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1. Fusenews: Bemoaning, Lamenting, and Generally Carrying On

  • A stumper to begin the day. I got this message from my aunt and I simply do not know the answer. Librarians of the world, do you know? Just to clarify beforehand, the answer is unfortunately not Are Your My Mother? by P.D. Eastman:

“… seeking info on a children’s book that was [a] favorite at least 30 years ago about a baby bird (with goggles) who is having trouble learning to fly.”

  • CatherineCertitude 210x300 Fusenews: Bemoaning, Lamenting, and Generally Carrying OnHere’s a new one.  Apparently the 2014 Nobel Prize winner for literature is a French author with a children’s book to his name.  And the book?  According to Karen MacPherson it’s Catherine Certitude.  Now THAT is a title, people!
  • Me Stuff: Pop Goes the Page was very very kind and did a little behind-the-scenes interview with me about good old Giant Dance Party.  Ain’t Dana swell?  Meanwhile my favorite transgender children’s librarian Kyle Lukoff just posted a review of Wild Things on his blog.  I’ve been very impressed by his reviews, by the way.  The critique of A is for Activist is dead on.
  • On the one hand, this may well be the most interesting board book I’ve seen in a long time.  On the other, why can’t I buy it through Ingram or Baker & Taylor?  Gah!
  • Movie news! Specifically Number the Stars movie news. Read on:

Young readers and their families enjoyed an afternoon celebrating the 25th anniversary of Lois Lowry’s Number the Stars  at Symphony Space in New York on October 19th.  Actor Sean Astin (Lord of the Rings) was on hand to read from Lowry’s work,. He and his wife Christine have secured the rights to adapt the book for film.

The event was one of the Thalia Kids’ Book Club series at Symphony Space. The next event is a celebrity-studded tribute to the work of E. B. White on Wednesday, November 19th, with proceeds benefiting First Book Manhattan. (Link: http://www.symphonyspace.org/event/8497/Family-Literature/thalia-kids-book-club-terrific-tails-a-celebration-of-eb-white

Lowry event PHOTOS just posted via Getty Images: http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/lois-lowry-and-sean-astin-attends-number-the-stars-25th-news-photo/457520190

  • Aw heck.  Since I’m just reprinting small press releases at this point, I’d be amiss in missing this:

ASK ME ANOTHER WITH MO WILLEMS

  • Date: Wednesday, November 5
  • Time: 6:30 doors, 7:30 show
  • Price: $20 advance, $25 door
  • Location: The Bell House, 149 7th Street (between 2nd and 3rd Aves), Brooklyn, NY 11215
  • Ticket Link: http://www.thebellhouseny.com/event/699477-ask-me-another-brooklyn/
  • Blurb: Join NPR’s Ask Me Another, along with host Ophira Eisenberg and house musician Jonathan Coulton, for a rousing night of brainteasers, comedy, and music. This week’s V.I.P. (that’s puzzle speak for Very Important Puzzler), is acclaimed children’s book author Mo Willems. Willems is known for titles like Knuffle Bunny, Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!, and the Elephant and Piggie series. See how he fares in a trivia game written just for him. For more information and tickets visit www.amatickets.org.

DuckDeathTulip 300x180 Fusenews: Bemoaning, Lamenting, and Generally Carrying OnAs a children’s materials specialist I have a little file where I keep track of my 80+ library branches and the types of books they want.  One of the topics you’ll find on my list?  Death.  We’re always asked to provide books about the bereavement process.  Now The Guardian has done a nice little round-up of some of the more recent ones.  Note, though, that death books all have on thing in common: They’re all about white families.  Finding a multicultural book about death isn’t impossible but it is harder than it should be, particularly when we’re discussing picture books.  Thanks to Kate for the link.

  • There is a tendency online when a story breaks to write a post that comments on one aspect or another of the situation without saying what the problem was in the first place.  That’s why we’re so grateful to Leila Roy.  If you found yourself hearing vague references to one Kathleen Hale and her article of questionable taste in The Guardian but didn’t know the whole story, Leila makes all clear here.
  • Hm. I like Harry Potter as much as the next guy but the Washington Post article Why the Harry Potter Books Are So Influential All Around the World didn’t quite do it for me.  Much of it hinges on believing that HP is multicultural.  I don’t suppose I’m the only person out there who remembers that in the original printing of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Dean Thomas was not mentioned as black.  That was added for subsequent editions.  Ah well.  Does it matter?
  • Daily Show Head Writer and fellow-who-is-married-to-a-children’s-librarian Elliott Kalan recently wrote a piece for Slate that seeks to explain how his vision of New York as a child was formed by Muppets Take Manhattan and Ghostbusters.  But only the boring parts.  Yup.
  • Fountas and Pinnell have a message for you: They’re sorry.  Thanks to Colby Sharp for the link.
  • Daily Image:

They’ve finally announced the winner of the whopping great huge Kirkus Prize.  And the final finalist on the children’s side turns out to be . . . Aviary Wonders, Inc.  And here’s an image of the committee that selected the prize with the winner herself.

Left to right: E.K. Johnston (author finalist), Vicky Smith (Kirkus Children’s Editor), Claudette McLinn, Kate Samworth, John Peters, and Linda Sue Park.

Screen Shot 2014 10 27 at 11.25.19 PM 500x389 Fusenews: Bemoaning, Lamenting, and Generally Carrying On

They mentioned the prize money but they never mentioned that the winner also gets a TROPHY!!  That’s big.  We don’t get many trophies in our business.  Well played.  And thanks to Claudette McLinn for the photo.

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2. Fusenews: “Red Nine doth here stand by”

  • Me stuff.  You have been warned.  So the first thing to know today is that this coming Saturday I’ll be speaking at the Eric Carle Museum about Wild Things: Acts of Mischief in Children’s Literature.  It will prove to be an amusing talk and if you live in the area I’d desperately love it if you could attend.  I’d like to see your smiling faces, rather than the sea of empty chairs that greets me whenever I close my eyes and imagine worst case scenarios.  It will be at 1 p.m.  In other news, the panel I conducted on Native Fiction was summarized at Tu Books as well as a rather in-depth write-up in Publishers Weekly.  So well done there.  Finally Jules and I were interviewed in conjunction with our book by Cynthia Leitich Smith over at Cynsations.  Woohoo!

HogwartsPoster Fusenews: Red Nine doth here stand by

  • And for those of you who know who Suzuki Beane is, enjoy this little GIF of her dancing up a storm.  If I were ever to get a tattoo it would be one of those images.  Or this one.  Thanks to Sara O’Leary for the GIF.
  • Monica Edinger was kind enough to field some questions from Jules and me about obscure Alice in Wonderland facts.  I thought I’d heard them all, but that was before I learned about Harry, Alice Liddell’s older, forgotten brother.  A boy who existed before Alice?  There’s a book in that . . .
  • Okay.  So we all know that we need diverse books.  Understood.  Done.  But where precisely do you find lists of such titles?  Check out the all new Where to Find Diverse Books site.  Everything from books on disability to Islam to LGBTQIA is included.  Think something’s missing?  Let ‘em know!
  • Things I Didn’t Know: So when we talk about podcasts of children’s literature we rarely consider the academic side of things.  Imagine then my delight when I discovered the Raab Children’s Literature Podcasts created for the Northeast Children’s Literature Collection and the Teachers for a New Era Project.  Quite the listing!
  • And speaking of Things I Didn’t Know (a topic worthy of its own post, I suspect) Jules recently discovered that there is such a thing as a Coretta Scott King Book Awards Fair out there.  Did you know that?  I, for one, did not.  The event “celebrates the Coretta Scott King Awards, those authors and illustrators who have received the award, and books that (as the Award states) demonstrate an appreciation of African American culture.”  Jules interviews the organizer and founder of the event, Collette Hopkins.  Interested in bringing it to your city?  Read on.
  • So I was moderating a panel at a Penguin Random House teacher event this past Monday (I’m just dropping the “Me Stuff” left and right today) and one of the giveaways was Ian Doescher’s William Shakespeare’s Star Wars.  I’m sure you’re familiar with it.  It seemed like a cute gimmick and I thought maybe to snag a copy and give it to my brother for Christmas or something.  Little did I realize that it’s actually a rather brilliant piece of work.  From R2-D2′s soliloquy placing him squarely as a trickster character in the vein of a Puck, to Han Solo’s line after shooting Greedo (“[To innkeeper] Pray, goodly Sir, forgive me for the mess. / [Aside] And whether I shot first, I’ll ne’er confess!”) I was hooked the minute I read it.  My husband’s been on a bit of a Star Wars kick himself as of late.  First there was his three part series on “Why We Like Luke Skywalker”.  Matt posed the question to James Kennedy and got an epic response that is worth reading in Part One, Part Two, and Part Three.  Then there was Matt’s post on what Jonathan Auxier’s The Night Gardener and Star Wars have in common.  There are other Star Wars posts as well that are worth discovering but I think these make for pretty in-depth reading anyway.
  • Daily Image: With Halloween on the horizon it’s time to start thinking about costumes.  For inspiration, why not check out BuzzFeed’s 31 Amazing Teacher Halloween Costumes?  Lots of children’s literature references in there.  Three of my favorites included:

MadelineCostumes 500x500 Fusenews: Red Nine doth here stand by

MsFrizzleCostume Fusenews: Red Nine doth here stand by

BadCaseStripesCostume Fusenews: Red Nine doth here stand by

Thanks to Kate for the link.

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3. Fusenews: Knowing your funny from your droll

With Comic Con NYC later this week, publisher previews on the rise, and various work-related meetings, talks, and speeches I’m just the teeniest tiniest bit busy this week.  But no matter!  It is you, dear readers, that give me what for and how to.  For you I would forgo all the sleep in the world.  And as luck would have it, my 5-month-old baby is currently taking me up on that offer.

Onward!

  • KraussHouse Fusenews: Knowing your funny from your drollSometimes when I am feeling pensive I attempt to figure out which authors and illustrators currently alive today will, in the distant future, be so doggone famous for their works that people make pilgrimages to the homes they once lived in.  I suspect that the entire Amherst/Northampton area will become just one great big tour site with people snapping shots of the homes of Norton Juster, Mo Willems, Jane Yolen, and so on and such.  Thoughts of this sort come to mind when reading posts like Phil Nel’s recent piece A Very Special House in which he visits the former home of Ruth Krauss and Crockett Johnson.  It is entirely enjoyable, particularly the part where the current owners reenact a photo taken on the porch with Ruth and Crockett 65 years later.
  • So they announced the Kirkus Prize Finalists last week.  Those would be the folks in the running for a whopping $50,000 in prize money.  The books in the young reader category are split between two picture books, two middle grade titles, and two YA.  You can see all the books that were up for contention here and the final books that made the cut here.  Heck, you can even vote on the book you’d like to see win and potentially win an iPad for yourself.  I don’t think they needed the iPad as a lure, though.  I suspect many folks will be voting left and right just the for the fun of it.  Thanks to Monica Edinger for the links.
  • In other news, we have word of a blog made good.  Which is to say, a blog that figured out how to make a living off of its good name.  When people ask for YA blog recommendations I am not always the best person to ask.  I don’t monitor them the way I monitor children’s book blogs.  Pretty much, I just rely on folks like bookshelves of doom and The Book Smugglers to tell me what’s up.  Now The Book Smugglers are becoming publishers in their own right!  eBook publishers no less.  Nice work if you can get it.
  • Louise Rennison wrote a rather amusing little piece about how her British slang doesn’t translate all that well across the pond, as it were.  Fair enough, but don’t go be telling me we Yanks don’t know humor.  That’s why I was pleased to see that at the end of the article it says, “Louise Rennison will be discussing humour on both sides of the pond, and other interesting things, with her fellow countryman Jim Smith (author of Barry Loser and winner of the Roald Dahl Funny prize 2013) and American author Jon Scieszka (author of many hilarious books including Stinky Cheeseman and most lately Frank Einstein) – in a panel event chaired by Guardian children’s books editor Emily Drabble, run with IBBY at Waterstones Piccadilly, London, on 7 October 2014.”  Why that’s today! Give ‘em hell, Jon!  Show ‘em we know our funny from our droll.  Then find out why their Roald Dahl Funny Prize is taking a hiatus.  It’s not like they lack for humor themselves, after all.

CharlottesWeb Fusenews: Knowing your funny from your droll*sigh* That Jarrett Krosoczka. He gets to have all the fun. One minute he’s hosting the Symphony Space Roald Dahl celebration and the next he’s hosting the upcoming Celebration of E.B. White.  I mean, just look at that line-up.  Jane Curtin.  David Hyde Pierce.  Liev Schreiber (didn’t see that one coming).  Oh, I will be there, don’t you doubt it.  You should come as well.  We’ll have a good time, even if we’re not hosting it ourselves.

  • This may be my favorite conspiracy piece of 2014 (which is actually saying something).  Travis Jonker lays out 6 Theories on the End of Sam and Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen.  Needless to say, I’m firmly in the “dog as Jesus” camp.
  • And speaking of conspiracy theories, were you aware of the multiple theories that abound and consist of folks trying to locate the precise geographical coordinates of Sesame Street?  There’s a big Sesame Street exhibit at our Library of the Performing Arts right now (by hook or by crook I am visiting it this Sunday) and that proved the impetus for this piece.  Lots of fun.
  • Hey, how neat is this?

On Saturday November 8, 2014, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art (NMAA) in Washington, DC will host the 22nd annual Children’s Africana Book Awards (CABA).  CABA was created by Africa Access and the Outreach Council of the African Studies Association* to honor authors and illustrators who have produced exceptional books on Africa for young people.

And who’s that I see on the list of nominees?  None other than Monica Edinger for Africa Is My Home!  Two Candlewick books are listed, actually.  Well played there, oh ye my fellow publisher.

  • Daily Image:

I admit it. I’ve a weakness for paper jewelry.  Today’s example is no exception:

PaperJewelry 500x342 Fusenews: Knowing your funny from your droll

Wood pulp. A marvelous invention. Thanks to Jessica Pigza for the image.

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4. Fusenews: Properly vicious

MinistryofMagic 318x500 Fusenews: Properly viciousThere comes a time when I have so much news for a Fusenews that it paralyzes me and rather than write one up I just let my files accrue more and more schtoof until the vicious circle ends with a massive deletion.  Today some of this stuff will strike you as a bit out of date, but the bulk is pretty darn fun.

  • Anytime I write a post that involves race in some way I gird my loins and prepare for the worst.  The worst did not occur yesterday, however, when I wrote about moments of surprising racism in classic children’s books.  Perhaps everyone was distracted by Jonathan Hunt’s post on The Present Tense.  Now THAT is a hot and heavy discussion!
  • Oh, Cotsen Children’s Library.  Is there anything you can’t do?  Because, to be perfectly frank, I think even the prospect of interviewing Philip Pullman would render me effectively mute.  And then there was that AMAZING piece on the woman who makes Harry Potter miniatures.  Seriously, this is your required reading of the day.
  • Because I love Kalamazoo in all its myriad forms, this caught my eye.  For you Michiganders out there:

In February 2014, 95 youth librarians, youth library workers, and students gathered at Clinton-Macomb Public Library for a truly excellent day of professional development, idea-sharing, networking, and learning, unconference style. In 2015, we’ll gather April 24th at Kalamazoo Public Library. Hosted by Lisa Mulvenna (Clinton-Macomb PL), Anne Clark (Alice and Jack Wirt PL, Bay City), and Andrea Vernola (Kalamazoo PL), the MI KidLib Unconference will feature relevant and engaging sessions decided on by participants at the conference. And as is typical of an Unconference, it’s FREE to attend. Registration begins in January 2015.

