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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fusenews: Hello, Ms. Champeen!

We start with the Me Stuff, and then it’s all downhill from there, as they say.


First up, I’m slated to be in NYC this weekend! *enter noisemaker sound here*  Yup! It’s Bookfest time at the Bank Street College of Education and this guy is gonna lead a discussion on humor with Jon Scieszka, Rita Williams-Garcia, and Carmen Agra Deedy. Can’t make it? Have no fear! The whole kerschmozzle is going to be livestreamed with Kidlit TV starting at 9:30 EST on Saturday. I’ll be the one with the face. See you soon!


Many Caldecott thoughts are orbiting my little noggin today. Three, to be precise. So, in order of when I saw them:

  1. Let’s start with the website we all turn to when someone says to us, “Hey! What won a Caldecott Honor in 1941?” (April’s Kittens by Newberry. Duh). The Caldecott page of Medal & Honor Books is one of my most visited sites on a weekly basis. So why is it that around 2011 they stopped linking the winners to their cover art and copyright pages?  Check it out. Anything earlier than 2011 is accompanied by the statement “Click on the title link to discover the award-winning book’s cover art and copyright page.” After 2011? Nothing. What gives?
  2. Travis Jonker just produced the world’s greatest Caldecott-related infographic over at Calling Caldecott. If Peter Sieruta were still alive I bet he would have become a really big infographic fan.
  3. Speaking of Peter Sieruta, someone on the new child_lit listserv (now conveniently located in what appears to be the UK) pointed out recently that he once provided quite a lot of information about the youngest Caldecott winner, but that it’s almost impossible to get more information about it elsewhere. Here’s what he wrote:

Screen Shot 2017-10-23 at 10.44.40 PMWait. . . . what?  Wow. This pairs really well with the recent article in The Atlantic that touched on the fact that the 1928 Newbery winner went to an author of color. Peter continues:

Screen Shot 2017-10-23 at 10.44.50 PMIt goes on and is really worth reading. Then Peter produces a ton of information about why Plato was named Plato. Something that Jules and I learned while working with Peter on Wild Things was that the man had this incredibly amazing personal research library at his disposal that the rest of the world only got to see in glimpses, like this. In any case, if anyone ever asks you the name of the youngest Caldecott winner, now you know. It was Plato Chan.


I don’t suppose you all noticed that the 2017 International Latino Book Awards were handed out not long ago, did you? There are some crazy good winners on that list, including my beloved The Rooster Who Would Not Be Quiet by Carmen Agra Deedy and Olinguito, de la A a la Z! / Olinguito, from A to Z! by Lulu Delacre, to say nothing of Juana & Lucas by Juana Medina

By the way, in the Best Children’s Fiction Picture Book – Spanish category, this book came out the top winner. I just stumbled on it in my own library this week and was instantly smitten. BILINGUAL EDITION, PLEASE!!



November, as it turns out, is Picture Book Month. You know what has two thumbs and loves picture books? This guy. You know what has fifty-eight thumbs and also loves picture books? All the folks that are contributing as Picture Book Ambassadors. It’s a month of suggestions for teachers on how to celebrate the form. Have at it.


In preparation for his recent appearance on the panel “Asian American Experiences in Children’s Books” (which included Uma Krishnaswami, Philip Lee, and Linda Sue Park) at the 12th IBBY Regional Conference, David Jacobson, editorial consultant at Chin Music Press, and author of Are You an Echo?: The Lost Poetry of Misuzu Kaneko, set out to find any lists of children’s and YA books translated from Chinese into English. He wanted to do a survey of translations from Chinese, Japanese and Korean. Not only did he gather together this information, but he’s also made it public. Please be sure to check out David’s survey of translations of children’s and YA Literature translated from Chinese, Japanese and Korean. You will literally not find this information anywhere else.

