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1. Fusenews: And the tree was moderately amused

  • givingtreeHere’s your SAT question for the day: “Making fun of The Giving Tree in a parody is to shooting fish in a barrel as . . .”  You may put your response in the comments below.  I’ve lived long enough to feel that I’ve seen every possible Giving Tree parody man or woman could imagine.  The Taking Tree, the video with Sassy Gay Friend, that other video where it shows the boy growing up.  Been there, done that.  That’s why I really kind of respected The Toast’s take.  At first it sounds like it’s going to be more of the same old, same old: If the Boy From the Giving Tree Was Your Boyfriend.  But like most pieces on The Toast, it’s much smarter and cleverer than its initial concept.  Well played, Meghann Gordon.  Well played indeed.  Thanks to Cheryl Klein for the link.
  • Me stuff.  If you find that you haven’t heard enough talkety talk from me, Mr. Tim Podell was recently kind enough to speak to interview me for his remarkable, and longstanding, Good Conversations Radio Podcast.  Seven years ago he walked into my library and we talked about where to take his show.  Now he has a successful podcast and I my same blog.  Seems like only yesterday, eh, Tim?
  • This one just sort of sells itself.  The headline read, “British Library releases children’s book illustrations into public domain.”
  • I don’t know as many literary apps for kids as I might.  Pretty much everything on my phone is of the Endless series.  Endless Reader.  Endless Alphabet.  Now I hear they’ve a Spanish one as well: Endless Spanish/Infinito Español.  This is a great day for kinderappkind.
  • Who doesn’t like a good bookface (as the kids are calling it these days)?  Lots of children’s literature was on display in this recent Guardian article about NYPL’s call for pictures ala #bookfacefriday.

bookfaceNelson

I think the Libba Bray one is particularly inspired too.

  • With the sheer number of picture books out there, sometimes you want to see a recommendation list that isn’t the same old, same old.  So if you want something fun and entirely up-t0-date, step this way and take in the Pink Me post Super Summer Picture Books 2015.  Good for what ails ya.
  • I missed a lot of Publisher’s Weekly Children’s Bookshelf issues while I was moving to Evanston, so perhaps this piece has already been discussed ad nauseum without me.  Just in case it hasn’t, though, The Guardian post Picture Books That Draw the Line Against Pink Stereotypes of Girls is very interesting to me.  I should do an American version as a post soon.  In any case, many of these I recognize but I don’t think we’ve seen I’m a Girl by Yasmeen Ismail yet.  Eh, Bloomsbury?  Eh?  Eh eh?  *bats eyelashes*  Eh? Thanks to Kate for the link.
  • With his customary verve and panache, Travis Jonker accurately (insofar as I am concerned) pinpoints the books that will probably get some New York Times Best Illustrated love this year.  The sole book he neglects to mention, insofar as I am concerned, is my beloved Moletown by Torben Kuhlmann and possibly Mr. Squirrel and the Moon by Sebastian Meschenmoser.  Let’s show our German compatriots a little affection!
  • One might argue that launching a literary periodical with a concentration on children’s literature in this day and age is as fraught with peril as launching a children’s bookstore (if not more so).  Yet I find much to celebrate in this recent announcement about The Read Quarterly and what it hopes to accomplish.  You know what?  What the heck.  I’ll subscribe.  Could be good for the little gray cells.
  • Daily Image:

This . . . this looks like a lot of work.  Whooboy.  A lot of work.  But super cool, you bet.  Super cool.  It’s kids made out of books:

0109_poster_B1_右下統一

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2. Fusenews: Containing the only Newbery 4th of July Float I’ve Ever Seen

WheelersMm. Double quick time Fusenews today, I should think. All the goodness. Less of the commentary. As such . . .

  • What is the scariest children’s film of all time? If you mentioned a particular film that involved decapitated heads and Wheelers, this link’s for you.
  • I’m not a teacher so I had no idea what the Best Websites and Apps for teaching and learning really were.  Now I do.  Thanks to Travis and Mr. Schu for the link.
  • This one’s for any high school students you might know.  They’re looking for kids who know how to write funny stuff.  Since this is very much my wheelhouse, I’m going to ask you to think particularly of any funny girls you know.  Let’s make sure this puppy is well represented in both genders, shall we?  Due date: August 3rd so get cracking!
  • The Kirkus/7-Imp piece on Private Readers is absolutely fantastic.  It isn’t just what we read but how we chose to read it (and keep it to ourselves).

margaret

So did this, actually.