Here are the session notes from last year in case you want to see what we learned together. We hope you’ll join us and spread the word to anyone who’s interested in youth services in libraries!

  • If you had told me even two years ago that I would be the de facto mathematics librarian, ideal for moderating events like the Science & Mathematics Panel of Jordan Ellenberg, “Science Bob” Pflugfelder, and Benedict Carey at the Penguin Random House Author Event for NYC Educators, I would have been utterly baffled.  And yet here we are.  Know any teachers in the NYC area?  Because the whole kerschmozzle appears to be free.
  • Things That I Didn’t Know Existed Until Recently: Apparently the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center created a site called BookDragon that seeks to create a site for multicultural children’s literature.  And not just of the Asian Pacific nature either.  It’s a true multicultural site and a fun one to scroll through.  Check it!
  • This came out a while ago so I’m sure you already saw it, but just in case you didn’t, the Marc Tyler Nobleman Kidlit Mashups are nothing short of inspired.

TonyStark 300x216 Fusenews: Properly viciousOh man. Iron Man as a goodnight picture book done in a homemade cut paper style.  Not a real book.  Should be though.  Thanks to Marjorie Ingall for the link.

One of my favorite illustrators, Aaron Zenz, wrote me the following message you would be very wise to read it, oh those amongst ye with an artistic bent.  This art gives light and life and meaning to my day:

We play this game on our second blog every three years or so, and I believe you’ve made note of it in the past.  So I thought I’d let you know this time around also that we’re letting professional illustrators and artists dip into the 8 year archive at Chicken Nugget Lemon Tooty to reimagine Z-Kid art once again:http://www.isaacgracelily.blogspot.com/2014/08/8yearcelebration.html

There have been some great kid lit contributors in the past like Nathan Hale, Charise Harper, Jarrett Krosoczka, Renata Liwska, Adam Rex…   And even though the call just went out for this new round, kid lit folks Julie Phillipps and Doug Jones have already hopped on board (both of them have also played all three times!)

Go!  Play!

  • My sister wrote me the other day to ask for a recommendation of a great children’s book about a jellyfish.  I complied then found out why she wanted to know.  I love it when she succeeds in her crazy plans on her blog but truth be told she’s awfully hilarious when she fails.  It’s a Jellyfish in a bottle [FAIL].
  • Daily Image:

It’s nice to have friends who know boats.  Particularly when they start critiquing classic works of children’s literature.  My friend Stefan Driesbach-Williams recently posted this familiar illustration:

MaxBoat 500x373 Fusenews: Properly vicious

Then he wrote, “I’m seeing a cutter with a loose-footed staysail and a boomkin.”

But it was the response from his nautical friends that made my day.  One Levi Austin White responded with the following:

“Aye! Captain Max has only got his smallest storm stays’l aloft like a prudent mariner, although his main looks really drafty and dangerously powered up.

He seems to have his main trimmed in all the way, but headed dead downwind. That seems like a disastrous combination considering his mains’l tuning. I don’t see any reef points on his main though, so perhaps he’s outta luck.

Any news on his journey? Did he survive the storm? The way the seafoam is scudding across the wave tops, I’d say that he’s on the lee shore of a low lying island, with 50-70 kts windspeed. Looks properly vicious.

Best of luck, Captain Max. May the seas be forever in your favor.”

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5. Fusenews: Hat tips and doffed caps

  • PerfectPairs 240x300 Fusenews: Hat tips and doffed capsI don’t normally do this, but it is books like this one that make it clear that rules are meant to be broken.  We children’s librarians are familiar with books we consider “for professional use”.  These are titles that are of use primarily to library students, librarians, and teachers.  They tend to have ugly covers.  They tend to have dull, dry (if ultimately useful) language.  They tend to be unmemorable.  Well stop the presses and reign in the horses because I have seen what may be the MOST useful and beautiful professional use title in all my livelong days.  Behold Perfect Pairs: Using Fiction & Nonfiction Picture Books to Teach Life Science, K-2 by Melissa Stewart and Nancy Chesley.  How would one use such a tome?  Well, say you have a teacher that needs to do a science unit of some sort.  This book recommends some really brilliant nonfiction titles for kids (and some nonfiction/fiction pairings that are rather good in their own right) and then works them into Common Core State Standards lesson plans.  There are sample questions and worksheets and pretty much anything a K-2 teacher would need.  It is also lovely on the old eyeballs and clearly well researched.  I love it.  You need it.  No one has heard of it.  Go get it.
  • You know, just when I feel like I can coast and rest on my laurels, there goes Travis Jonker raising the bar.  Bar raiser!!!  I mean who else would have come up with the brilliant idea of a Twitter handle author game, pixelated profile pics and all?  I doff my hat.
  • Speaking of Twitter, all you folks out there with library degrees looking for a job may find the post 14 Twitter Feeds for Job Seekers to Follow of particular use.  It does a nice job of including some non-library related job sites as well.  Just in case.  Thanks to AL Direct for the link.
  • Hey auction hounds!  Those of you with a weakness for original art are in luck.  The Carle Honors are fast approaching and that means the old 2014 Carle Honors Art Auction is on the horizon.  Not attending the gala?  No problemo.  You can just bid on the items (or, if you’re like me, drool over them) here.  The online portion of the auction will close at noon on September 18th, and leading bidders will be added by proxy bid to the silent auction at The Carle Honors gala in New York City later that same evening. In addition, all of the works will be on display at Books of Wonder (18 West 18th Street, NYC) from September 3 through September 17.  All the more reason to visit NYC, yes yes?
  • Boy, are you guys some kind of lucky bums.  Did you not know that the Cybils (the only blogger award for children’s and YA literature) call for judges ends today?  You still have time to submit your name for a category.  What are you waiting for?  Go!  Do!  Read!

TheSwing1 258x300 Fusenews: Hat tips and doffed capsWhat are the 24 Best Baby Books of All TimeParents Magazine asked a whole slew of librarians like myself and then published the results.  Fact of the matter is, it’s a pretty darn good list.  Steve Light and Mary Murphy and Nina Laden and all the other usual suspects.  My own contribution might be the most esoteric, but I’ll stand by it till the end.

I was just so pleased to see that Jules Danielson had taken the time to talk to Kekla Magoon in light of her latest book (How It Went Down) and the events in Ferguson.  I do hope that folks take time and all read Kekla’s novel.  It could not be more timely.

This is one of those BoingBoing links that one prays is a hoax.  Surely something this downright evil couldn’t be true, right?  I mean . . . this is preposterous if accurate.

Hat tip to Brian A. Klems for his public service announcement / Writers Digest article The Key Differences Between Middle Grade vs. Young Adult.  It’s not just editors and agents that will thank you, sir.  It’s librarians like myself that see the same manuscripts when authors ask us for feedback.  We are in your debt.

  • Wondering what the authors out there thought about Amazon’s recent complaint about big old unreasonable Hachette and its ilk.  Aw.  Poor little behemoth.  But I would love to hear from the Hachette authors and what they thought about the piece.
  •  Daily Image:
It’s not enough that Neatorama came up with that fabulous topic 8 Children’s Libraries That Make You Wish You Were a Kid Again.  It’s the information about the libraries that I admired.  Here are two of the images that I liked in particular, nerd that I am.

CoolLibrary1 500x358 Fusenews: Hat tips and doffed caps

CoolLibrary2 Fusenews: Hat tips and doffed caps

 Awesomesauce.

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6. Fusenews: Avada ke-dairy

  • I have never, in all my livelong days, been so proud of an illustrator.  And Mary Engelbreit at that.  For someone as well-established as she is the decision to create and sell a print with all proceeds going to the Michael Brown Jr. Memorial Fund, which supports the family of Michael Brown, the Missouri teenager who was gunned down by police two weeks ago.  Here’s what it looks like:

mary engelbreit ferguson Fusenews: Avada ke dairy

Next thing you know Ms. Engelbreit is being blasted by haters and trolls for this work.  You can read about the controversy and her measured, intelligent response here.

  • While we are on the subject of Ferguson, Phil Nel created a list of links and resources for teachers who are teaching their students about the events.  I was happy to see he included the impressive Storify #KidLitForJustice, that was assembled by Ebony Elizabeth Thomas.
  • iNK (Interesting Nonfiction for Kids) that group of thirty authors of nonfiction books for children recently came up with an interesting notion.  Thinking about how to best reach out to teachers and homeschooling parents they’ve come up with  The Nonfiction Minute—a daily posting of  intriguing tidbits of nonfiction designed to stimulate curiosity, with a new one published online every weekday. Say they, “Each Nonfiction Minute website entry will include an audio file of the author reading his or her text, so students can actually hear the author’s voice, making the content accessible to less fluent readers.  The  audio frees us from the constraints of children’s reading vocabulary, which is what makes textbooks and many children’s books designed for the classroom so bland.  We can concentrate on creating a sense of excitement about our subject matter for our young listeners, readers, and future readers.”  Right now they’re in the the early stages of crowdfunding via IndieGoGo so head on over and give them your support if you can.  It’s a neat notion.
  • Did you see this, by the way?

Snicket Fusenews: Avada ke dairy

  • I’m not a Dr. Who fan myself but that’s more because I simply haven’t watched the show rather than any particular dislike or anything.  So I was very amused by the theory posed recently that Willie Wonka is the final regeneration of The Doctor.  And they make a mighty strong case.
  • And speaking of cool, I almost missed it but it looks as though 3-D printers are creating three dimensional books for blind children these days.  The classics are getting an all new look.  Fascinating, yes?  Thanks to Stephanie Whelan for the link.
  • This is a bit of a downer.  I was always very impressed that Britain had taken the time to establish a funny prize for kids.  Now we learn that the Roald Dahl Funny Prize has been put on hold.  It’ll be back in 2016 but still.  Bummer.
  • Daily Image:

You know, I love The Minnesotan State Fair.  I think it’s one of the best State Fairs in the nation.  But even I have to admit that when it comes to butter sculptures, Iowa has Minnesota beat.  The evidence?

butterpotter 500x375 Fusenews: Avada ke dairy

Hard to compete with that. Thanks to Lisa S. Funkenspruherin for the link.

 

 

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7. Fusenews: Never Forget

Morning, folks!  I do believe my comments feature is busted at the moment, so please don’t be alarmed if you can’t get anything to go through.  It’s frustrating for me as well.  Feels like an echo chamber in here.  Hm.

  • Speaking of fellow SLJ blogs, I admit that I don’t often read the excellent Adult Books 4 Teens since the topic isn’t really in my wheelhouse.  Still, recently Mark Flowers had a great post up on The Problem with Stories About Amnesia Solved by Robert Glancy and Jason Bourne.  He gave a nice shout out to my husband’s blog Cockeyed Caravan in the post saying, “Anyone who cares about narrative, movies, or both should be reading Matt Bird’s Cockeyed Caravan blog. He spends most of his time there deconstructing the narrative structure of Hollywood movies and explaining how and why movies do (and don’t) work. But while he only discusses movies (and usually big-budget Hollywood ones at that), his insights are invaluable for anyone interested in the way narrative works in any kind of fiction. I’ve cited his ideas many times over on my personal blog and in conversations with other book lovers.”  Love you, Mark!  Thanks!
  • And since I’m just on a bloggers-discussing-bloggers kick, I was so pleased to hear that Sue Bartle, Mary Ann Cappiello, Marc Aronson, Kathleen Odean, and Myra Zarnowski are restarting the excellent Common Corps blog Uncommon Corps.  In an era where so many people are desperate for CCSS info, we’re all desperate for intelligent conversation on the topic.  This blog provides that, as well as amazing curricular tie-ins you might not have otherwise known about.  Read Compare & Contrast for a taste of what I mean.
  • Awww.  The Moomin characters are now regular dining companions of lonely Japanese restaurant attendees.  I’d be game for eating with one.  Just don’t seat me with Little My.  I don’t trust that gal.  Thanks to mom for the link.
  • Hm. Maybe it’s a good thing I’ll be missing out on this year’s Book Expo.  Granted, it’s exhausting even in the best of times, but I still get a bit of a kick out of it.  Of course, this year there’s been a bit of a brouhaha with BookCon (which I have never even been aware of before).  One of the problems with the internet is the fact that when controversies arise, few are willing to recap the troubles.  Fortunately the Melville House post Wear shades to BookCon, it’ll be blindingly white in there tells you everything you need to know.  And more!
  • “When white writers come to me and ask if it’s OK for them to write about people of color, it seems as if they’re asking for my blessing. I can’t give them my blessing because I don’t speak for other people of color. I only speak for myself, and I have personal stakes in specific kinds of narratives.”  Since author Malinda Lo co-founded Diversity in YA she’s been getting a lot of these questions over the years.  Her piece Should white people write about people of color? is your required reading of the day.  Many thanks to Phil Nel for pointing it out to me.
  • By the way, in the course of looking at Malinda’s work I discovered the blog Disability in Kidlit which, somehow, I’d never run across before.  Since it’s been around since June 2013 it’s hardly new, but I’m still going to call a New Blog Alert on it, since I’ve only just discovered it myself.  It’s a blog about “Reviews, guest posts, and discussions about the portrayal of disabilities in MG/YA fiction.”  There are a couple books out this year that I’d love their opinion of.
  • Oh!  This happened.  So I’ll admit that I’m more of a podcast listener than a radio listener.  And when NYPL’s lovely PR department asked if I’d be interested in talking on the Leonard Lopate show, I confess I didn’t quite know who he was.  Fortunately I learned pretty quickly, and even was lucky enough to meet his replacement Andy Borowitz instead (whom I had heard of since he moderated the National Book Awards the year I got to go).  Our talk is up and it’s called Our Favorite Children’s Stories.  Mostly a lot of talk about classics, but I was able to work in some shout-outs for three more recent books.  The comments section is where the recommendations and memories are really hopping, though.  Good stuff is to be found there.

librarianuniform Fusenews: Never ForgetTake a gander at this article on WWI librarian uniforms and one thing becomes infinitely clear: Librarians during The Great War has it DOWN in terms of clothing, man.  Look at that style. That look!  That form!  Oh, what the heck.  Let’s bring them back!  At the very least I’d love an ALA-issued arm patch.  Thanks to AL Direct for the link.

Actually, this pairs rather well with that last piece.  Sayeth Bookriot, Enough With the “Sexy Library” Thing Already.  Amen.

That they are seriously considering making a film out of A Monster Calls is amazing enough to me as it is.  That it may potentially star Felicity Jones and Liam Neeson?  Having a harder time wrapping my head around that one.  Thanks to PW Children’s Bookshelf for the link!

