildrensBooksOne of the many things I liked about working for New York Public Library was the institution’s longstanding dedication to diversity in children’s literature. NYPL from 1913 to about seven years ago produced a regularly updated booklist that was originally called The Negro Experience in Children’s Books and later The Black Experience in Children’s Books. These lists were kept carefully preserved in the offices of the heads of Children’s Services, and when those positions were reorganized the fate of the lists was unclear. I have just received word, though, that the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture (which appears in at least two different children’s books this year, coincidentally enough) has digitized the books that appeared on these lists.  Oddly, all the bibliographies themselves were also digitized but only one is online at the moment here.  Here is a chronological list of some of the books that you’ll find included:

Word Pictures of the Great (1941)


Fun For Chris (1956)


Julie’s Heritage (1957)


South Town (1958)


Lonely Maria (1960)


Fun With David (1962)



Speaking of NYPL, as any good children’s librarian worth their salt knows, much of one’s job is spent wrangling performers in the library setting.  Sometimes they’re great.  Sometimes they’re awful.  Sometimes you never forget them for good reasons and sometimes you never forget them for bad.  One group that was consistently good (and in very high demand) was called The Story Pirates.  To my infinite surprise, I find that the group is now creating children’s books.  The first book associated with them was written by the incredibly talented Geoff Rodkey.  The second is slated to be by Jacqueline West.  Now the pirates are holding a contest for kid authors to help them come up with the story. If you’ve ever been to a SP show you’ll know that it’s all improv.  This feels very much along the same lines.  Fun for those of you with kids in the home.


I was intrigued by the New York Times article on the Dr. Seuss Museum and its decision not to include Ted Geisel’s early racist cartoons.  There are many fine quotes from fellow Nibling Phil Nel in the piece that are well worth noting, particularly his parting shot.


Speaking of Phil, his recent blog posting We Need Diverse Scholars, speaks to the need of getting a lot more diversity into the world of children’s literature academics. A great piece.


Since I started podcasting with my sister I’ve been looking so much more closely at the other kidlit podcasts out there.  You have your usual classics like The Yarn, the one from PW, All the Wonders, and the now defunct Horn Book.  Then there are the lesser known entities that do a bloody good job just the same.  I’m particularly keen on podcasts by kids.  Recently I was alerted to Books R Us, a student-run podcast that so far features work by Elly Swartz, Ami Polonsky and Elizabeth Wein. It’s for students, by students.  Check them out if you get a chance. Those kids do good work.


This next piece should probably be its own press release, but I just had to include it here.  If you know me then you know my love of international children’s literature.  Well here’s an award for those of you doing programs that speak of countries outside of the States:

DEADLINE EXTENDED for United States Board on Books for Young People
2016 Bridge to Understanding Award

Did you conduct a program during 2016 to expand understanding of cultures/countries outside the US? Consider applying for the USBBY Bridge to Understanding Award!

What is the Bridge to Understanding Award?

This prestigious award was established in memory of Arlene Pillar, an educator who served USBBY as newsletter editor from 1984 until 1990.

The award recognizes a program that promotes reading as a way to expand understanding of one or more cultures or countries outside of the United States. Preference is given to programs that focus on contemporary life and culture.

Organizations eligible for this award include schools, libraries, scout troops, clubs and bookstores. The program may be a one-time event or an ongoing series that serves children ranging in age from kindergarten through tenth grade.

This award carries a monetary prize of $1,000 and a certificate.

How to apply for the Bridge to Understanding Award
Applications and criteria for the 2016 Bridge to Understanding Award are available at or from the USBBY Secretariat at Phone: (224) 233-2030. To be considered the program must have occurred during the year 2016.

Deadline for submissions is September 15, 2017.
USBBY, the United States National Section of the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY), is dedicated to promoting high quality literature for young people throughout the world.


Daily Image:

I saw this one Twitter posted by a Mark Mason as an example of a, “Great detail in the Times’s obituary of Michael Bond.”  Not wrong. Something charming to send you off on your day then:


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. Fran Manushkin says

    This Michael Bond story has made my Fourth of July happier. Courtesy will return: our country is big enough to embrace it, and stories like this will help.

    • Elizabeth Bird says

      Did you like the Keats picture at the start of this piece? I thought of you.