Follow This Blog: RSS feed
A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fusenews: Sit On a Tea Party a Spell

Haven’t done one of these in a while. To be fair, there’s been so much crazy news out there that it’s almost too intimidating to do something as light and fluffy as this. Best if I stick with the news that matters. And, occasionally, the stuff I don’t remember seeing already on PW Children’s Bookshelf.


WhoWasHamiltonFirst up, this probably was on PW Children’s Bookshelf and I was just sleeping that day. As you might recall, my recent anthology FUNNY GIRL kicks off with some advice on how to be funny written by Delaney Yeager and her sister Mackenzie. Well the other day Delaney mentioned casually that this was not the end of her ties to Penguin Random House. Turns out, she’s been a writer on the upcoming Who Was series coming to Netflix and out this January. It’s based on the “Who Was” nonfiction series from Penguin and is described as “a mixture of comedy and history and will feature key leaders, innovators and creative trendsetters while placing historical figures into context for today’s children.”  All of which I read as “Drunk History for Kids”. Right-o. I’m on board with that. Sans the whole alcohol part. Of course, y’all should have hired Nathan Hale on your writing staff, though (y’hear me, Kalan?). Dude’s been doing this stuff for years.


Remember the last American Library Conference here in Chicago? Times were simpler then. We were all so much younger. It was at least a good (checks watch) two months ago or so. For those of you unable to attend but find yourselves often wondering, “Was there ever an audio file for that panel moderated by Sharyn November featuring Andrea Beaty, Erica Perl, Betsy Bird, Cece Bell, and Rita Williams-Garcia about women and humor?” the answer is yes and you can find it here.


Can I tell you how pleased I am that Julie Danielson chose to highlight my favorite board book of the year? So pleased. So very very pleased.


In my city of Evanston, 2014 was the year the schools banned leggings. 2017 is now the year that ban was lifted. As such, I expect everyone at ETHS to start wearing these ASAP:


EVERYONE. Though preferably with shirts, of course. And shoes.


“I’m pretty sure I was the least productive Sendak Fellow.” That’s a good line. As you may know, every year a small group of artists are offered the chance to stay for a month in Maurice Sendak’s home in upstate New York. The whole idea is to help them with their work. But, as Elisha Cooper put it, “I didn’t.” Find out why here.



It’s been a while since I’ve seen an old-fashioned attempt at homophobic book banning. Still, that was the case just yesterday when the Illinois Family Institute attempted to remove This Day in June by Gayle E. Pitman, illustrated by Kristyna Litten, from the West Chicago Public Library shelves. If you read their recommendation for removal you’ll undoubtedly come across what, to me, was the most chilling line in the piece: “Since libraries work together through inter-library loans, if one library has it, it will be available to regional libraries as well. Thus, one need not live within the West Chicago Library district to be heard.” Put another way, as long as there is inter-library loans, any book, anywhere, is fair game for a banning, regardless of whether or not you actually belong to that library system or not. Well, the votes came in and as Plainfield Public librarian Joe Marcantonio put it,

West Chicago Public Library board was ???? tonight! They voted to retain “This Day in June” a children’s book about a Pride Parade and kept it in the children’s area. One of the board members said “You have a right to censor your children from these books. You don’t have the right to censor other people’s children from these books.

Bolded text my own.


Lithub, I salute you and thank you dearly. I’ve never saw as beautiful an encapsulation of the history of the board book as physical object as I did with your recent piece The History of the Bendable, Durable, Chewable Board Book. And, of course, as a result of reading it I’m now hugely curious about the “macabre King Gobble’s Feast“. Well done, Olivia Campbell.


Daily Image:

Sandra Boynton won Twitter the other day. Or did you miss that?


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’m curious about the bestseller status of the Who Was/Who Is titles. I understand why they’re popular. They provide a lot of information in a short space, for kids who want to get their reports over with. But it’s rare for a children’s biography to reach the bestseller list. Are these books a hit just because teachers keep recommending them, or was there a burst of publicity that I missed?

    • Elizabeth Bird says

      I have my theories. Someone can correct me if I’m wrong, but Barnes & Noble really took the lead in promoting the series early on, as I recall. I think giving that much major shelf space to a NF series (and the low cost since they’re just paperbacks) went a long way.

    • MotherLydia says

      My son loved the Who Was/Who Is series for a while (Though, like most series, he got over it before he got through all the books in the series). It’s written at a easy level, with lots of pictures, about non-fiction subjects. (my son prefers non-fiction to fiction, and for a long time preferred to have pictures in his books, even when he could technically read harder books.) And if you like one, it is easy to find another to pick up, and know that it will be similar. And he gets to pick up neat facts he can introduce others to in the meantime as well!

      So, in a way, it may be that it is so popular because it is a series. Because you can pick up another book and be confident it will be okay because it is so similar to the one you already read.

    • We have kids that specifically ask for them (not for book reports–for pleasure reading) and look for any new ones that we order. However, the history/geography ones have not been quite as popular. No idea why.

  2. Good morning, Betsy! A biggie that matters is that PEN Center USA removed John Smelcer’s book from consideration for its YA award. I’ve been keeping a list of articles about it, that starts with him being named on the list of finalists. Here’s the link, for those interested in this story:

    • Elizabeth Bird says

      Whoa. Wait? When did this happen? I thought I was following this story pretty closely, but I somehow missed this update. Thanks for the heads up!