In case you missed it the Américas Award for Children’s & Young Adult Literature was announced recently.  The winners?  Parrots Over Puerto Rico illustrated by Susan Roth and co-authored by Susan Roth and Cindy Trumbore won the award proper while Diego Rivera: An Artist for the People by Susan Goldman Rubin and Pancho Rabbit and the Coyote illustrated and written by Duncan Tonatiuh took home the honors.  Lots of great Honorable Mentions too, so check it out.

Whoo boy.  The term “mansplaining” just seems loaded to the gills.  That said, this piece from Inside Higher Ed tackles the definition itself with a look at the film version of The Wizard of Oz.  I always liked the Scarecrow best too, and assumed that when Dorothy grew up she’d end up with Hunk.  Feel free to pick apart the various ramifications behind that bit of childhood matchmaking, if you will.

I don’t usually quote from the Cynopsis Kids newsletters, and technically neither of these have much to do with children’s books, but there were two recent pieces that concerned children’s entertainment that I thought you might like to know about as much as I did.

Get ready for Hulu‘s first original kids series. Debuting this Friday is Doozers, the Fraggle Rock spinoff produced by the Jim Henson Co. that packs a full 52 episodes and will be available advertiser-free on both Hulu and Hulu Plus. The preschool series revolved around an animated gaggle of kids called The Pod Squad– Spike, Molly Bolt, Flex and Daisy Wheel–who learn to design and build different objects. Other Hulu Kids content includes Fraggle Rock, Pokemon and SpongeBob.

In a move more in line with kids’ bedtimes, beginning Tuesday, April 29, new eps of Syfy‘s original series Jim Henson’s Creature Shop Challenge will air at 9p vs. their current 10p Tuesday slot. The competition series features 10 aspiring creature creators competing to out-imagine one another in challenges where they will build everything from mechanical characters to whimsical beasts. The stakes are high. Winner walks with $100,000 and a contract working at the world-renowned Creature Shop.

  • Daily Image:

I think my brother-in-law Steve sent me this one.  Don’t know where it’s from but I sort of adore it. Wouldn’t mind one of my own.

NeverForget 500x500 Fusenews: Never Forget

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8. Fusenews: Coldplay, Sendak, and Golden Book Bodices

  • This news comes to us less than a week after Coldplay (yes, that Coldplay) hid something in one of the books in my Children’s Center at 42nd Street.  Apparently the doors opened that day and people tore into the room demanding, ultimately, Jeff Belanger’s Who’s Haunting the White House?  One wonders what Jeff Belanger thinks of all this.  Or if sales of his book have gone up.  Six copies of the books are now checked out of my system, I see.
  • Oh, and it only took a year but The Paris Review finally made it over to NYPL to check out the current children’s book exhibit The ABC of It.  They liked it, which is good when you consider that it’s up and running until September now.
  • May as well seek out the Secret Libraries of New York City as well, if you happen to be in town.  I knew some of these but others (the Conjuring Arts Research Center?!) who wholly new unto mine eyes.
  • Unless you resided under a Wi-Fi free rock you may have missed the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign that went wholly and totally viral.  PW summed the whole thing up with its piece BookCon Controversy Begets Diversity Social Media Campaign.  At the time, I didn’t think to alert NYPL to the campaign, but as it turned out the folks there were already on board with it.  They whipped a Celebrate Diverse Children’s Books list out of some of the titles that have appeared on our 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing lists over the last three years.  It’s a nice list too.  Good show.
  • There are, of course, children’s awards out there that remain under the radar, no matter how many diversity campaigns spring up.  Such is the case with the Children’s Africana Book Award.  Their history?  According to their site: “In 1991 the Outreach Council of the African Studies Association accepted a proposal from Africa Access to establish awards for outstanding K-12 books on Africa published in the U.S. The awards are designed to encourage the publication of accurate, balanced children’s materials on Africa, to recognize literary excellence and to acknowledge the research achievements of outstanding authors and illustrators. Collectively CABA winners show that Africa is indeed a varied and multifaceted continent. CABA titles expand and enrich our perspectives of Africa beyond the stereotypical, a historical and exotic images that are emphasized in the West.”  I was pleased beyond measure to see that Monica Edinger’s Africa Is My Home: A Child of the Amistad won in the Best Book for Older Readers category.  Well played, Monica!
  • In other news the Tomás Rivera Book Award Winners which honors, “authors and illustrators who create literature that depicts the Mexican American experience” were announced and amongst the winners was Diego Rivera: An Artist for the People by Susan Goldman Rubin.  Woohoo!
  • Just to round out the awards, the winners of the 2014 Irma Black Award were announced and the results were absolutely splendid.  PAR-ticularly The Cook Prize for the best STEM picture book.  The Boy Who Loved Math was a shoo-in to my mind, but it’s nice to see folks agreeing on that count.
  • And here I thought I knew the bulk of the Maurice Sendak illustrated classics.  So how is it that only now I’m hearing about the fact that he illustrated The Velveteen Rabbit?  The technique is fascinating.  Like he wanted it to look as if a child had scribbled all over the book at strategic moments.  See, here’s what I mean:

velveteenrabbitsendak4 500x394 Fusenews: Coldplay, Sendak, and Golden Book Bodices

  • There are just too many folks to congratulate with the recent bout of 2014 ALSC Election Results but I will give one or two shout-outs just for the heck of it.  Big time congrats and woohoos to Andrew Medlar, our bright and shiny new Vice-President/President Elect. On the Caldecott committee, our fair GreenBeanTeenQueen Sarah Bean Thompson will be serving (yay, bloggers!).  The Newbery committee is seeing the delightful Allie Bruce of the Bank Street College of Education (did you see her latest SLJ article?) and Christine Scheper, my Materials Specialist colleague at the Queens Library System.  Well done, everyone!
  • The issue of when one should begin telling kids about the Holocaust has come up time and time again in conversation.  How young is too young?  What makes a book appropriate or deeply inappropriate for a given age?  Well, Marjorie Ingall over at Tablet Magazine has some thoughts on the matter, even as she examines two very recent Holocaust titles that she admires (and that I need to read stat).  As Marjorie puts it, “A lot of us drag our heels when it comes to discussing the subject at all. We tell ourselves we want our kids to maintain their innocence for as long as possible. But what avoidance means, practically speaking, is that someone else often does the educating.”
  • This is fun.  Recently I took part in a Facebook chat on the subject of getting kids into summer reading as well as various topics books can cover (the stars, science fiction, and camping, amongst others).  With that in mind the illustrious Lori Ess and I created the Reading Under the Stars Pinterest page.  A collection of spooky, camping, and space titles, it covers ages 0-18 and has a little something for everyone.
  • Woo-hoo!  I love hearing whom The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art will honor at their yearly gala.  This year marks the ninth annual gala and fundraiser and so they’ll be honoring the following folks:

Artist: Jerry Pinkney

Angel: Reach Out and Read represented by Brian Gallagher and Dr. Perri Klass

Mentor: Henrietta Smith

Bridge: Françoise Mouly

For what it’s worth, I had the honor of hearing Dr. Perri Klass speak recently at the opening of a new NYU library and she was fan-friggin’-tastic.  So pleased she’s getting her due!  Henrietta Smith, for her part, is a children’s librarian so cool she has her own Wikipedia page.  And she served under Augusta Baker!  Man!  I wanna meet her stat.

  • When I was asked if I had heard about the anthology Altered Perceptions I had to confess that I had not.  And here I thought I knew all the anthologies out in 2014.  Turns out, Altered Perceptions is a unique case.  Thirty-one authors ranging from Shannon Hale and Sara Zarr to Lauren Oliver and Brandon Mull have joined together to help out writer Robison Wells.  Rob suffers from four different mental illnesses, so his friends have donated writing to help him out of his financial debt.  It’s sort of a win-win situation.  You buy a book that includes work from one of your favorite authors and you help a guy out.  They’re halfway to their stated goal with only 17 days left to raise the funds.  Be a sport.  Help a guy out.
  • When I hear that the Huffington Post has an article out with a title like 50 of the Best Kids’ Books Published in the Last 25 Years all that I ask of the universe is that when I open the dang thing I don’t immediately cringe upon seeing the picture book image they used to headline it.  So I opened this piece up and . . . yep.  Sure as shooting.  Cringeworthy.  Now add in the factual mistakes (the Galdone version of The Three Billy Goats Gruff came out in 1973, folks, not 1989).  Most of the books are fantastic, but man oh geez it’s an odd little list.
  • Daily Image:

I’ve blogged the Little Golden Book Gown before on this site, so the fact that it exists shouldn’t be too much of a surprise.  What I did not know was that it’s about to be on display here in NYC on May 30th.

goldenbookgown21 500x435 Fusenews: Coldplay, Sendak, and Golden Book Bodices

Stats about the dress include the fact that the paper skirt is comprised entirely of the original book illustrations sewn together with metallic gold thread and that the bodice is made from the books’ foil spines backed by tape adhesive.  So if anyone wants to lend this to me for an upcoming Newbery/Caldecott Banquet . . . hey, I’m totally game!

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9. Fusenews: “What’s the matter with kids today?” – with apologies to Bye, Bye, Birdie

Giving birth!  All the kids are doing it these days.  And you know what giving birth means, right?  It means having a little extra time to blog and get my non-work related projects done.  Though, naturally, I wrote 50% of this post a day ago and then must have failed to save the darn thing.  *sigh*  C’est la vie, kids.

  • NYPLExhibit 300x199 Fusenews: Whats the matter with kids today?   with apologies to Bye, Bye, BirdieI was called upon recently to speak with a writer from the National Endowment for the Arts.  The topic?  Why Children’s Books Matter.  Done in conjunction with Leonard Marcus’s exhibit at the main branch of NYPL I answer all sorts of questions.  Mind you, it was a oral interview so I wasn’t able to parse my own speech.  Read it and you’ll get a real sense of what it sounds like to talk to me (weirdo grammar and all).
  • Let’s talk exhibits again.  This time, those in Chicago.  Particularly those in Chicago involving Edward Gorey.  You lucky midwesterners.  Thanks to Mr. Schu for the link.
  • And going back to the topic of NYPL, I recently interviewed middle grade author Claire LeGrand.  Claire is the organizing genius behind the upcoming Kids Authors Carnival happening this month on the 31st.  Talking with me, she answered some of my questions about the carnival, the authors who will be there, and where the idea came from in the first place.
  • Summer Reading is coming up.  Want a reading list for your kids?  ALSC came up with this one and it’s rather nice.
  • Hat tip to Travis Jonker for the hat tip to my book (co-written with Jules Danielson and Peter Sieruta).  It’s coming out in August fer sure, fer sure, and Travis included it in his 10 to Note Summer Preview 2014.  Thank you, man!!
  • Oh, I rather love this.  25 Movie Cameos by the Authors of the Original Books.  Because there are children’s book adaptations included that I never knew about.  Michael Morpurgo?  Louis Sachar?  They forgot Wendy Orr in Nim’s Island, Brian Selznick in Hugo, and David Levithan and Rachel Cohn in Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist but no one’s perfect.  Love the snarky comment about Stephenie Meyer, by the way.  Thanks to Cynthia Leitich Smith for the link.
  • Woo-hoo!  The next Kidlitosphere Conference (the greatest, biggest, best conference of children’s & YA literature bloggers) is nigh.  Nigh, I sez, nigh!  The focus is on diversity, the location is Sacramento and the guests include everyone from Shannon Hale to Mitali Perkins.  Don’t miss it.
  • New Podcast Alert: Little, Brown & Company’s School & Library division has their own podcast channel?  Well, who the heck knew?  Not I, said the fly.  And then there’s the podcast Dear Book Nerd which appears to have some connection to the great and grand Brooklyn children’s librarian Rita Meade.  I am so out of it.
  • Kids aren’t reading!  No way, no how, not happening.  Unless of course they are.  Common Sense Media recently decided that kids weren’t reading anymore and they went and made a huge deal about it.  Two alternate takes on the study are worth noting.  The first is from Forbes.  The second, from Liz Burns.  And quite frankly, I probably don’t have to tell you that it’s Liz’s take that I prefer.

LionsLittleRock 206x300 Fusenews: Whats the matter with kids today?   with apologies to Bye, Bye, BirdieNothing I love more than a new children’s book prize.  Particularly when I get to help to narrow down the contenders.  The New York Historical Society was looking for great books of American history, either fiction or nonfiction for kids.  The winnerThe Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine.  She gets a $10,000 prize and is the inaugural winner.  Check out the other finalists here and an interview with Kristin about the book here.

The big news last week, aside from the birth of my baby Bird, was the Rush Limbaugh win at the Children’s Book Choice Awards.  It wasn’t a surprise but it did make for some good think pieces.  And Travis Jonker, bless his soul, rounded them up for you.  Amusingly, I had to miss the banquet because of back pain.  Had I attended I not only would have gotten to see that particular person give a speech but there was a fire scare that made everyone go outside.  Methinks this was not the worst year to miss.

Wait just a minute there . . . there’s a children’s literature conference in Hawaii and I’m only NOW hearing about it?  Man!  Now there’s a place I’d love to speak.  Pity I’d have to win a Newbery Honor to do it.

  • Daily Image:

It was St. Martin’s Press that advertised this one originally.  I don’t know where they got it, but it’s such a brilliant display that I just had to share it with you.  Libraries and other bookstores take note (and copy at will!).

BlueBooks Fusenews: Whats the matter with kids today?   with apologies to Bye, Bye, Birdie

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10. Fusenews: The Bear grumbleth “mum mum”

Honestly, I don’t quite know why I even bother doing Fusenews posts on Saturdays.  As you might suspect, my readership dips considerably when the weekends hit, but an old Fusenews post is like a week old fish.  Time does it no favors.  As such, I shall cut through my seething envy of everyone at BookExpo this week (honestly, why are you folks having SO much fun anyway?) and pretend that Maureen Johnson’s tweets about how bad the coffee is there will convince me that it’s not that interesting anywa . . . wait a minute . . . they’re giving away copies of that Scieszka/Biggs early reader series in the Abrams booth?!?!  WAAAAAAHHHHHH!