WaldoGag

  • Question: Which hugely famous (and still alive) children’s book illustrator used to paint naked geishas for the troops during WWII?  The answer may surprise you.  Or not.  After all, have you ever checked out the bodies in A Circus is Coming?  Va-va-voom!  Extra sidenote: Is that clown with the glasses a barely disguised Kay Thompson?  Discuss.
  • How sad that one of my former co-workers won’t be around to bid me goodbye as I leave NYC.  I mean, I understand why.  He’s got places to go.  People to see.  But still, bidding goodbye to the talking parrot head just isn’t going to have the same oomph.
  • This note is just for my sister.  Kate, we need to do this.  Call me.
  • Daily Image:

Okay. So this is pretty much just about the coolest float I’ve ever seen. As I am moving to Evanston, IL, it seems only fitting to know how they celebrate the 4th of July.  Recently, this float (in a photo taken by Junko Yokata) was on the route.  I have never, in all my livelong days, seen a Newbery float before.  Absolutely remarkable.

CrossoverFloat

Thanks to Junko for the image.

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3. Fusenews: Gravel in the bed

“If kids like a picture book, they’re going to read it at least 50 times, and their parents are going to have to read it with them. Read anything that often, and even minor imperfections start to feel like gravel in the bed.” – Mark Haddon

I’ve just returned from speaking at a magnificent writing retreat weekend at Bethany Hegedus’s Writing Barn in Austin, Texas.  That quote was one that Bethany read before Alexandra Penfold’s presentation and I like it quite a lot.  Someone should start a picture book blog called “Gravel In the Bed”.  If you need a good treat, I do recommend The Writing Barn wholeheartedly.  The deer alone are worth the price of admission.  And if you’ve other children’s book writing retreats you like, let me know what they are.  I’m trying to pull together a list.

  • I just want to give a shout out to my girl Kate Milford. I don’t always agree with the ultimate winners of The Edgar Award (given for the best mysteries) in the young person’s category but this year they knocked it out of the park. Greenglass House for the win!
  • As you know, I’m working on the funny girl anthology FUNNY GIRL and one of my contributors is the illustrious Shannon Hale.  She’s my personal hero most of the time and the recent post Boos for girls just nails down why that is.  Thanks to bookshelves of doom for the link.

Not too long ago I was part of a rather large gathering based on one of my blog posts.  The artist Etienne Delessert saw a piece I’d written on international picture books and how they’re perceived here in the States.  So what did he do?  He grabbed local consulates, flew in scholars, invited friends (like David Macaulay) and created an amazing free day that was hugely edifying and wonderful.  You can read the SLJ report We need more international picture books, kid lit experts say or the PW piece Where the Wild Books Are: A Day of Celebrating Foreign Picture Books or the Monica Edinger recap International Children’s Books Considered.  Very interesting look at these three different perspectives.  And, naturally, I must thank Etienne for taking my little post so very far.  This is, in a very real way, every literary blogger’s dream come true.  Merci, Etienne!

  • There’s a lot of joy that can come when when a British expert discusses their nation’s “forgotten children’s classics“.  The delightful Oxford Companion to Children’s Literature is out and its editor Daniel Hahn has recapped the books that he feels don’t get sufficient attention in Britain.  Very funny to see one of our American classics on this list (I won’t ruin which one for you).
  • How do we instill a sense of empathy in our kids?  Have ‘em read Harry Potter.  Apparently there’s now research to back that statement up.  NPR has the story.
  • Ooo. Wish I lived in L.A. for this upcoming talk.  At UCLA there’s going to be a discussion of Oscar Wilde and the Culture of Childhood that looks at his fairytales.  It ain’t a lot of money.  See what they have to say.
  • Because of I have ample time on my hands (hee hee hee hee . . . whooo) I also wrote an article for Horn Book Magazine recently.  If you’ve ever wondered why we’re seeing so many refugees from the animation industry creating picture books, this may provide some of the answers.
  • Over at the blog Views From the Tesseract, Stephanie Whelan has located a picture book so magnificent that it should be reprinted now now now.  Imagine, if you will, a science fiction picture book starring an African-American girl . . . illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon.  Do you remember Blast Off?

