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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

A Good Old-Fashioned Nonfiction / Informational Fiction Debate

A rip-roaring conversation (with only minimal bloodshed) between myself and author Amy Alznauer about the border between fiction and nonfiction in the realm of children’s books and how carefully it should be guarded.

Hey, Whatever Happened With the Rabbit hOle? The Future of the World’s First Explor-a-Storium

Imagine a place that turns the entire notion of children’s books and museums on their head. Picture an Explor-a-Storium a.k.a. an interactive children’s museum where everything inside is children’s book related. Mad, you say? Absolutely. Now check out how close we are to completion…

Trendwatch 2020: Death Death Death Death Death

The most sweeping trend of 2020? That’s right. It’s dead dogs. Better grab your hankies now.

21st Century Oral Storytelling: How PJ Library Connects Kids to Their Heritage via Podcasting

“Folktales were an oral tradition before they were a book tradition.” I interview Meredith Lewis about why podcasts for kids are an ideal venue for carrying on Jewish storytelling traditions.

Children’s Literary Obituaries: What We Lost in 2019

While we traipse merrily into a new decade and a new era, it’s not the worst idea to look back and pay tribute to the authors and illustrators of children’s books we lost in 2019. Here is a recap of the creators that we should stand back and remember at least one more time

Put a Little Swag In Your Step (2019 edition)

This year, I decided to meticulously keep track of every little bit of swag that came my way. Here is a full accounting of what I have found, broken down by category. Perhaps it will be of use or interest to anyone who wishes to start delving into swag of their own.

The Scourge of Skyward Knitting Needles: It Continues

It’s baaaaack! That most wonderful time of the year where we determine once and for all whether or not skilled illustrators are capable of rendering knitting needles correctly on a picture book page. A weird obsession, I’ll grant, but an oddly rewarding one.

Betsy Doesn’t Have Time for Your Nostalgia Today

Over the years I’ve heard lots of adults make comments about the tawdry state of children’s books today. So allow me now to address these concerns. What, I ask, makes you think children’s books today don’t cut it?

Americans Never Enter International Awards: Introducing the Nami Concours

I have discovered the Nami Island International Picture Book Illustration Concours or just Nami Concours for short. In 2013 an international biannual picture book award was begun on this island and it, “seeks to encourage artistic creativity and advance the quality of picture book illustrations worldwide.” So where are all the American submissions?

Odd Pairings of 2019 Children’s Books

My head is spinning. I can’t help but draw connections between all the 2019 books I’ve seen so far. Here are some of the wackier pairings.

Hello, Neighbor. Matthew Cordell Brings the Life of Mr. Rogers to Life


Tomorrow (Saturday) it will be National Good Neighbor Day. To celebrate, USA Today is revealing the cover of Matthew’s May 2020 release Hello, Neighbor! The Kind and Caring World of Mr. Rogers. Pretty spiffy, but why am I bring it up? Because I have something nifty up my sleeves as well. I have interior spreads.

Library As Canvas: The Extraordinary Art of Elisha Cooper

Elisha Cooper came to my library with an offer. How would we like beautiful, handmade signs for the different sections of the library that also happened to be Evanston-themed? We unpack the results of this generous gift.

Breaking Down the Changes to E-Content in Your Local Libraries: What You Need to Know

If you’ve noticed the headlines in your literary news sources then you may have heard that publishers have been placing additional restrictions on libraries and the e-materials they circulate. But what are these changes and what do they mean? A breakdown of the state of things.

Like My Co-Writer? I Made ’em!

It’s just kind of neat watching a grown child collaborate with their parent, don’t you think? Periodically we’ve seen it done with different pairings over the years. Who are your favorites?

It’s All Relative: An Unexpected Trend in What We Value

Children find great comfort in absolutes. That which is right and that which is wrong. But the world we live in is filled with gray. It’s chock full of different perspectives and points of view. So kids would do well to learn how to consider something, whether it’s a number, a time of day, or a snowy sky, from a multitude of angles. A list of 2019 books for our times.