  • NumberFiveBus Fusenews: The Bear grumbleth mum mumNew Site Alert: We begin with the big, interesting, important news.  Phil and Erin Stead aren’t just Caldecott Award winners.  No siree bob, they also happen to be innovative interviewers.  Having just started the site Number Five Bus Presents (I approve of the title since it fits in nicely with 7 Impossible Things Before Breakfast, A Fuse #8 Production, and 9 Kinds of Pie . . . we just need a blog that uses the number 6 to fill in the gap), the two are conducting a series of conversations with book makers.  There will be 9-12 episodes per “season”.  So far they’ve spoken with Eric Rohmann (consider this your required reading of the day) with many more interviews on the way.  You can read the reasons why they’re doing this here.  Basically it boils down to them wanting to connect to fellow book makers in what can often be a lonely field.  If I were a professor of children’s literature, I would make everyone in my class subscribe to this site.  Many thanks to Jules for the tip!
  • About a month ago I was at an event where a venture capitalist with an interest in children’s literature was asking how much money a new children’s book prize should pay out.  “$20,000?  $30,000?” he ventured.  We all sort of balked at the amounts, assuring the man that any author would be grateful for $10,000, let alone a larger amount (the authors in the room, as you might imagine, were gung ho for the original mentioned amounts).  Meanwhile, had I but known, the people at Kirkus were debating the self-same thing.  Only when they came up with their brand new book prize monetary amount, they decided to play for keeps.  On October 23, 2014 some amazingly lucky children’s or YA author will win a $50,000 (you read that number right) prize for their book.  All it needs to have done is receive a star from Kirkus to be eligible.  The initial announcement in The Washington Post made the big time mistake of saying that the youth award would only go to YA.  Happily, the subsequent Kirkus announcement clarified that this was not the case.  Man.  I really really want to be on that jury someday.  The power!
  • Just a reminder that the Kids Author Carnival will be up and running here in NYC today (Saturday).  Got no plans at 6 tonight?  Now you do.
  • Aw, what the heck.  Need a new poster for your library?  How bout this?

DarthVaderSummerReading Fusenews: The Bear grumbleth mum mum

You can download the PDF here if you so desire.

  • Sure, the blog post Trigger Warnings for Classic Kids Books is amusing, but I would bet you dollars to donuts that at least half of these “objections” have been used in legitimate attempts to ban or remove from shelves these books somewhere, sometime.
  • I did not know that Sun Ra and Prince were both influences on Daniel Handler but when said, it makes a certain amount of sense. PEN America’s biweekly interview series The Pen Ten recently interviewed the man and justified my belief that the most interesting authors are the ones that don’t give the same rote answers in every single interview they do.  Of course good questions help as well.
  • In L.A.?  Wish you were in New York attending BookExpo?  Wish you had something in your neck of the woods to crow about?  Well, good news.  If you haven’t heard already, the Skirball Cultural Center is featuring the show The Snowy Day and the Art of Ezra Jack Keats from now until September.  Lucky ducks.
  • Speaking of BookExpo (and is there anything else TO speak of this week?) I was much obliged to the folks at Shelf Awareness for their #BEA14: Pictures from an Exhibition post.  From that amazing diversity panel at SLJ’s Day of Dialog to singing sensation Michael Buckley and the Amazing Juggling Authors to James Patterson’s $1 million given out to bookstores (way to go, Watchung Booksellers!) it’s a great post.
  • Adult authors that write books for children are hardly new.  They’re also rarely any good.  Sorry, but it is the rare adult author that finds that they’re a natural in the children’s book realm as well.  There are always exceptions (heck, Neil Gaiman won himself a Newbery so howzabout THEM apples, eh?) and one of them might be Jo Nesbø.  Over at The Guardian, Nesbø discusses how he decides in the morning whether or not to write his gritty adult crime thrillers . . . or the fart books for kids.  Frankly, I’ll always be grateful to Nesbø because of the day I was sitting at the reference desk in the Children’s Center at 42nd Street and a group of young female Norwegians came in asking for Norwegian children’s authors.  Thank goodness for Nesbø and Peter Christen Abjorsen.
  • Somewhat along the same lines, this has very little to do with anything (to the best of my knowledge the only children’s book she ever penned was The Shoe Bird) but if you have not already read Eudora Welty’s New Yorker application letter, you’re welcome.  Suddenly I want to see the biopic of her life with the character of Eudora played by Kristen Schall.  Am I crazy?
  • It took them a bloody long time but at long last the Bologna Children’s Book Fair has announced when the 2015 dates will be.  So . . . if anyone feels like sponsoring me to go I wouldn’t, ah, object or anything.  *bats eyelashes charmingly*
  • A library can lend books.  It can lend tablets.  It can lend laptops even.  But lending the internet itself?  NYPL is currently doing just that (or is about to). In this article you can see that, “The goal of this project is to expand the reach and benefits of free access to the Internet provided by The New York Public Library (NYPL) to underserved youth and communities by allowing them to borrow portable WiFi Hotspot devices from their local libraries for a sustained period of time.”  We’ll just have to see how it works out, but I’m intrigued.
  • Tell me this isn’t awesome:

AnimalSounds Fusenews: The Bear grumbleth mum mum

As you can see, this is a selection of animal sounds found in the Orbis Sensualium Pictus (or The World of Things Obvious to the Senses drawn in Pictures), also known as the world’s oldest children’s picture book.  And if you can read through it and not suddenly find the song “What Does the Fox Say?” caught in your head then you’re a better man than I.  Thanks to AL Direct for the link.

  • When I read the i09 piece 10 Great Authors Who Disowned Their Own Books I naturally started thinking of the children’s and YA equivalents.  So far I can think of at least one author and one illustrator off the top of my head.  The author would be Kay Thompson of Eloise.  The illustrator I’ll keep to myself since he’s still alive and kicking.  Any you can think of?
  • “In France, I can publish a funny picturebook one month and a YA novel about revenge porn the next.” Maybe the best thing I read all day.  Phil Nel directed me to this absolutely fascinating piece by Clementine Beauvais called Publishing Children’s Books in the UK vs. in France.  Just substitute “UK” for “US” (which isn’t that hard) you’ll understand why this is amazing reading.  Obviously there are some difference between the UK and US models, but they share more common qualities than differences.  Thanks to Phil Nel for the link!
  • How many illustrators sneak pictures of their previous books into other books?  Travis Jonker accounts for some of the titles doing this in 2014.  Along the same lines, how many authors put in in-jokes?  It was my husband who pointed out that Jonathan Auxier put a sneaky reference to his blog The Scop into The Night Gardener this year.  Clever man.
  • Daily Image:

I have good news.  You can order this as a poster, should you so desire.

AnimalAdvocacy Fusenews: The Bear grumbleth mum mum

Thanks to Lori for the link!

 

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11. Fusenews: Of talking tigers and square penguins

  • So the big news this week was that a writer at Slate decided that now was an ideal time to take a potshot at adults reading young adult books.  And, as you might expect, everyone got quite hot under the collar about it.  To arms!  To arms!  Considering that this sort of thing happens pretty much every time a new YA book hits the mainstream I wasn’t quite as upset as some.  Honestly, I thought Roger Sutton’s piece Why Do We Even Call It YA Anymore? was much more along my own thinking.  I could not help but enjoy Marjorie Ingall’s response as well.
  • Calvin Hobbes 300x225 Fusenews: Of talking tigers and square penguinsIt’s one of those stories that’s just so crazy you don’t quite believe it at first.  So about a year ago I attending a lovely dinner for Stephan Pastis, author of the book Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made (as well as the other Timmy books that would follow).  Stephan was one of those fellows just filled to the brim with stories.  And, as luck would have it, his stories were about syndicated cartoonists; one of my favorite things in the world to talk about!  I heard him wax eloquent on the subject of Gary Trudeau, Berkeley Breathed, you name it.  He even had ties to Charles Schulz (a fact that served me well when I interviewed Sparky’s wife Jean).  But when I dared to ask if he’d ever met the elusive Gary Larson or Bill Watterson (of Far Side and Calvin & Hobbes fame respectively) he confessed he had not, though Watterson had once sent him a nice note about one of his comics.  Well bust my buttons, but recently Pastis got a lot more out of Watterson than a mere note.  He got three illustrated comic strips!  Read this post to learn how he did it and why this is as extraordinary a fact as it is.  Wowza!
  • I was very sad to hear about the recent death of legendary children’s book editor Frances Foster.  Read this remarkable interview with her from Horn Book, conducted by Leonard Marcus to get a sense of the woman we just lost.  PW provided a very nice obituary for her here.
  • Essentially, this is kind of a real world case of Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, but with a dark dark twist.
  • The voting may be over, but I can’t help but love the collection of different Penguin Random House logos that dared to combine the publishing behemoth.  My personal favorite?  Right here:

Penguinhaus 500x500 Fusenews: Of talking tigers and square penguins

  • I’ve oohed and cooed to you about the fact that Shaun Tan’s rather brilliant picture book Rules of Summer has an accompanying app with music by the amazing and fantastic Sxip Shirey.  However, when I mentioned this fact before the app was not available for purchase.  Now it is.  Go get that thing then.  You can even hear a selection of Sxip’s music for it here.
  • Speaking of Rules of Summer, did you see Travis Jonker’s predictions of what he thinks will win the New York Times Best Illustrated Awards?  Sort of a brilliant list to predict (and I think he’s completely and utterly dead on with his selection).
  • Brain Pickings recently featured a selection of photographs of fictional meals from your favorite books.  The photos are from the book Fictitious Dishes: An Album of Literature’s Most Memorable Meals.  Though not strictly limited to children’s literature, it contains a handful of tasty treats worth noting.  Be sure to check out the meals of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, The Secret Garden, Heidi, and a Chicken Soup With Rice that will knock your socks off.
  • Just a quick shout out to my fellow metropolitan librarian Rita Meade who just sold her first children’s book.  Go, Rita, go go go!
  • One minute he’s winning a Tony.  The next minute he’s turning The Dangerous Book for Boys into a television show.  Wait . . . say what now?
  • Did you guys happen to see Grace Lin’s rather remarkably good Cheat Sheet for Selling Diversity?  Selling, heck.  This should be disseminated into all the MLIS programs in the States.  Future children’s librarians should be memorizing it by heart.  THIS is how you handsell to a kiddo or a parent, guys.  And Grace did all the work for you!

Daily Image:

Fairly brilliant!

SidewalkEnds Fusenews: Of talking tigers and square penguins

Thanks to Marci for the link.

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12. Fusenews: Private jet, please

  • First up, my little sister.  My daughter recently had her third birthday so my sis came up with a craft involving what she calls Do It Yourself Cupcakes. Each cupcake sported a teeny tiny cover of one of my child’s favorite books.  Then we took them to her daycare where she delightedly set about pointing out all the books she knew.  I have zero crafting skills but if you do then you might want to try this sometime.  It was kind of friggin’ amazing.

KidlitCupcakes1 500x375 Fusenews: Private jet, please

KidlitCupcakes2 500x376 Fusenews: Private jet, please

  • Now in praise of Kevin King.  The Kalamazoo Public librarian has long been hailed as one of the best in the country.  Fact.  Children’s authors and illustrators everywhere know his name.  Fact.  But when a man attended a summer reading kickoff  for Kalamazoo Public Library with a gun, who confronted the fellow and asked him to please leave?  Kevin King.  So basically, he’s an amazing librarian AND he has the guts to talk to someone packing heat around children.  Kevin King, today we salute you.  I don’t know that many of us would have the courage to do what you did.
  • Look, we all talk about how we don’t have enough of one kind of book or not enough of another.  But what do we actually DO about it?  Credit to Pat Cummings.  She doesn’t take these things lying down.  Check out the Hero’s Art Journey Scholarship then.  As the website says, “The Children’s Book Academy is proud and excited to offer merit scholarships for writers and illustrators of color, identifying as LBGQTI, or having a disability, who are currently underrepresented in the children’s publishing industry. In addition, we are offering scholarships for low income folks who might not be able to take this course otherwise as well as to SCBWI Regional Advisers and Illustrator Coordinators who do so much unpaid work to help our field.”  The first and only scholarship of its kind that I’ve certainly seen.
  • Sometimes it’s just nice to find out about a new blog (even if by “new” you mean it’s been around since 2012).  With that in mind, I’d like to give a hat tip and New Blog Alert to The Show Me Librarian.  I believe it was Travis Jonker who led me to St. Charles City-County Library District librarian Amy Koester’s site.  It doesn’t have a gimmick.  It’s just an honestly good children’s librarian blog with great posts like this one on Reader’s Advisory and this one on picture book readalouds.  Them’s good reading.
  • Jules would never alert you to this herself, but don’t miss this interview with the woman behind the Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast blog as conducted by Phil and Erin E. Stead.  Even if you know Jules you’ll learn something new.  For example, I had no idea she enjoyed Marc Maron’s podcast too.
  • Speaking of Jules, who is the most tattooed children’s author/illustrator (since we already know the most tattooed bookseller)?  The answer may surprise you.
  • “There’s not just one way of believing in things but a whole spectrum.”  That would be Philip Pullman talking on the subject of fairy tales and why Richard Dawkins got it wrong.
  • I’m sorry.  I apparently buried the lede today.  Else I would have begun with the startling, shocking, brilliant news that they’re bringing back Danger Mouse.  Where my DM peoples at?  Can I get a, “Crumbs!”?  That’s right.
  • I don’t read much YA.  Usually I’ll pick out the big YA book of a given year and read it so that I don’t fall completely behind, but that’s as far as I’ll go (right now deciding between We Were Liars and Grasshopper Jungle).  But I make exceptions and Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles fall into that gap.  Now I hear that Meyer wrote a prequel called Fairest giving her villain some much needed background.  That’s cool enough, but the cover?  You only WISH you could see more jackets like this:

Fairest Fusenews: Private jet, please

  • Speaking of YA, and since, by law, nothing can happen at this moment on the internet without some mention of The Fault in Our Stars at least once, I was rather charmed by Flavorwire’s round-up of some of the odd TFIOS merchandise out there.  Favorite phrase: “for the saddest party ever.”
  • It’s important to remember that school library cuts aren’t an American invention.  They’re a worldwide problem, a fact drilled home recently by the most recent post on Playing By the Book.  If you’re unaware of the blog it’s run by the wonderful Zoe Toft and is, to my mind, Britain’s best children’s literature blog, bar none.  Now Zoe’s facing something familiar to too many school librarians and it’s awful.  Does anyone know of a British children’s literary magazine along the lines of a School Library Journal or Horn Book?  The fact that her blog hasn’t been picked up by such an outlet is a crime.
  • “I should think there would be more chance of your child choking to death on a chocolate bar than of becoming seriously ill from a measles immunisation.”  As a woman with a child too young at the moment to be vaccinated against diseases like measles, every parent that refuses to get their own children vaccinated is a threat to mine.  So I read with great interest what Roald Dahl felt about vaccinating your kids.  It ran on BoingBoing back in 2009 but this kind of thing never dies.
  • And the award for Best Summer Reading List of All Time goes to . . . Mike Lewis!  His Spirit of Summer Reading list for reluctant readers can only be described in a single word: Beautiful.  Designed flawlessly with books that I adore, this is the list I’d be handing to each and every parent who walks in my library door, were I still working a reference desk somewhere.  Wowzah.
  • A whole exhibit on Appalachian children’s literature?  See, this is why I need my own private jet.  Why has no one ever given me a private jet? Note to Self: Acquire private jet, because it’s exhibits like this one that make me wish I was more mobile.  You lucky denizens of Knoxville, TN will be able to attend this exhibit between now and September 14th.  Wow.  Thanks to Jenny Schwartzberg for the link.
  • So pleased to see this interview with Nathan Hale on the Comics Alternative podcast.  Love that guy’s books, I do.  Great listening.
  • New York certainly does have a lot of nice things.  Big green statues in the harbors.  Buildings in the shape of irons.  Parks that one could call “central”.  But one thing we do not have, really, is an annual children’s book trivia event for folks of every stripe (librarians, editors, authors, booksellers, teachers, etc.).  You know who does?  Boston.  Doggone Boston.  The Children’s Book Boston trivia event happened the other day and The Horn Book reported the results.  One could point out that I could stop my caterwauling and throw such an event myself.  Hmm… could work. We could do it at Sharlene’s in Brooklyn… it’s a thought…
  • Daily Image:

There are bookshelves that seem kooky or cool and then there are bookshelves that could serve a VERY useful purpose, if you owned them.  Boy howdy, do I wish I owned this because useful is what it is.  It’s a “Has Been Read” and “Will Be Read” shelf.