Of course you don’t.  No one does.  Stephanie has the interiors on her site.  And since the number of books that show African-American girls as astronauts are . . . um . . . okay, I’ve never seen one.  Plus it’s gorgeous and fun.  REPRINT REPRINT REPRINT!

  • Speaking of girls in space, I’ve never so regretted that a section was cut from a classic book.  But this missing section from A Wrinkle in Time practically makes me weep for its lack.  I WISH it had been included.  It’s so very horribly horribly timely.
  • As you’ll recall, the new math award for children’s books was established.  So how do you submit your own?  Well, new submissions for 2015 (and looking back an additional five years) will begin to be received starting June 1st. So FYI, kiddos.
  • Daily Image:

Know a librarian getting married?  Or an editor?  Or an author?  Gently suggest to them these for their registry.


Thanks to Stephanie Whelan for the link.

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4. Fusenews: “Someday I’ll go to Winnipeg to win a peg-leg pig”

  • When two people sent me this link I assumed that everyone must have already seen it. But when it didn’t show up on PW Children’s Bookshelf I decided that perhaps I might have a scoop. At the very least, it appears that when people think Nick Cave meets Dr. Seuss, I’m the logical person to send that link to. And they’re right. I’ve been hoping for years that some karaoke bar I wander into might have “Red Right Hand” on the roster. So far it hasn’t worked out but I live in hope. Thanks to Stephanie Whelan and Marci for the link.
  • There was a nice obituary in SLJ about Marcia Brown, the woman who currently holds the title of Most Caldecotts Ever Won By a Single Person (though David Wiesner looks to be catching up). She’s a former co-worker of mine, if by “co-worker” you give or take 50 years (we both worked in the Central Children’s Room, now called The Children’s Center at 42nd Street). Jeanne Lamb of NYPL gave some great background in this piece. I did speak to someone recently who was surprised that the Shadow controversy hasn’t come up in any obituaries discussing Ms. Brown’s life. I suspect that has more to do with our shortened memories than anything else, but it may be an indication of folks wishing to remember her in the best light.
  • You know, just when you think Travis Jonker has come up with all the brilliant posts he’s going to, something like this comes along and blows it all out of the water. You, sir, are a certified genius. You, and your little Aaron Zenz too.
  • Work on Funny Girl, my anthology, continues unabated. In that light, Shannon Hale’s magnificent post Stop Shushing the Funny Girls is particularly pertinent. Consider it your required reading of the day.
  • “Social fluency will be the new currency of success.” The Shelftalker blog said that Jewell Parker Rhodes’s closing keynote, “Diversity and Character-Driven Stories,” at this year’s ABC Children’s Institute was worth reading and seems they’re absolutely right. Downright inspiring too.  Maybe this should be your required reading.
  • Nope. I was wrong.  Those two posts are your required reading, on top of this one from Art Director Chad Beckerman.  His Evolution of a Cover post on Me and Earl and the Dying Girl makes you wish he wrote such things daily.  It also clarifies for many of us the sheer amount of work a single book jacket takes.
  • This is coming to America next year. As such, I must respectfully ask the universe to please make next year come tomorrow. I am willing to wait 24 hours. See how patient I am?  I think I deserve a treat.
  • Let’s say you work in a library system where, for whatever reason, you need to justify a massive summer reading program. And let us say that what you need, what you really and truly want, are some cold, hard facts to back up the claim that there is such a thing as a “summer slide” (summer slide = the phenomenon of children sliding back a grade or two over the summer if they don’t read during that time) and that summer reading prevents it. Well, thanks to the efforts of RIF, we now have research to back us up. So for those of you fond of cold, hard facts, tip your hat to RIF.

There’s just something about that Alligator Pie. When twenty-five graphic novelists were asked to name their favorite children’s books, not one but TWO of them mentioned Alligator Pie by Dennis Lee, illustrated by Frank Newfeld. Canadian to its core, it’s one of those classics that most Americans, heck most U.S. children’s librarians, just don’t know. Next time I’m in Stratford, Ontario I’m picking up a copy. After all, any book that influenced both Mariko Tamaki and John Martz has got to be doing something right.

Did you hear about the diversity survey Lee & Low has spearheaded? Did you read the comments on the article? And do you know whether or not any of the big five have agreed to participate yet? Inquiring minds want to know.

