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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Unexpected Jolts of Children’s Literature

It has been too long! Too long indeed! Periodically I will notice, note, and eventually post about books for adults that have some tangential (or even overt) relationship to children’s literature. Sometimes I find these books all coming out on practically the same day. Other times, it takes longer to round them up. This latest crop is utterly fascinating, no matter how you slice it. And it starts with a very familiar name:

A show of hands. How many of you knew that Kwame was coming out with adult poetry these days? Because I sure as heck didn’t and I actually purchase adult titles for my library system. Here’s the description if you’re curious:

“From NPR correspondent and New York Times bestselling author, Kwame Alexander, comes a powerful and provocative collection of poems that cut to the heart of the entrenched racism and oppression in America and eloquently explores ongoing events.   A book in the tradition of James Baldwin’s “A Report from Occupied Territory”, Light for the World to See is a rap session on race. A lyrical response to the struggles of Black lives in our world . . . to America’s crisis of conscience . . . to the centuries of loss, endless resilience, and unstoppable hope.   Includes an introduction by the author and a bold, graphically designed interior.”

To be fair, I don’t think I knew that he was a correspondent for NPR either. Look for it on shelves everywhere November 17th.

“Don’t miss the Spike Lee film of the Broadway hit American Utopia–on HBO.”

My husband and I have started watching the show Documentary Now on Netflix. Originally it premiered on the Independent Film Channel and it’s a bit of a marvel. Essentially, someone decided it would be worth their while to make parodies of famous documentaries. Stop Making Sense (the David Byrne concert documentary) was parodied magnificently , so I actually have a funny reaction to seeing this Byrne/Kalman collaboration. Kalman, of course, cannot be said to truly belong to the world of children’s literature, but she’s done enough picture books that I think she fits on today’s list.

I’m reading The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe to my son right now, as it happens. It’s funny how much you forget between readings. Oddly, Bruner and Ware previously collaborated on the book Finding God in The Lord of the Rings. Seems to me that it makes a lot more sense to start with Lewis over Tolkien. Maybe they were working their way up to it.

And speaking of religion, books that are considered to be treasuries of one sort or another usually get passed along to the adult selectors at a library. I had the pleasure of meeting Jack Zipes in person at the Twin Cities Book Festival about a year ago (which is to say, about 100 years ago) and he was lovely. It was so nice to put a face to a name, as I’d been reading his words on folk and fairy tales for so long. Kirkus called this, “A family-oriented yet scholarly anthology of Yiddish literature.” Whatever you call it, it looks rather cool.

I don’t want to talk too much about this final book. Suffice to say, I’ve a treat related to it coming up on this blog. Stay tuned, faithful readers. It’s gonna be good.

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. Finding God in the Land of Narnia came out in 2005. This must be a new publication.

  2. Honey on the Page has a terrific introduction by scholar Miriam Udel; this book is perfect for anyone interested in Yiddish literature.
    I’d like to remind Narnia skeptics, like myself, to read Laura Miller’s The Magician’s Book: A Skeptic’s Adventures in Narnia. Among other problems she discusses misogyny in Lewis’s worldview.
    A biography of Louise Fitzhugh is long overdue!