ReadBookShelves Fusenews: Private jet, please

Thanks to Aunt Judy for the link.

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13. Fusenews: Laser Mazes. Need I Say More?

  • As I write this there are countless souls right now in Las Vegas attending the American Library Association Annual Conference.  I watch your tweets with envy, my friends.  Would that I were there.  Some of the first timers have asked me what they shouldn’t miss, but since I haven’t seen the official schedule of events I cannot say.  Obviously you’d want to attend the Newbery/Caldecott Banquet on Sunday night.  That’s a given.  Other than that, I always love watching the Notable Children’s Books Committee debate up a storm.  This year I don’t envy them the discussion.  LOTS of good books are on the menu and it’s being chaired by my fellow Newbery committee member Edie Ching.  A little sad not to see Boys of Blur by N.D. Wilson, Rules of Summer by Shaun Tan, Grandfather Gandhi by Arun Gandhi and Bethany Hegedus, Curiosity by Gary Blackwood, Three Bears in a Boat by David Soman and other favorites on the list of books being discussed but they can’t cover ‘em all.  Don’t miss it!
  • NancyGarden Fusenews: Laser Mazes. Need I Say More?Anything I say on the subject of the recently deceased Nancy Garden will be inadequate.  However I would like to note that she provided invaluable help with the book I recently co-wrote with Jules Danielson.  Without her aid we would have been seriously up a tree.  I am very sorry she won’t be able to see the final copy herself.  She was a joy to work with.
  • On the one hand I’m rather grateful that Christian Science Monitor thought to present a list of 25 of the Best New Middle Grade Novels of 2014.  With YA always hogging the media it’s very nice to see fare for the younger set getting attention from a publication that isn’t one of the usual suspects.  On the other hand, we run into the old problem with defining what middle grade actually isThreatened by Eliot Schrefer is great but he’d be the first to tell you that the book is straight up young adult.  Ditto The Art of Secrets by James Klise, The One Safe Place by Tania Unsworth, Skraelings: Clashes in the Old Arctic by Rachel and Sean Qitsualik-Tinsley, The War Within These Walls by Aline Sax, A Creature of Moonlight by Katherine Hahn, and A Time to Dance by Padma Venkatraman.  Otherwise, it’s very cool how the list concentrated a fair amount on small presses and Native American authors and publishers.
  • Credit Phil Nel with coming up with one of the most fascinating pieces on Dr. Seuss I’ve seen in a long time.  Think you know all that there is to know about his famous chapeau donning feline?  Then you haven’t seen Was the Cat in the Hat Black?
  • There are few thrills quite as great as unexpectedly running into the author of a book you admire.  Special credit should go to those librarians that are able to spot the authors who aren’t yet household names but create truly remarkable fare.  Extra special credit and cupcakes to those librarians who then get the authors to sit down for interviews.  I am a BIG fan of Teri Kanefield’s The Girl From the Tar Paper School: Barbara Rose Johns and the Advent of the Civil Rights Movement.  So imagine my delight when I saw that one of my librarians recently interviewed her.  Well done, Jill!
  • Speaking of librarians I admire, behold this woman:

LaurenceCopel 500x405 Fusenews: Laser Mazes. Need I Say More?

I’m mildly peeved that I didn’t learn that the Lemony Snicket Prize for Noble Librarians Faced With Adversity had been awarded until I stumbled across the fact on Twitter.  Reading this article I can see that the win of librarian Laurence Copel, the founder of the Lower Ninth Ward Street Library in New Orleans, is well and truly deserved.  In fact, I sort of pity the committee in choosing anyone else after this.  Copel kind of sweeps the floor with the competition.  How on earth do you compete with THAT?  Wowza.

  • What do J.M. Barrie, Rudyard Kipling, H. G. Wells, Arthur Conan Doyle, P. G. Wodehouse, G. K. Chesterton, Jerome K. Jerome, and A. A. Milne all have in common? Apparently they were all on the world’s worst cricket team of all time.  I don’t even know how I went through life unaware of this until now.  Read the article.  The amusing “greatest hits” are gonna go right over a lot of American’s heads.  So if any of today’s authors are interested in creating, say, a dodgeball team, I’d say there’s a precedent.
  • Psst!  Care to see some KILLER comics coming out this fall that you may have missed?  Check these puppies out.  I guarantee you’ve seen nothing like them before.
  • Daily Image:

And for today’s Daily Image, I bring you the coolest idea of all time.  When Angie Manfredi tweeted that her library was doing a spy party for the kids called Spy Night, I was impressed.  She asked for spy picture books, but all I could come up with was Andy Rash’s Agent A to Agent Z.  At any rate, this is the laser maze set-up they created in one of the stacks.

LaserMazes Fusenews: Laser Mazes. Need I Say More?

So brilliant I could cry.  Thanks to Angie Manfredi for the image!

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14. Fusenews: Because nothing says “birthday” like Barbarsol

First and foremost, hello.  How are you?  Are you having a nice day?  So nice to see you here, but before we go any further I must tell you that you very much need to leave me.  Just for a little while.  As you may have heard, my book with Jules Danielson and Peter Sieruta, Wild Things: Acts of Mischief in Children’s Literature, is coming out August 5th.  To prepare, Jules and I have created a blog that posts a story a day that got cut from our final book.  Here’s what you may have missed so far:

Bunny 300x191 Fusenews: Because nothing says “birthday” like Barbarsol- A story about the greatest ALA Conference photo of all time.
- A tale of all the various authors and illustrators who have gotten advice from Maurice Sendak over the years.
- Advice on why you should never invite Hans Christian Andersen to stay the night.
- A tribute to everybody’s favorite Wicked Angel.
- Two rough broads / Newbery and Caldecott winners.
- A tribute to the fantastic Nancy Garden.

That said, here’s all the other news what wuz.

  • All the world is ah-buzz with the information that J.K. Rowling just released on Pottermore.  Rita Skeeter is still reporting (so no, there is no justice in the universe) and she has the scoop on 34-year-old Harry today, as well as his buddies.  For my part, I’m just socked that I’m only two years older than Harry.  Makes my crush on Snape that much more creepy, I guess.
  • One of my favorite blogs, Pop Goes the Page by the Cotsen Children’s Library, is turning one!  Best of all, if you send them your artistic birthday well-wishes, the selected winner will receive a $150 online shopping spree at Discount School Supply.  Not half bad!  Go do that thing.
  • Credit Martha Parravano for creating a quite incisive interpretation of the Caldecott winners and near misses of 2013.  Lots to chew on, even if you don’t always agree.
  • There were many reasons to attend this last ALA Conference in Vegas.  But three in particular are standing out for me today.  Reason #1: I could have seen Mo Willems and Daniel Handler sharing a stage at the same time.  THAT would be an event well worth witnessing.  Can I get a witness who was there?.  Reason #2: Starr LaTronica’s Shoes.
StarrShoes Fusenews: Because nothing says “birthday” like Barbarsol

Need I say more?

Reason #3: This blog got a little shout out in Brian Floca’s Caldecott speech.  See if you can spot where it is (hint: it’s not by name).

  • Anywho, I wasn’t able to attend that conference because of my pregnancy.  I also wasn’t able to attend this conference: The Second Annual 21st Century Nonfiction Conference.  Doggone it.  Held in lovely New Paltz, NY, I was pleased at least to see that my co-worker Amie Wright kicked butt and took names.  You can read a great write-up of the event here.
  • I know you have a lot going on today, but if you enjoyed watching Faerie Tale Theater with Shelley Duvall back in the day then maybe you’ll appreciate this catchy little ditty made out of all the times the charming host said, “Hello, I’m Shelley Duvall.”  I don’t do ringtones but if I had to choose one . . .
  • I can still remember it like it was yesterday.  Way back in 1992 I listened to a librarian read Sukey and the Mermaid by Robert D. San Souci (illustrated by Brian Pinkney) to a group of kids.  It was remarkable at the time, not just because it featured a black mermaid, but because it featured a mermaid at all.  I don’t know if you read my recent review of The Mermaid and the Shoe, but mermaid picture books aren’t exactly prevalent.  Well over at Latin@s in Kid Lit, Cindy L. Rodriguez has written the post Diversity Needed Under the Sea: Not All Mermaids Have Blond Hair and Blue Eyes.  Their focus is mostly YA, but it’s interesting to note that aside from Sukey, picture book mermaids of color are few and far between.  Fairies of color have it even worse.
  • Get out your fightin’ gloves.  SLJ has just launched the Up for Debate series.  Them’s fighting words (literally).
  • Daily Image:

Trying to figure out how we could pull this off in the States.  Over in Britain the Story Museum hired a photographer for its 26 Characters exhibition.  His mission?  To photograph famous authors as their favorite literary characters.  The image of Neil Gaiman as Badger from Wind in the Willows circulated a couple months ago.  Now more pics have been revealed and they are lovely.  Here are two . .

Philip Pullman as Long John Silver

PullmanSilver Fusenews: Because nothing says “birthday” like Barbarsol

Michael Morpurgo as Magwitch from Great Expectations

MorpurgoMagwitch 500x394 Fusenews: Because nothing says “birthday” like Barbarsol

Naturally I’m trying to figure out how we could do this here.  The Eric Carle Museum could host the images (we’d have a brief debate over whether or not photography is technically “illustration” and then decide ultimately that it was).  Or maybe the Rich Michelson Gallery could do it.  Then it’s a question of finding a photographer and picking the authors.  As for the costumes and make-up, Britain utilized The Royal Shakespeare Company.  Can’t really top that but it would be nice to get professionals involved. Pondering, pondering, pondering . . .

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15. Fusenews: The Snow Queen – There Can Be Only One

  • Howdy do.  As per usual I’m going to direct you this morning to that lovely little Wild Things website where Jules Danielson and I have been posting the stories that got cut from our upcoming book Wild Things: Acts of Mischief in Children’s Literature.  If you haven’t already seen them you might like to read some amusing stories about:

WildThingDragon 300x225 Fusenews: The Snow Queen   There Can Be Only One- Some Madeleine facts you may not have known, two straight lines and all.
- The downside of owning your own tropical island, even if you DID do all the art for The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
- The story I was MOST sorry to cut. War of the Pooh! It’s what happened when a British MP decided that the dolls of Pooh and friends had to come back to the UK. What followed . . . got a little crazy.
- A quick look at some of the WORST school visits suffered by authors and illustrators of all time.
- Children who would one day become writers bugging cranky older authors. It’s one of the more peculiar posts but it has nothing on . . .
- Udders, cleavage, and a monster penis. Need I say more?
- A nightmare publishing story to rival publishing stories.

  • The New York Public Library’s pathetic summer reading list for kids. Come again?  That would be The New York Post taking issue with a list that includes books kids would have fun reading as well as dreaded diversity.  Apparently if a book contains a non-white kid it can’t possibly be any good and must have appeared on a summer reading list to appease some kind of demographic.  Full disclosure, I’m one of the folks that made the list (which wasn’t just for NYPL but for Brooklyn and Queens library systems as well) so all I’ll do is gently point you to Rita Meade’s incredibly restrained response.
  • And how did you spend your evening last night.  For my part, I saw The Snow Queen.  The composer of the show is my buddy Haddon who, years ago, did the intro music for a podcast I posted for a while (the podcast is no longer up so his good work has been lost to the wilds of time).  Now the show is here for a limited run in NYC, before the inevitable Frozen musical steals its thunder.  Of Snow Queen musicals there can apparently be only one.  Here’s a New York Times article about the show, if’n you’re interested.

WaldoBookbug 300x223 Fusenews: The Snow Queen   There Can Be Only OneWhere do you even get a Where’s Waldo costume, I wonder.  Everyone’s favorite stripey hero is key to this very clever children’s bookstore promotion thingy thing.  In Kalamazoo the fabulous bookstore Bookbug is hiding Waldo in 26 of the local businesses on sort of a scavenger hunt.  Other small town bookstores take note.  It’s good for the store and good for the other businesses.  I love a clever campaign.  Thanks to Colby Sharp for the link.

If you have ever taken the Leonard Marcus walking tour of children’s literature here in NYC then you’ve probably seen Margaret Wise Brown’s house in Greenwich Village.  Good thing you did since the poor little structure is slated to be razed.  Has someone alerted Leonard?  I think we’d better start sounding the alarm on this one.

  • Don’t have enough conferences in your life?  Well The Nerdy Book Club was kind enough to feature this post on the upcoming Kidlitcon.  The only conference out there for children’s and YA literature bloggers, it’s happening in October in beautiful Sacramento, CA.  Would that I could go!  If you’re able, I highly recommend a trip.
  • This.  Just . . . . this.  No words.
  • Not a shabby idea.  Over in Britain they recently had a Great children’s books author bake off for all those novels and picture books featuring baked goods.  I am hungry.  Therefore someone should do this over on our side of the pond.  And then invite me.  Nom nom nom nom.
  • Daily Image:

Finally, could somebody do this for a couple works of children’s and YA literature?

HamletTights Fusenews: The Snow Queen   There Can Be Only One

If I had my choice I’d like some Westing Game tights.  And imagine how much money you could make off of The Fault In Our Stars tights.  The mind boggles.  Thanks to Aunt Judy for the link.

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16. Fusenews: Hear the beat, of literary feet.

Hi ho.  Time to round-up what Jules and I have been up to over at our Wild Things blog (book promotion for bloggers means more blogging, you see).  Here’s the long and short of what you may have missed:

Whew!  We’re busy little bees, aren’t we?

  • Tra la!  It’s coming!  The greatest conference of children’s and YA literary bloggers is coming!  And Liz Burns not only has the info but also the reason such an event is cool.  Quoth she: “What I love about KidLitCon is it’s about the bloggers. Full stop. That is the primary purpose and mission of KidLitCon. It’s about what the bloggers care about. Oh, there may be authors and publishers there, presenting, and that can be great and amazing. But it’s not about them. They are there to support the blogging community: they are not there saying, what can the blogging community do for us.”  Amen, sister.  Preach!  By the way, the theme this year is Blogging Diversity in Young Adult and Children’s Lit: What’s Next?  Be there or be square.
  • So there’s a new Children’s Book Review Editor at the New York Times and by some strange quirk of fate her name is NOT alliterative (note Julie Just, Pamela Paul, and Sarah Smith).  Her name?  Maria Russo.  Which pretty much means I’ll be tracking her like a bloodhound at the next Eric Carle Honors event.  Trouble is, we don’t wear nametags at that event so I’ll probably be the crazy lady grabbing all the women, staring intently into their eyes.  Wouldn’t be the first time.