  • Sure, this news already ran in PW Children’s Bookshelf, but hearing it more than once never hurt anybody. We all have our pet favorites. Mine just happen to be German sometimes:
NorthSouth Books’ Associate Publisher, Andrew Rushton, has acquired a second book by German author/illustrator Sebastian Meschenmoser. Gordon & Tapir, which tells the comical story of odd-couple housemates (a particular penguin and an untidy tapir), received a Special Mention at the Bologna Ragazzi awards (category Fiction) and is short-listed for the German Children’s Book of the Year Award. The author will be on tour in the US this June ending at ALA in San Francisco.
  • I miss Peter Sieruta. I miss him a lot. Nobody else had his wit and timing and sheer, crazy historical knowledge in strange obscure areas. So it was with great interest that I recently discovered Second Look Books. Librarian Carol Matic highlights older gems each week, giving a bit of context and history along the way. Good for those still going through Collecting Children’s Books withdrawal.
  • Daily Image:

Need I say more?

Jules, I thought of you. Thanks to Stephanie Whelan for the image.

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5. Fusenews: Sweet Uncanny Valley High

  • chla-27-1Of all the most deserving, least lauded children’s book awards out there, my favorite might be The Phoenix Awards.  “The award, given to a book originally published in the English language, is intended to recognize books of high literary merit. The Phoenix Award is named after the fabled bird who rose from its ashes with renewed life and beauty. Phoenix books also rise from the ashes of neglect and obscurity and once again touch the imaginations and enrich the lives of those who read them.”  They’ve just announced the 2015 winner and I admit that I never read it (One Bird by Kyoko Mori).  There was a time, when I was young, when I tried to read as many Phoenix books as possible.  Someday, maybe, I’ll try again.
  • Heck, while we’re at it let’s also mention once more the Mathical Award which is given to books that “inspire young people to engage with mathematics in the world around them.”  The submission info is here.  Marc Aronson’s thoughts on the matter are here.
  • For those of you in the market for ideas for your next middle grade novel, I suggest checking out this Dunmore, PA housing advertisement.  Have at it. Thanks to Kate for the link.
  • New Podcast Alert: You know I’m just goofy for new children’s literary podcasts.  Heck, I once did an entire Literary Salon on the topic.  Well, Ms. Julie Sternberg has just started Play, Memory.  As she describes it: “I interview authors and others about the ways in which themes that recur in children’s literature–themes like the secrets we keep in childhood; the times we disappoint our parents; and the times our parents disappoint us–have played out in their lives.”
  • And in other podcast news, there’s an interview with Fuse #8 favorite Frances Hardinge over at Tor.com.  Because anything that has to do with Ms. Hardinge is awesome.  I recently found myself having lunch at the same table as Patrick Ness and, at a loss of anything else to say to him, I realized we both belonged to the Mutual Admiration Society of Frances Hardinge.  So to speak. Thanks to Sarah Hagge for the link.
  • There’s a nice big post on endpapers up and running at Nancy Vo’s Illustration blog.

105958-fullThis one’s rather interesting to me.  Folks in my family often send me links that have to do with libraries or librarians in some way.  I find some more useful than others.  Still, I was very intrigued by the recent piece called The Archivist Files: Why the woman who started LA’s branch libraries was fired. Wowzah.  Them’s good reading.

Speaking of librarians, did you know there’s an entire site out there dedicated to them dressing up and posting pictures of themselves?  Yup. Librarian Wardrobe. The more you know.

“But there’s a third set of children’s books: those that fall into an uncanny valley between enjoyable literature and ignorable junk. These are books that exert an irresistible pull on adult consciousness but don’t reward it. They are malign presences on the bookshelf. They hurt. One of them may be the best-selling children’s picture book of all time.”  That’s a hard sentence to beat and, as it happens, I agree with author Gabriel Roth every which way from Sunday.  He discusses what may be one of the worst “canonical” picture books of all time.