While doing some research for a recent talk I gave on the history of religion in children’s literature in America, I cited several times Marjorie Ingall’s contributions to Tablet Magazine. Then I mentioned two of her recent pieces in the last Fusenews which, by some mysterious circumstance, disappeared when I saved the article. Mmm hmmm. Trying again then. Here are two recent Ingall pieces that should be consider Must Reads (I have a lot of those today). Teaching Kids About Refugees is timely and important but Picture Books for Parents Who Are Ambivalent About Israel is one of those pieces that you will ONLY see coming from Marjorie. Folks might want to write it, but it takes a lot of spine to do so.

When I worked for NYPL I ended up visiting about eight or nine of the “library apartments”. These were apartments built into Carnegie libraries where the maintenance workers could live with their families. Periodically the news cycle will remember this and make it into an article. Most recently it was NPR and their piece How Living In a Library Gave One Man the Thirst of Learning.

Curious about seeing that new movie about A.A. Milne and his son called Goodbye, Christopher Robin? The AV Club did it already and they are . . . oh my. Not entirely pleased, are they?

Over at Brightly there’s a nice piece about Looking Back and Looking Up: Finding Solace in Children’s Books Written in Troubled Times. We see a fair number of these pieces come out after catastrophic events, but what I like about this one is the accompanying booklist. It’s not the usual fare, and it’s helpful. Extra points are to be given for the inclusion of Daniel Pinkwater’s The Big Orange Splot from 1977 too. Didn’t Purple House Press bring that back in print a couple years ago? Good stuff.

Being just a stone’s throw from Chicago, I don’t much follow baseball visually but rather through the ether. And when I entered my workplace on Friday I instantly knew something was wrong. Apparently the dear Cubs did not do so well lately and folks were blue. So blue that they keep shouting a sardonic “Well, you know what they say. There’s always last year,” to alleviate their pain. But in other parts of the country the World Series is of the greatest interest. Over at Boys Rule, Boys Read, Iron Guy Carl is conducting his World Series of Reading Contest again this year and it starts today (which, I have been told by those who know, is the same day as the actual World Series). Boys send in book reviews, get points, and win prizes while the contest will run through Nov. 1.  FYI!

Daily Image(s):

I was weeding the art books the other day, which is a rather time intensive and laborious process. Plus, you would not believe how many fantastic books about children’s book illustrators simply do not get read!  Let me show you two of my recent finds that just made me so incredibly happy. First off, a biography of one of the greatest masters of children’s book illustration now or ever: Mitsumasa Anno. I’ve never seen this before and its very discovery made my day:


Second, I found (to my very great consternation) that a book of Rube Goldberg illustrations was slated for the chopping block. On my lap it opened to this image and . . . well . . . it’s sort of has become my motto for life. I  intend to look long and hard at it on my down days:


Do not worry, gentle readers. Rather than toss these books I’m going to make a display of them so that they can be fully appreciated by the public once more. It’s the least I can do for them.

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. Thank you for the shout-out, Betsy!

    I’m looking forward to reading the Christopher Robin movie review. The preview gets me LEAPING for the remote every time it’s on TV. So much golden light! Such a relentlessly, punishingly adorable child! So much swelling music! Vom.

    • Elizabeth Bird says

      “punishingly adorable child” is an excellent description for it. The kid is essentially walking dimpled cheeks. Well put.

  2. I’d like to thank you, too, for the shout-out, Betsy! The database of translations of kids lit from Chinese, Japanese and Korean is still a work-in-progress. I welcome all corrections, edits and additions to make it as comprehensive as possible. I’m looking, in particular, for translations published by small presses and those overseas, titles that often fall under the radar but would still be available through Amazon or as an e-book. And in the future, I hope to expand it to other languages, too.

  3. Big “noisemaker sound” now being made for your NYC visit and for KidLit TV’s streaming it if I can’t be there. I happen to be reading — and laughing with — your book, FUNNY GIRL I love that middle school picture! And the lesson learned. Welcome to NYC, Funny Girl.