LewisTolkien 300x186 Fusenews: Hear the beat, of literary feet. I blame Saving Mr. Banks.  One little children’s writer biopic comes out where the writer isn’t seen as all kittens and sunshine (I still loathe you Miss Potter and Finding Neverland) and all hell breaks loose.  Now we hear that McG is going to do a Shel Silverstein biopic on the one hand and that there are plans to examine the relationship between C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien on the other.  I’m just counting the minutes until someone tackles Margaret Wise Brown or the whole Anne-Carroll-Moore-didn’t-like-Stuart-Little story (which you just KNOW is in the works somewhere).

  • Speaking of films, when I heard that Alan Snow’s delightful Here Be Monsters was being turned into a film called The Boxtrolls I was incredulous.  That book?  The one I couldn’t get kids to even look at until they made a blue paperback version?  I mean I liked it (it came out in a year when sentient cheese was all the rage in children’s literature) but how long was this film in production for crying out loud?  Doesn’t matter because according to iO9 it’s brilliant.  Good to know.
  • So Phil Nel, our ever intrepid professor with a hankering for children’s literature, went to ComicCon.  Best of all, he’s willing to report his findings to us (so that we don’t have to go!).  Read up on Part 1, Part 2 (my favorite for the cameo of Bananaman), Part 3, and Part 4.  Phil was there promoting his Barnaby books (which he co-edited with Eric Reynolds). These include Barnaby Volume One: 1942-1943 (2013) and Barnaby Volume Two: 1944-1945 (2014).
  • Did I know that Amanda Palmer wrote a song about what she owes to Judy Blume?  I do now.
  • This is what separates the true fangirls from the poseurs.  Thanks to the CBC for the link.
  • Two Little Free Libraries have sprung up near my home across the street from the Harlem branch of NYPL.  I couldn’t be more pleased because they mean just one thing to me . . . a place to give away my books!!!  Culling books is terribly enjoyable.  It’s also part of BookRiot’s incredibly useful post 8 Tips for Moving When You Have a Ton of Books.
  • Daily Image:

Two words. Bookish shoes.  My personal favorites include . . .

Little Prince Shoes Fusenews: Hear the beat, of literary feet.

Sherlock Shoes 500x335 Fusenews: Hear the beat, of literary feet.

Book Spine heels Fusenews: Hear the beat, of literary feet.

Remember, by the way, that my sister told you how to make some of these yourself.  Thanks to Mom for the link.

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17. Fusenews: This. That. Those. (A Trilogy)

  • NDWilsonVid1 300x167 Fusenews: This. That. Those. (A Trilogy)As per usual there are some Wild Things links I’d love to share today.  Lemme see here . . . Well we got a real stunner of a review over at Chapter 16.  That’s some good and gorgeous stuff going down there. Phil Nel called us “Punchy, lively, and carefully researched.”   The blog The Boy Reader gave us some serious love.  And today on our blog tour we’re at There’s a Book.  And then there’s the video at the Wild Things blog.  N.D. Wilson sent us a vid of the true behind-the-scenes story of Boys of Blur.  It’s kicking off our video series “Wild Things: Sneaky Peeks” where authors reveal the stories behind their books.

Aw heck.  I’ll save you some time.  Here’s the video.  This guy is amazing:

Don’t forget to keep checking back on the site for a new author a day!

  • It’s one thing to notice a trend.  It’s another entirely to pick up on it, catalog the books that represent it, and post accordingly.  I’d noticed in a vague disjointed way that there was a definite uptick in the number of picture books illustrated with photographs this year.  Trust Travis Jonker to systematically go through and find every last livin’ lovin’ one in his The State of Photography Illustration in 2014 post.  In his comment section I’ve added a couple others I’ve seen.  Be sure to do the same!
  • Since I don’t have school age kids yet I’m not in the school loop at the moment.  So it was a BIG shock to me to see the child of a friend of mine having her First Day of Kindergarten picture taken this week.  Really?  In early August?  With that in mind, this may seem a bit late but I care not.  The melodic cadences of Jonathan Auxier can be heard here recommending truly fantastic summer children’s book fare.  The man has fine fabulous taste.
  • In other summer news I was pleased as punch to read about the Y’s Summer Learning Loss Prevention Program.  You know summer slide?  Well it’s good to see someone doing something about it.  Check out the info.  Check out the stats.  Check out the folks trying to combat it.
  • It’s interesting to read the recent PW article Middle Grade and YA: Where to Draw the Line? which takes the issue from a bookseller P.O.V.  Naturally librarians have been struggling with this issue for years.  I even conducted a panel at NYPL a couple years ago called Middle Grade Fiction: Surviving the YA Onslaught in which MG authors Rebecca Stead, N.D. Wilson (he’s everywhere!), Jeanne Birdsall, and Adam Gidwitz discussed the industry’s attempts to brand them as YA (you can hear the full incredibly painful and scratchy audio of the talk here).  It’s a hot topic.
  • This.  This this this this this.  By the way, and completely off-topic, how long until someone writes a YA novel called “This”?  The sequel could be named “That”.  You’re welcome, publishing industry.
  • Harry Potter fan art is near and dear to my heart but in a pinch I’m happy to consider Harry Potter official cover art as well.  They just released the new British covers (and high bloody time, sayeth the masses).  They’re rather fabulous, with the sole flaw of never aging Harry.  What poor kid wants to look the same age at 10 as he does at 17?  Maybe it’s a wizard thing.  Here’s one of the new jackets to chew on:

HalfBloodPrinceBrit Fusenews: This. That. Those. (A Trilogy)

That might be my favorite Dumbledore to date.

  • There are whole generations of children’s librarians that went through graduate school reading and learning about educator Kay E. Vandergrift.  I was one of them, so I was quite sad to read of her recent passing.  The PW obit for her is excellent, particularly the part that reads, “Vandergrift was one of the first professors to establish a significant Web presence, spearheading the use of the Internet as a teaching tool. Her website, a self-declared ‘means of sharing ideas and information with all those interested in literature for children and young adults,’ was considered an important resource for those working with children and linked to more than 500 other sites.”  If you need to know your online children’s literary history, the story isn’t complete without Kay.  I always hoped she’d get around to including a blog section, but what she had was impressive in its own right.  Go take a gander.
  • I don’t consider myself a chump but there are times when even I get so blinded by a seemingly odd fact on the internet that I eschew common sense and believe it to be correct.  Case in point: The Detroit Tigers Dugout Librarian. Oh, how I wanted this to be true.  Born in Kalamazoo, a town equidistant between Detroit and Chicago, my baseball loyalties have always been torn between the Tigers and the Cubs (clearly I love lost causes).  So the idea of the Tigers having their own librarian . . . well, can you blame me for wanting to believe?  I WANNA BEE-LIEVE!
  • I’ve a new pet peeve.  Wanna hear it?  Of course you do!  I just get a bit peeved when popular sites create these lists of children’s books and do absolutely no research whatsoever so that every book mentioned is something they themselves read as children.  That’s why it’s notable when you see something like the remarkable Buzzfeed list 25 Contemporary Picture Books to Help Parents, Teachers, and Kids Talk About Diversity.  They don’t lie!  There are September 2014 releases here as well as a couple things that are at least 10 years old.  It’s a nice mix, really, and a great selection of books.  Thanks to Alexandria LaFaye for the link.
  • So they’re called iPhone wallpapers?  I never knew that.  Neil Gaiman’s made a score of them based on his children’s books.
  • Daily Image:

Maybe it’s just me but after seeing the literary benches cropping up in England I can’t help but think they make a LOT of sense.  More so than painting a statue of a cow or a Peanuts character (can you tell I lived in Minneapolis once?).  Here are two beautiful examples:

Wind the in the Willows

WindWillowsBench Fusenews: This. That. Those. (A Trilogy)

Alice Through the Looking Glass

AliceWonderlandBench Fusenews: This. That. Those. (A Trilogy)

Thanks to Stephanie Whelan for the link!

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18. Fusenews: “… by her mouth there was a scar”

  • Okay.  So we’re still in the thick of book promotion here.  As such, I’ll be taking a trip to my home state on Saturday.  Yup!  It’s a Michigan appearance at Book Beat, the bookstore beloved of my deceased co-writer Peter Sieruta.  The Oakland Press did a nice little write up of what’s to come and barring floodwaters (a real concern) I shall be there with Jules Skyping in.  Here’s Book Beat’s info on the matter.
  • ReadingTheArt 200x300 Fusenews: ... by her mouth there was a scarEnough me stuff.  Let’s look at some other books for adults about children’s literature.  Now here is a book I can guarantee you have not heard of, but should.  Called Reading the Art in Caldecott Award Books (out on September 16th), this is the title I’ve been waiting for for years.  A show of hands – how many of you are a bit intimidated when called upon to critique the art in a picture book?  Mmmhmm.  Yep, me too.  It’s not like we all got fine arts degrees or anything.  So what qualifies us to say that one piece of art is any better than any other?  Authors Gail Nordstrom and Heidi Hammond (a.k.a. my profs in grad school) have written a book that not only explains the process by which the Caldecott Awards are chosen, but that also looks at past award and honor winners and explains why their art is so extraordinary.  This book is INVALUABLE and should be considered must-reading for any Caldecott committee hopefuls, folks participating in Mock Caldecotts, or just about anyone interested in picture book awards.  That’s my plug and I’m standing by it.
  • Mallory Ortberg is a genius.  I don’t use the phrase lightly.  If you haven’t been reading her Children’s Stories Made Horrific on The Toast, you are missing out.  Unless you don’t like horror.  True horror.  I’m still haunted by her version of The Very Hungry Caterpillar and I may craft new nightmares out of her Bradbury-worthy version of The Little Prince.  And the Madeleine . . . oh dear god, the Madeleine!!!  I have no plans to sleep for the next decade or so.
  • I think by this point we’re all aware of the brouhaha surrounding the abominable new UK edition of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory for adults, yes?  No?  Well, if you missed it, the BBC summarized the situation here and the cover itself is here:

CharlieLolita Fusenews: ... by her mouth there was a scar

To my mind the real problem isn’t the Lolita-esque little girl, necessarily (though I’m no fan).  I rather dislike it immensely when publishers feel a need to stick a cover on a book that doesn’t reflect diddly squat about the content inside.  Which is to say, this girl is not in the book.  She’s not Veruca Salt, since Veruca came to the factory with her dad and not her mom.  And she’s certainly not one of the other girls, which means the publisher was just going for some kind of campy look.  So ladies and gentlemen if you click on no other link in this round-up today, it is well worth your time and attention to go to the 100 Scope Notes piece Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Was Just the Beginning.  Without question this is undoubtedly the most amazing bit of satire I’ve seen on a children’s literary blog since the days of Peter Sieruta.

  • Let this be a lesson to you, my children.  If you write something for your library system and 50 years pass, your words may well be bandied about and mocked on whatever future version of the internet exists.  Case in point, my library’s staff reviews of children’s books.  They’ve been going online.  I’m just grateful they’ve been archived at all.
  • Daily Image:

Jules Danielson commissioned a cake for our book launch at Parnassus Books.  I am sad I wasn’t able to make the party, and sadder still that I couldn’t eat this guy.

BunnyCake 500x375 Fusenews: ... by her mouth there was a scar

He looks like he knows what’s coming.

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19. Fusenews: “The Axl Rose Hair Metal hair of picture book cover cupcakes”

Screen shot 2013 12 18 at 10.21.45 PM 300x143 Fusenews: The Axl Rose Hair Metal hair of picture book cover cupcakes

  • It’s been a good week and it’s only Thursday!  I’ve cooed and oohed and aahed over NYPL’s 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing 2013 list before.  Nothing new to say  . . . or is there?  I don’t suppose you happened to see NPR’s interactive booklist consisting of their Best Books of 2013 (in a rare moment of bliss, I like all their children’s book choices though some diversity wouldn’t have been out of place).  Well, NYPL took one look at that list and thought, “Heck. We can do that.”  And so they did!  Meet the Interactive Books List of NYPL.  It’s gorgeous.  It’s user friendly.  It’s the only place you can find animated Melissa Sweet.  Overall, I rather love it.  Hope you do too.
  • In other best book news, Colby Sharp and Donalyn Miller teamed up at BuzzFeed and produced a list of 20 of the Best Children’s Books 2013.  And AGAIN I like all the choices.  Do you know how rare this is?  Extra points for including Donner Dinner Party.  Love that thing.  Love anyone who includes it on a list.
  • Having trouble keeping track of all the Best Of lists out there?  Mr. Schu’s your man.  Thanks to him, we now have a nicely compiled 2013 Best Books Lists posting.  It’s very attractive.  Of course, if you want the most complete listing out there, there’s no better place to go than Chicken Spaghetti.  The information is AMAZING over there.
  • A lot has been said lately about how big Best lists of children’s books this year have neglected to include any Latino characters (NPR and The New York Times most notably).  Perfect timing then for the 2014 Reading Challenge suggested by Latin@s in Kid Lit.  Take a look at the guidelines and join, but seriously?  One book a month?  I think you can handle that.  They even have some suggestions to start you off (yay, Nino!).
  • And, of course, if you read only one Best list, read the 100 Scope Notes highly hilarious Year in Miscellanea.  Plus he mentions my superfluous little cupcake.  Quoth he it’s, “the Axl Rose Hair Metal hair of picture book cover cupcakes.”  You’re just going to have to read his piece to understand what that means.

 FaultStarsMovie Fusenews: The Axl Rose Hair Metal hair of picture book cover cupcakes

  • Tempted to see Saving Mr. Banks in the theater this holiday season?  Feel free but be aware that the film may be throwing P.L. Travers under the bus in the process.  A great piece from Jerry Griswold, former Director of the National Center for the Study of Children’s Literature.
  • Anyone who has ever attended one of James Kennedy’s 90-Second Newbery Film Festivals will attest that they are a bundle of fun.  Just the most delightful little films, created by kids, turning Newbery winners into concise 90-second films.  Some are, understandably, better than others but there’s nothing cooler than sitting in a theater next to a kid who gets to see their film projected on a big screen for the first time in their young lives.  Want to join in?  The deadline for the next 90-second films is January 20th.  So get cracking, young geniuses!  For lots more information about the events and the showings, go here.
  • Awww.  This is so sweet.  Over at Mocking It Up, Rebecca did me a solid and created this simply gorgeous infographic on the books that are topping the Mock Newbery lists around the country (she compiled results from 19 different Mocks).  That’s a ton of work but the results are simply gorgeous.  Wowzah!  Well done, madam.
  • Daily Image:

Why, yes.  That IS a bookshelf in the shape of a robot.

RobotBookshelf 500x444 Fusenews: The Axl Rose Hair Metal hair of picture book cover cupcakes

Now you all know what you’re getting for your birthday.  Surprise!

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20. Fusenews: Book Baths and Far Side – What More Could You Want in Life?