  • This doesn’t actually have any connection to children’s literature really (though you might be able to make a case for it) but did you know that there’s a site created by NYPL where you can look at old photos of pretty much every single block in the city?  It’s called OldNYC and I’ve just handed you a website that will eat away at your spare time for the rest of the day.  You’re welcome.
  • I was discussing this with buddy Gregory K the other day.  Can you think of a single instance where a Newbery Award winner went out, after winning said award, and became an agent?  Because that’s what Ms. Rebecca Stead has just done and I think it’s safe to say that it’s an unprecedented move.
  • Daily Image:

So there’s this artist out there by the name of James Hance.  And this, my friends, is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the content he has available.  Here’s a taste:

big-a-most-bold-adventureforever-far-away-BIG

never-tell-them-the-odds-BIGnot-a-bad-bit-of-rescuing-BIGtil-luke-said-BIG

Thanks to Stephanie Whelan for the link.

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6. Fusenews: [Enter Obligatory Winnie-the-Pooh/James Bond Pun Here]

EvanstonFalcon

Did I mention that my new workplace has peregrine falcons? FALCONS, I SAY!

  • As the House of Bird prepares for its inevitable move, I find myself rather entranced with my incipient home of Evanston, Illinois.  I’m coming to it with almost no prior knowledge of its existence, and find it to be completely and utterly lovely.  Example A: Check out this Humans of New York-esque photo series on Tumblr where the library talks to everyday citizens.  Good stuff!
  • Last month I participated in the 21st Century Children’s Nonfiction Conference, located conveniently enough in New York City.  The conference is rather one-of-a-kind since under normal circumstances nonfiction children’s and YA authors are sidelined at the larger book related gatherings.  Here, nonfiction was king and each speaker and attendee was a fan.  PW has the write-up of the whole kerschmozzle here.
  • Actually, that reminds me. I need some blog recommendations from you guys.  What’s your favorite nonfiction children’s book blog site?  I ask because I feel like I’d benefit from having a roster to call upon.  Name me the best, continually updated site you know of and I will return the favor by directing your attention to this jaw-droppingly awesome series of pocket activities conjured up by the one and only Dana Sheridan of the Cotsen Collection of Princeton University.  I adore this.  For example, at one point she says, “It would be interesting to apply the pocket activity to literary figures. What would Jane Austin carry in her pocket? Charles Dickens? J.K. Rowling? Why not apply this concept to the sciences? What would Einstein have in his pocket? Marie Curie? I did, in fact, do a modified version of the pocket activity when I designed this Character Book activity at my library. Not a wallet, and not replicas of historical objects, but the concept is still there! People often ask where I get my ideas (see FAQ). This one derives directly from the pocket activity.”
milo

This is what Milo from THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH would have in his pockets.

Like I say.  Jaw-dropping.

  • Each and every Laura Amy Schlitz novel that is published is cause for cheer and generous carousing in the streets.  But just as delightful in many ways are the very good interviews she participates in.  Kiera Parrott does a stand up job speaking to Ms. Schlitz about her latest novel with Candlewick.  Plus there’s a video.  Callo!  Callay!

AliceWonderlandCool. Here in NYC the Morgan Library is doing a pretty fancy Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland exhibition.  There is probably a roster somewhere of all the Alice exhibits going on in 2015 to celebrate her 150th year.  If anyone sends me the link you will earn yourself a cup of treacle in thanks.

My fabulous co-workers.  Doing the being fabulous thing.

My fabulous Caldecott winner, Dan Santat.  Doing the being fabulous thing while thanking bloggers in his incredibly raw Caldecott speech.

On the one hand the Huffington Post article 13 Children’s Book Authors Who Would Have Written Beautiful Fiction for Adults Too is insulting on a very basic level.  Many is the children’s book author who has been asked when they’re going to write a “real” book.  But just taken at face value, the post is inaccurate.  A lot of the authors listed have, indeed, written for adults.  I can think of Katherine Paterson and Maurice Sendak just off the top of my head.  Apparently the authors of the piece weren’t really interested in delving too deeply into their subject.  More’s the pity.  A post on favorite authors who HAVE written adult fare could be far more interesting.

  • I was chatting with Jules Danielson and Travis Jonker the other day and she mentions this recent article in the Washington Post about Roald Dahl’s granddaughter’s fiancee, who is currently the toast of Orange is the New Black.  Travis pointed out that a very different Dahl descendant was also in the news not too long ago, thereby solidifying the man’s status as having the Best Hipster Descendants of any children’s literature icon thus far (step up your game, Shel Silverstein kiddos).  I was thinking of all this when I learned about an A.A. Milne relative who is a very different kind of author than his famous uncle.  Tim Milne, nephew of A.A. Milne, was recruited into MI6 and wrote the story of Kim Philby, the legendary Soviet master spy.  Now somebody get thee hence and write me a Winnie-the-Pooh spy novel!
  • Speaking of Travis, he speaks!  With Colby Sharp no less.

