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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Guest Post: The Child is Mother of the Woman – Using Archival Clues to Write Picture Book Biographies

Amy Alznauer returns to the blog to discuss new issues in the realm of writing nonfiction for kids, particularly as they pertain to one Flannery O’Connor.

31 Days, 31 Lists: 2019 Unique Biographies

Some of the biographies you’ll find on today’s list are of people hitherto uncelebrated while others offer a new take on a familiar name. Here are the biographies produced for kids in 2019 that struck me as particularly choice. Bet there’s at least one on here you haven’t see before.

The Best So Far: 2019 Picture Book Biographies Done Exceedingly Well

How have I not done this round-up yet?!? It’s baffling that I’ve waited this long, particularly when you take into account the sheer overwhelming number of picture book bios of exceeding beauty and charm we’ve been privy to in 2019. Here then, are some of the titles that have caught my eye (so far) this year.

Review of the Day: Magic Ramen by Andrea Wang, ill. Kana Urbanowicz

Magic Ramen: The Story of Momofuku Ando looks like a simple tale about the man who invented instant ramen, but look closer and you’ll see that what the book truly is is a paean to the necessity of failure, the beauty of persistence, and the pleasure that comes after messing up 99 times only to get it right on the 100th.

Review of the Day: The Crayon Man by Natascha Biebow and Steven Salerno

The ideal use of great writing without cheating. Filled with facts and backmatter, it also makes the subject interesting to kids. It’s beautiful to look at and while I would have made some changes, it stands as a pretty darn good look at a man, a plan, a crayon. Crayola.

Cover Reveal: Hedy Lamarr’s Double Life by Laurie Wallmark, ill. Katy Wu

A show of hands. How many of you first heard of Hedy Lamarr by watching copious amounts of Blazing Saddles (where the villain Hedley Lamarr is constantly called Hedy Lamarr by accident)? No? Just me? In between that and confusing her with Dorothy Lamour I was a pretty confused kid when it came to all […]

Review of the Day – Irving Berlin: The Immigrant Boy Who Made America Sing by Nancy Churnin

Irving Berlin: The Immigrant Boy Who Made America Sing By Nancy Churnin Illustrated by James Rey Sanchez Creston Books $17.99 ISBN: 978-1-939547-44-6 Ages 4-9 On shelves May 1st Patriotism is subjective. Until recently I might have thought myself somewhat immune to its charms. I like my country quite a lot, but I’ve a low-tolerance for […]

Everything Old Is New Again: Fantastic Picture Book Bios You May Have Forgotten

Folks, I’ve been in this game a long time. Not as long as some, but if you take into account my blogging years I’m a verifiable crone. I started back in 2003 and it’s been nothing but typing ever since. Now this year, in 2018, I’ve been very encouraged. A lot of the picture book […]

Review of the Day: Nothing Stopped Sophie by Cheryl Bardoe and Barbara McClintock

Nothing Stopped Sophie: The Story of Unshakable Mathematician Sophie Germain By Cheryl Bardoe Illustrated by Barbara McClintock Little, Brown and Co. $17.99 ISBN: 978-0316278201 On shelves June 12th I think we’ve done it. I think we’ve finally moved completely into a new era of biographical picture books. High time, says I! Gone are the days […]

Review of the Day: Chef Roy Choi and the Street Food Remix by Jacqueline Briggs Martin and June Jo Lee

Chef Roy Choi and the Street Food Remix By Jacqueline Briggs Martin and June Jo Lee Illustrated by Man One Readers to Eaters $18.95 ISBN: 978-0-9836615-9-7 Ages 5-10 On shelves now. A kid walked up to my Reference Desk. Looked me square in the eye. Said, “I need a biography…” “Sure thing!” I chirruped. That’s […]

Review of the Day: Are You an Echo? by David Jacobson

Are You an Echo? The Lost Poetry of Misuzu Kaneko Narrative and Translation by David Jacobson, Sally Ito, and Michiko Tsuboi Illustrated by Toshikado Hajiri Chin Music Press $19.50 ISBN: 9781634059626 Ages 5 and up On shelves now Recently I was at a conference celebrating the creators of different kinds of children’s books. During one […]

The Nuanced Picture Book Biography

Last week I was sick.  Sick as a dog sick.  Sick in that way where you feel the cool breezes coming through your window and have a fleeting glimpse of how lucky you are to be sick at the end of the summer rather than even a week earlier when your misery could have only […]

Review of the Day: Radiant Child by Javaka Steptoe

Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat By Javaka Steptoe Little, Brown & Co. $17.99 ISBN: 978-0-316-21388-2 Ages 5 and up On shelves October 25th True Story: I’m working the children’s reference desk of the Children’s Room at 42nd Street of New York Public Library a couple years ago and a family walks […]

Picture Books Bios I’d Like to See (Based Entirely on Hark, A Vagrant Comics)

Okay. So now we’re finally getting some interesting picture book biographies on a regular basis.  When I was a kid you had your Helen Keller and your Abraham Lincoln and you were GRATEFUL!  These days, people are interested in celebrating more than just the same ten people over and over again.  Why this year alone […]

Politics and Mainstream Children’s Literature in 2016

You may have seen the Guardian article the other day ‘Oh, what a big gun you have’: NRA rewrites fairytales to include firearms.  The title pretty much is the whole story, except that these are tales posted on the NRA’s website and not (at this time) actual published books.  I was looking at the post […]