Cybils2013 300x177 Fusenews: Book Baths and Far Side   What More Could You Want in Life?Huh!  Well I’ll be a monkey’s uncle.  In spite of the sheer swaths of time I’ve had since I completed my last Fusenews, I am surprisingly bereft of information for you this week.  Whodathunkit?  Ah well.  NYC was recently hit with a bit of the old snowstorm, so while we stare mournfully at the unshovelled sidewalks in front of our homes, let me recount in the briefest of briefs the situation of the world as it stands.

  • First off, The 2013 Cybils Finalists have been announced!  I’ve panned through the books listed and they’re lovely.  Not a single title I’d seriously object to being on a list (well… maybe one, but that’s still a pretty darn good track record).  Well done to all the hard working judges that had to cull the endless submissions down down down.
  • One of my favorite podcasts Pop Culture Happy Hour has a segment called “What’s Making Us Happy This Week”.  If I might purloin their phrase, this, right here, is what has been making me happy for more than a week.  Artist Mike Holmes came up with the concept of illustrating himself and his cat (Ella) in the style of a different cartoonist every day.  I’ve seen folks do this sort of thing before.  The difference with Holmes?  He is AMAZING.  Example A: This version of The Far Side.  He even got the tone right.

FarSide Fusenews: Book Baths and Far Side   What More Could You Want in Life?

Now please, someone go tap him for a picture book.  I’ll just sit over here patiently and wait.

  • A good In Memoriam piece here at SLJ.  None of the losses make me happy but particularly painful was Ned Vizzini.  It was one of those deaths you hear about on Twitter before you hear anywhere else.  Doesn’t make it any less terrible.
  • On a lighter note, SLJ also released its top posts of 2012 and one of my blog posts ranked at #5.  Which one?  The Complete Listing of All Public Children’s Literature Statues in the United States. Admittedly I haven’t finished posting all the suggestions I’ve received but I solemnly swear to get back to it one of these days (or anytime someone wants to offer me a book deal – ho ho!).  In other news, the #1 post was also mine in a roundabout way.  It was a link to NYPL’s 100 Great Children’s Books which I culled together with a co-worker.  Small world, eh?
  • The holiday gift giving season may be over, but if you ever want to see the most insane present in the world (and you have just oodles of time on your hands) then you must see how my sister put together a Personalized Monopoly Game.  Dear God, woman.
  • Daily Image:

Why, yes.  I will take a library with my bathtub, thank you.

BookBath Fusenews: Book Baths and Far Side   What More Could You Want in Life?

I’ll leave the specifications and, uh, payment to you.  Thanks to Aunt Judy for the link.

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21. Fusenews: No snow day for me. Better blog then.

  • GuessWho 300x113 Fusenews: No snow day for me. Better blog then.Avast!  Tis me sister, me hearties!  Finding yet ANOTHER fun and crafty way to work children’s literature into your lives.  Children of the 80s and 90s (and perhaps the 70s for that matter) may remember the old board game Guess Who with fondness.  So what about finding an old run-down copy at a garage sale and turning it into your own personalized version?  Kate shows you how.  She also works in Giant Dance Party while she’s at it.  Kudos, sis.
  • An ALSC Graphic Novel Award?  No, I’m not saying they’re making one.  I’m not even saying they’re discussing it (or a poetry award for that matter).  But Travis Jonker considers the notion yet again and we’re mighty glad he did.
  • Even more amusing than the French booksellers getting naked to protest the conservative politician that attempted to censor a children’s book about nudity (I think I noticed And Tango Makes Three as one of the strategically placed titles) was the comment by someone one Facebook (forgive me, I can’t remember where I saw this) pointing out that here in the U.S. some folks when coo-coo when SLJ ran a cover of grown adults (including myself) holding colorful alcoholic beverages.  Imagine what they’d do if we’d posed in the buff!

LibrarianReviews 300x298 Fusenews: No snow day for me. Better blog then.This is what we call in the business burying the lede.  So I’ve worked at NYPL for almost 10 years now and thanks to its history there’s just a swath of cool stuff hidden around every corner.  Case in point, the librarian reviews.  For quite some time, the children’s and YA librarians of the system would painstakingly and systematically type up in-house reviews of children’s books so that the materials specialists could consider whether or not to purchase for the system.  Recently these card catalogs full of reviews were moved out of their home in the Mid-Manhattan branch to our archives division.  I figured that would be the last I ever heard of them.  That is, until Kiera Parrott informed me that the NYPL review cards are posted to Instagram every Tuesday and then collected on this Pinterest board.  Scroll through and you’ll read fascinating conflicting opinions on books like Judy Blume’s Forever or the very funny review by a librarian going against an ancient Anne Carroll Moore lack-of-recommendation.  One of these days I SWEAR I am getting a “Not Recommended by Expert” t-shirt or necklace or something.  Big time thanks to Kiera for this find.

Awards You Should Be Award of, Consarn It: Did you remember that the NAACP Image Awards give out children’s literature honors?  And in the field of Outstanding Literary Work – Children I am happy to report that the award went to Kadir Nelson’s Nelson Mandela with honors for Knock Knock (woo-hoo!), Martin & Mahalia, You Never Heard of Willie Mays, and (here’s a surprise) I’m a Pretty Little Black Girl, which I completely missed.  Courage Has No Color won in the teen category, which was a huge relief since I was worried that book wouldn’t get any of the awards it deserved this year.

  • CCBC-NET is the listserv where normally I can sit back, relax, and just take in the occasional comment for processing later in the day.  Recently, however, it exploded as discussions of race and multicultural literature stayed hot but, for the most part, cordial.  The post Taking Action to Make Children’s Literature Better for People of Color does a quick summary then offers solutions to the issues brought up in the past month.   Very good and interesting reading for the day!

PopUpPrague 317x500 Fusenews: No snow day for me. Better blog then.

  • Folks coming to NYC will ask me what there is to do in town that’s children’s literature related and recently all I’ve mentioned was the current NYPL exhibit The ABC of It and the Morgan Library’s Little Prince exhibit.  This is because I routinely forget that The Grolier Club ALSO partakes of children’s literary events from time to time.  So in case you missed it, you may wish to hop on over to “Pop-Ups From Prague: A Centennial Celebration of the Graphic Artistry of Vojtech Kubašta (1914-1992)“.  Boing Boing highlighted some of the art and it really is gorgeous stuff.  It runs until the 15th of this month so move fast!
  • Meanwhile, in Wausau, Wisconsin there’s an exhibit up at the Woodson Art Museum called From Houdini to Hugo: The Art of Brian Selznick.  Coo!
  • After you’re done there you can swing by Hamilton, Ohio where the Heritage Hall Museum has its very own McCloskey Museum.  That’s Robert McCloskey, folks.  Word on the street has it that they have the original doughnut machine from Home Price there and that it works!  Check out all the great March events they have going on.
  • And just when you decided you couldn’t love the Darwin family any more (after reading Charles & Emma I, for one, wanted to adopt them as my own) you find out that his kids scribbled all over the manuscript of Origin of the Species as well as in Emma’s diary.  Thanks to Phil Nel for the link.
  • I was delighted to sit down with author/illustrator Hilary Leung last week as he came to town for the mid-winter SCBWI conference.  Hilary showed me some of his works and stuff and then gave me this little delightful book of LEGO versions of classic and contemporary children’s books.  It was so impressive that I just had to share it here.  Check out the man’s Pinterest page of images.  FANTASTIC!
  • Sometimes BookRiot really gets a post right. Did you see their piece on bookmobile fashions? It sounds funny when I say it, but there’s really no better way. Thanks to AL Direct for the link.
  • They’re putting exercise bikes out for teen patrons in libraries now?  Patrons, heck!  Can I have one in front of my own desk?  In lieu of a walking desk I’ll take what I can get.
  • Daily Image:

I’m not the first person to show it, but I didn’t want to be the last either. I think it was agent Steven Malk who posted it on Twitter.  It’s Dr. Seuss, Judy Blume and Maurice Sendak.

SeussBlumeSendak 500x354 Fusenews: No snow day for me. Better blog then.

Thanks to Warren Truitt for the heads up.

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22. Fusenews: Gleeps! Whiskers! Golly!

  • BattleBooksJudge Fusenews: Gleeps! Whiskers! Golly!Good old brackets.  They’re the greatest gift basketball ever gave to children’s literature.  I’m certain you’ve all been following the Battle of the Kids’ Books over at our sister blog here at SLJ.  That upcoming schedule sure looks like a doozy.  3/12 Doll Bones vs Eleanor & Park judged by Lauren Oliver?  Lauren, baby, my condolences.  3/13 Far Far Away vs Flora & Ulysses judged by Sara Mlynowski?  You can bet I’ll be there that day to watch THAT bit of logic.  But if it’s even more brackets you seek, NYPL is doing some Literary March Madness doozies of their own on Instagram.  Around March 9-12 they’ll be posting the childrens/YA brackets.  Hat tip to Morgan Holzer for coming up with the idea for #LiteraryMarchMadness in the first place.  So what’s it going to be?  Shel Silverstein vs. Dr. Seuss?  Beverly Cleary vs. Judy Blume?  The choices are entirely yours.  Good luck with all that.
  • This is not the first time I’ve come across a particularly interesting blog post from the site Teach From the Heart.  I don’t know that many straight up teacher blogs, but what I’ve seen coming out of this site is consistently thought provoking.  Particularly the recent piece Dear Google, You Should Have Talked to Me First which tackles the sticky, thorny subject of Accelerated Reading.  As of this writing, 253 comments and climbing, folks.

SecretTerrorCastle Fusenews: Gleeps! Whiskers! Golly!Many of you know my true and abiding love of that old Hardy Boys knock-off series The Three Investigators.  Far superior to their contemporaries in every way, The Three Investigators combined good old-fashioned boys detective action adventure heroics with the sensibility of Scooby Doo and the bizarre presence in many of their titles of Alfred Hitchcock (Jim Averbeck take note!).  Sondra Eklund pierces the veil surrounding the trio’s first adventure The Secret of Terror Castle (how can you resist a title like that?) and the results are fabulous.  I mean, the bad guy in the series was named Skinny Norris.  Tell me that’s not the best character name you’ve heard in a while.  Sounds like an escapee from Goodfellas.

  • Ever wondered how to pronounce my name?  Um . . . no.  No you haven’t.  As names go mine is probably one of the easiest to figure out.  Still, that didn’t stop me from putting in an explanation about said name when TeachingBooks.net offered me the chance to appear on their site.  Hear my pronunciation n’ such here, if you’ve a desire to do so.
  • Petition time!  Folks, there’s a children’s literary collection out there that needs you help.  Apparently UC Berkeley has slated their Tolman Children’s Library for closure.  Fortunately some concerned souls found out about this and decided to prevent the event  If you’ve a minute to spare, they would like to get 300 signatures at this time, but they’ve only hit the 200 mark.  So head on over to the petition for Save the Children’s and Young Adult Literature Library in Tolman Hall and see what you can’t do to give them a bit of a boost.  Children’s collections everywhere are facing similar cuts.  It’s nice to feel like you might be able to prevent at least one of these somewhere, somehow.
  • I’ve been quoting the “He seemed to be a permanent bridesmaid” line Vicky Smith came up with in regards to Brian Floca’s win of a Caldecott quite a lot lately.  This was one of the many bon mots on display at the relatively recent Children’s Book Boston gathering, as reported by PW.  Great little piece for those of you wondering how the big ALA Awards get chosen.
  • Me and Business Insider.  We’re like peas in a pod.  I don’t know how financial mags keep hooking me into their productions considering the sheer lack of funds in my own personal life.  First the Forbes article and now this.  Recently BI (I assume someone somewhere presumably calls it BI, right?) asked NYPL if someone like my pretty self could recommend some books that adults should revisit in their waning days.  Or, as they put it, Kids Books Adults Should Read Again As an Adult.  They took the bulk of my suggestions and even integrated some of my comments and news items along the way.  They didn’t mention everything I liked, but I was very impressed that they kept my mentions of Suzuki Beane and Who Needs Donuts.  Well played, guys!

Daily Image:

Know a children’s literary enthusiast in need of some hipster insider children’s lit clothing?  Look no further than this little offering from BustedTees:

NIMHtee1 Fusenews: Gleeps! Whiskers! Golly!

NIMHtee2 Fusenews: Gleeps! Whiskers! Golly!

Granted it’s clearly making a more specific reference to the movie adaptation of Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH (a movie that I need to rewatch one of these days, if only to confirm that it was as creepy as I recall) but we won’t hold that against it.

Thanks to Alison Morris for the link!

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23. Fusenews: Abundant Smart Cookies

Oh, what fun we shall have now that the weather is better.  Here in New York spring sprang yesterday and all the New Yorkers, as one, exhaled in relief.  We are perfectly aware that it can’t last (can anything?) but we’re enjoying it while we can.  So sit back and glue your eyes to a computer screen instead of enjoying the respite.  Unless you have outdoor wi-fi, of course.  Then go wild.

  • MyersTimes 300x292 Fusenews: Abundant Smart CookiesI don’t think I can go any further without bringing up the dual Myers pieces in the Times this past Sunday.  As Walter Dean Myers says in his article Where Are the People of Color in Children’s Books?, “There is work to be done”.  That may be so, and certainly we’re hardly at a reasonable level, but I’ve been very impressed by what I’ve seen in 2014.  As I mentioned in an earlier post this year, I’m already seeing an uptick in the number of African-American kids not just in books but on the covers as well.  Then I looked at Scholastic’s fall list and saw five different middle grade novels with black kids front and center.  Five is nice, but that hardly means we’re out of the woods.  Note that Walter Dean Myers wrote a somewhat similar piece for the Times in 1986 called I Actually Thought We Would Revolutionize the Industry (thanks to Debbie Reese for the heads up).  In it he basically says that there were only 450 books on the black industry in the mid-80s.  One shudders to think what the number is at this precise moment in time.  Oh wait.  According to the CCBC it’s 93.  Now go read The Apartheid of Children’s Literature by Chris Myers and think upon that a bit.
  • I don’t like to pick favorites, but if I had to select my favorite blog post from the last few days, the vote would have to go wholeheartedly to the 100 Scope Notes piece The 33%: 2014 Books from Newbery Winners.  The premise is simple.  After doing the math Travis determined that a full 33% of Newbery winners go on to win again.  He then goes the logical next step and collects all the middle grade novels out this year by previous winners.  There was stuff I had no idea about in there (a new Christopher Paul Curtis?!?!).  Required reading of the day then.
  • New list time!  So it would seem that the National Science Teachers Association has come up with their list called Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K–12: 2014 (Books published in 2013).  Not a common topic but a necessary one.  I was happy to see a lot of favorites on there.  Well done, winners!  Now go ye, my pretties, and spread this info to every science teacher struggling with Common Core that you know.  Thanks to Amie Wright for the link.
  • Speaking of lists, the site List Challenges came up with their 50 Best Books for Kids.  I was all set to pooh-pooh it when I saw they’d included Anna Hibiscus AND The Arrival.  Shoot.  They did their homework really well.  I’ve read all but two (and it won’t be the two you think).  How did you do?
  • Meanwhile, it’s an interesting list and well worth looking at.  They’ve released the contenders for the 2014 E.B. White Read-Aloud Award.  Lots of good books there, but you probably know who I’ll be supporting.  It’s a tough call but I’m Team Unicorn.  Go team!

TreatiesTrenches 224x300 Fusenews: Abundant Smart CookiesThis has absolutely nothing to do with anything else, aside from the fact that everyone’s clamoring for children’s books on WWI this year thanks to the 100 year anniversary.  With that in mind, here’s a sense of what it would have looked like If WWI Was a Bar Fight.  Or you can just do what I’m doing and wait for the latest Nathan Hale book Treaties, Trenches, Mud and Blood.  Can’t wait to see that one!

Utterly fascinating piece in Arcade this week equating the changes happening at the main branch of NYPL with the movie Ghostbusters.  It’s not as nutty as it sounds.  Check out Para-Library Science at the NYPL if you don’t believe me.

  • Then, to wash the academe from your gray cells, you can read eharmony’s 15 Reasons to Date a Librarian.  It’s a rather optimistic view of our profession (while I would love to believe that we ALL have predictable hours . . .) but still cute.  Thanks to Amie for the link.
  • Man, that Marjorie Ingall’s one smart cookie.  She watches that new Neil DeGrasse Tyson show Cosmos and what does she do?  She comes up with a complimentary reading list for kids.  That is how you DO IT, people!
  • Daily Image:

If you haven’t seen this already then I’d like you to guess as to the identity of this children’s book author dressed up as his favorite children’s book character.

GaimanBadger 500x500 Fusenews: Abundant Smart Cookies

A hint: The character is Badger from The Wind in the Willows. And no. This isn’t Alice Cooper.  *pictures what an Alice Cooper children’s book might consist of* The answer is here.

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24. Fusenews: All you need is love (and books before the age of 3)

Zounds!

No reason in particular I wrote that word.  I just like to say “Zounds!” from time to time. Onward!

  • I initially misread this post as “Summer Reading Takes a Hit From Online Scanning and Skimming Researchers Say” (which shows you where my mind is these days).  It’s not “Summer” but Serious Reading Takes a Hit From Online Scanning and Skimming Researchers Say.  I am not dead to the irony of linking to such a piece within a post where the entire purpose is to skim and scan.  That said, I’m just grateful that summer reading isn’t taking that hit.  Now THAT would be a catastrophe.  Thanks to Wayne Roylance for the link.
  • I’m about a week behind in all my news, so you probably saw this long ago.  But just in case you didn’t I was amused by this mash-up of Syd Hoff/Richard Scarry and some very adult novels.  Here’s the link and here’s one of the images in question:

TheRoadHoff Fusenews: All you need is love (and books before the age of 3)

Awesome.

  • It wouldn’t be the first time Mac Barnett and Daniel Handler have appeared on the same panel.  Heck, it probably wouldn’t even necessarily be the best time but there’s nothing like an imminent birth to make a person want to attend the 2014 ALSC National Institute. Aside from the great guests, folks get to go to a place called Children’s Fairyland.  I went to see whether or not I’d added the attractions there to my Complete Listing of All Public Children’s Literature Statues in the United States and found that I had not yet.  I think on maternity leave I go back to updating that post.  It’s 75% done.  Just need to keep adding on suggestions (and I see that the Albany Public Library turned it into a Pinterest board, which is rather fascinating in and of itself).
  • I was fascinated by the recent ShelfTalker post To Host or Not to Host?  The gist of it is that local authors will often ask a bookstore to host an event for their book.  No big surprise there, except what do you do when they’ve published through Amazon?  The back and forth in the comments is worth your time and money.
  • Good old Rocco Staino wrote up the recent celebratory 90-Second Newbery hosted at NYPL.  The gist of the article is quite clever too.  I had noticed vaguely, but without putting it together, that this year’s film festival featured a lot of forgotten Newbery book winners.  I mean, does anyone at all remember The Old Tobacco Shop: A True Account of What Befell A Little Boy in Search of Adventure?  And I blush to say it, but I had no idea that Anne Carroll Moore won a Newbery Honor back in the day.  Wowzah.  How is THAT fact not better known?
  • Yay, Tea Cozy!  Liz Burns does a really good and in-depth look at a recent Entertainment Weekly article that discussed the sheer lack of diversity in our child and teen books these days.
  • Bluecrowne 341x500 Fusenews: All you need is love (and books before the age of 3)There are certain authors on this good green globe that make the world a more interesting place by simply being here. Years ago when I read Kate Milford’s The Boneshaker, I knew she was one of those few. The fascinating thing about Kate is that she’s always writing. Even when her characters aren’t making it into books published by traditional publishers, they’re living their lives in books funded by Kickstarter. Now Kate’s got a new book on the horizon called Bluecrowne that I’d be dying to read, and at the same time she has a book that’s kinda sorta related coming out in August called The Green Glass House. I really need to read that August title, but I’d love to see her publish the Bluecrowne book as well. So if you’ve some jingle in your jeans and like her work (or even if you’re just simply interested in what she has going on) check out her Kickstarter project here.
  • Thanks to a push in Britain to stop promoting gendered toys for kids, the focus has moved a bit to books for kids as well.  I know I’m not the only person in the world who shudders every time she sees a book spell out on its cover that it’s just “For Boys” or “For Girls”.  Just as I grind my teeth when the toy store tells me the same dang thing.  A not so hotso article in a Philadelphia magazine yielded a pretty darn good conversation in its comments.  The article itself is one of those rabble rouser pieces that throw words like “Orwellian” around higglety pigglety.  The comments from Let Toys Be Toys focus everything and keep the conversation civil.  Thanks to PW Children’s Bookshelf for the link.
  • And speaking of gender . . . Anyone out there familiar with Sheila Hamanaka’s picture book I Look Like a Girl?  I wasn’t and I only knew Ms. Hamanaka’s name because of her All the Colors of the Earth.  Well over at Bank Street College of Education’s school the kids got a little passionate about the messages they get from books sometimes.  Here’s the part one and part two of the kids and their reactions/interpretations.  Wowzah.
  • Some folks know that before I decided to become a children’s librarian I played with the notion of heading into conservation instead.  Now my worlds collide as I present to you a recent NYPL post on what it takes to take care of Winnie-the-Pooh and friends.  Stuffed Animal Husbandry, for the record, is the perfect title.
  • Daily Image:

I’m actually doing very well on Daily Images these days.  Perhaps too well.  I was all set with the image for today but that was before I saw this.  It’s a link that will instruct you on the finer details of creating your very own one-of-a-kind Hobbes doll.

HobbesDoll1 500x365 Fusenews: All you need is love (and books before the age of 3)

HobbesDoll2 Fusenews: All you need is love (and books before the age of 3)

I ain’t crafty but that, my friends, is just about the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.

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25. Fusenews: Not seething with envy. It’s more of a percolation process.

  • bookcon Fusenews: Not seething with envy. Its more of a percolation process.So what’s the talk of the town these days?  Well the relative brouhaha came about at the end of last week when ReedPOP announced a panel of “the world’s biggest children’s authors” in the field.  That the luminaries in question were all white and male struck a raw nerve with a whole slew of folks.  Since that moment there’s been some fancy footwork and a promise to add some additional folks.   The solution is ludicrously simple, of course.  If the gist of the grouping is to have the top selling authors of books for kids then just grab Rachel Renee Russell and ask her to join.  The fact that she isn’t tapped for more panels has always struck me as odd.
  • I am not immune to professional jealousy.  Wish that I was.  Fortunately, most of the time I am able to convert the green eyed monster into genuine fascination and interest (much, I’m sure, to the discomfort of the people I’m suddenly obsessed with).  Take this week’s example: One Margaret H. Willison.  I was listening to Pop Culture Happy Hour, a podcast I like quite a lot in spite of the fact that they can’t tell YA fiction from MG.  Anywho, they have a children’s librarian that they love very very much.  Ms. Willison has been a longstanding fan of theirs and Stephen Thompson mentioned that she was on track to be the next Nancy Pearl of children’s books.  Oh aye!  So I checked her out and she did a NPR piece called 3 Bedtime Picture Books That Won’t Put Parents to Sleep.  Excellent choices one and all.  She’s one to watch then.
  • This news made me inordinately happy recently.  The Multnomah County Library System and the Seattle Public Library went head to head in an all out reference battle.  The question?  Who could answer the most book recommendation queries via Twitter?  And I am happy to report that Portland (where the Multnomah system lives) won all the way!!  Way to go, you literary denizens you.  Thanks to AL Direct for the link.
  • Recently a new library opened up at NYU.  Called the Georgiou Library and Resource Center for Children and Literature the site will do a lot of outreach to the community as well as operate as a research facility.  Its librarian is the multi-talented Kendra Tyson and the collection, “contains several categories of children’s literature, including counting books, fairy tales, poetry, biography, and holiday books. It also houses Mother Goose books geared for African, Chinese and Russian audiences, bi-lingual counting books, and the Metropolitan Museum’s of Art’s Museum ABC (Little Brown, 2002), which portrays a range of world cultures through its collections.”  I was lucky enough to attend a small event for the library recently and in the course realized that there are other similar collections out there that I just don’t know well enough.  Like the Cotsen Children’s Library, for example.  Some of you will nod sagely and murmur “of course” when I mention it but to me I was ashamed to discover that not only are they the Princeton children’s library but they maintain these FABULOUS blogs!  The Cotsen Children’s Library blog is updated quite regularly and the Pop Goes the Page is maybe the best arts & crafts for library programs blog I’ve witnessed in a very long time.  They’ve also archived a variety of different interviews with children’s authors called The Bibliofiles that are well worth finding too.  Man.  That would be the life working at either of these libraries, am I right?
  • Good old, ShelfTalker.  I love it when they list a whole slew of their favorite first lines of 2014.  And in the process I discovered at least one book that I hadn’t even heard of until I read its line.  Bonus!
  • You know what?  Fair play to Mackenzie Kruvant.  There she is at Buzzfeed, slaving away with such pieces as “Which Sex And The City Guy Is Your Soulmate?” but often she’ll come up with a really good children’s literature piece.  Example: 15 Adorable Children’s Books For Your Little Architect .  Perhaps she got some help from a librarian somewhere to write it, but if she didn’t then it’s a pretty darn good encapsulation of what’s out there.  Well played, madam.

bigbadbubble Fusenews: Not seething with envy. Its more of a percolation process.NYPL likes it when I blog on their site from time to time, so I’ll tend to do pieces I wouldn’t normally do here.  Case in point, recently I did the post Make ‘Em Laugh: Gut-Busting Picture Books That’ll Have ‘Em Rolling in the Aisles.  I really try to give attention to funny picture books when they come out.  And though I didn’t mention them in the piece (I only included stuff you could currently check out of the collection) if I were to put that post here I’d be sure to include the 2014 titles Big Bad Bubble by Adam Rubin, illustrated by Daniel Salmieri (without a doubt their best work to date) and Monkey Goes Bananas by C. P. Bloom and Peter Raymundo.  Both books are danged funny.  If I make a funny picture book prize this year, they will both be up for serious contention.

A friend on mine on Facebook mentioned that he had a 12-year-old in his branch who was interested in Socialism and did we have any books to recommend?  Naturally my thoughts turned to Little Rebels, but that’s a lot of picture books (many of which are out of print).  Fortunately marxists.org (!) has a booklist of its own.  Say they, “This is the start of an ongoing broad bibliography of children’s literature for MIA with title first, divided by age range and fiction/non-fiction. Some of these books were written to be expressly radical, and others need a stretch to find political implications. Compiled by Sally Ryan.”  Cool.

  • Hey, remember when I mentioned that I’d interviewed Deborah Underwood about her amazing Bad Bye, Good Bye?  I got a little confused about when it was going to post but now, happily, it is up up up!  If you ever wanted to know the ins and outs of writing a rhyming picture book, you are indeed lucky.
  • Got a little confused with the headline on this one, but as it happens it has absolutely nothing to do with the bookstore Books of Wonder here in NYC.  No, this little article is instead about a cool new collection within the Toronto Public Library.  Its full name is “The IBBY Collection of Books for Young People with Disabilities”.  Say they: “As its official name indicates, this collection comes from IBBY, the International Board on Books for Young People. The IBBY collection features more than 3000 multilingual books in sign language, Braille, Blissymbolics, as well as cloth and tactile books and other formats — all for and about children and teens with disabilities.”  I’m downright envious again.  Thanks to Deb Pearson for the link.
  • In the world of book awards we’ve two to consider today.  The Eisner Award nominations came out and I see a lot of familiar faces in the youth category.  Meanwhile the Minnesota Book Awards were announced and you might be surprised to discover some of the winners.
  • Whenever someone asks adult authors to name the children’s books that inspired them there is a danger of the books being the same old, same old.  That’s part of the reason I like this post from World Literature Today.  Yes, there are some rote choices, but there are also some really obscure titles. The Summerfolk by Doris Burn? The Three Fat Men by Yuri Olesha? Tim and the Hidden People by Sheila K. McKullagh?!?  Wowza.  Thanks to Mom for the link.
  • Daily Image:

Good news, poppins.  Today you have a chance to buy cool things and be a good person in the process.  And just in time for my incipient birthday too!  The site Out of Print has been killing it in the library-chic neighborhood.  Observe the cool things that there are to buy:

librarytshirt1 498x500 Fusenews: Not seething with envy. Its more of a percolation process.

librarybag 497x500 Fusenews: Not seething with envy. Its more of a percolation process.

libraryiphone 500x500 Fusenews: Not seething with envy. Its more of a percolation process.

Mom, Kate, I will happily take that iPhone case.  Wouldn’t say no to any of those baby onesies, for that matter.

Now, how does buying this stuff make you a good person?  Well, it seems the site is THIS WEEK (it is National Library Week after all – my workplace got me a mug and everything) giving money to the following school if you buy stuff.  Voila:

P.S. 244 (The Active Learning Elementary School “TALES”) is an early childhood public school (Pre-K to 3rd grade) located in the Flushing neighborhood of Queens, New York. The majority of students do not speak English at home and qualify for subsidized meal plans, yet at TALES they thrive. A model for public schools at both the national and state level, P.S. 244 has been recognized for its focus on health and nutrition and ranks among the healthiest schools in the country. In 2013, P.S. 244 also ranked 11th in the state for test scores and has been heralded for its innovative curriculum and extremely hard working staff.

With all of these strengths, they also have challenges. The school’s current library has no formal checkout system and relies on volunteer staff. The result? The space serves more like a reading room than a true library. Students aren’t able to check out and read these books at home, families miss out on sharing the joy of reading with their kids and the school is unable to implement a summer reading program to enhance student reading skills during off-school periods.

Help us to give this school and its students the library they deserve. During National Library Week (April 13-20), we are donating a portion of our sales to purchase and implement a scanning system for P.S. 244 and to train staff to manage it. We will post updates after the donation and share stories from students and teachers about the impact of this new system.

Many thanks to Ms. Marci for the links!

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