  • Daily Image: 

I’m a children’s librarian and an author.  Every summer I ask my librarians to send me the summer reading lists that they get from the kids so that I can make certain we have enough copies of all the books on our shelves.  Summer is just a continual month long process of me shifting holds from one record to another and buying books en masse.  As far as I can tell, you’ve really made it as an author if you find your name on one of those lists.  Well, today I’d like to formally thank a teacher at P.S. 110 who deigned to put my beloved Giant Dance Party on their summer reading list.  Thank you, fine and fabulous educator type person!  Kinda makes me feel like I “made it” in some way.  I’m #17.

GiantDanceSummerList

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7. Fusenews: On the bocce ball court with a banjo

  • Winnie the Pooh 300x199 Fusenews: On the bocce ball court with a banjoIn the realm of “How crazy is this?” I have a whopper of a weirdo story.  As you may or may not know, for many years I worked with the delightful Winnie-the-Pooh toys in the Children’s Center at 42nd Street.  Because the toys originally hailed from Britain I become well and truly familiar with folks insisting that they be sent “home”.  In fact, if you’d like to read the entire history of the British M.P. who made it her misbegotten mission, you can do so here.  I hadn’t thought of the debacle in a while, until a most peculiar and bizarre piece ran in Newsweek.  It is difficult to ignore a clickbait headline like Behind Bullet-Proof Glass Winnie-the-Pooh Is In Jail.  Come again?  Riddled with inaccuracies one Cole Moreton decided it would be a good idea to give the impression that the Winnie-the-Pooh toys are now housed in the “basement” of the Schwarzman building.  By “basement” one assumes he means “ground floor” but from the piece you’d be convinced that they were stuffed in a dusty closet lit by a single lightbulb on a string.  It is a shockingly poor piece of journalism (not a single NYPL employee is interviewed).  If Mr. Morten had spoken to even a single person he might have scooped Time when they reported that Winnie might be making a visit to Britain in the future.  Ah well.
  • In other news, my library’s President was recently interviewed by Humans of New York sounding the good sound byte.  Go, Tony, go!
  • From time to time I do some freelance for the company Zoobean.  They specialize in reader’s advisory and now, for the first time, they’ve paired with the Sacramento Public Library to use Beanstack, an advisory app for young children.  Well played, y’all!
  • Christmas may be over but that doesn’t stop me for wanting things.  Like this poster from Sara O’Leary’s upcoming picture book This Is Sadie, illustrated by Julie Morstad:

oleary 500x231 Fusenews: On the bocce ball court with a banjo

  • My reviewing took a bit of a header since the birth of kiddo #2 but I still engage.  Just the same, I cannot say that I haven’t engaged in all the Top 20 Most Annoying Book Reviewer Cliches at one time or another.  With the possible exception of “unflinching”.  That one doesn’t come up when dealing with board books very often. (example: “Martin offers an unflinching look at a brown bear’s ursine strength, never hesitating from delving into what it is they truly do see”).
  • Daily Image:

Hope you got all the gifts you desired. Me? I never got this amazingly hipsterish version of Clue, but boy is it special.

Clue Fusenews: On the bocce ball court with a banjo

I mean, what kind of Clue makes Miss Scarlett the least attractive?

 

 

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8. Fusenews: Chock full o’ NYPL

  • Some me stuff to start us off.  NYPL turned its handy dandy little 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing 2014 list into an interactive bit of gorgeousness.  So as to help it along, I wrote a blog post on the library’s website (I have two blogs, if you want to get technical about it, but only one of them has my heart) with the following clickbait title: They Put THAT Into a Book for Kids?!  Forgive me, oh blogging gods.  I couldn’t help it.  It was too much fun to write.  Oh, and while we’re on the NYPL blogs, I really enjoyed Andrea Lipinski’s post about our old (and I mean OLD) Books for the Teen Age lists.  How can you resist this cover, after all?
  • Recently I was alerted to two older but really fascinating links regarding ARCs (Advanced Readers Galleys) and their procurement and use in the book world.  Over at Stacked Books one post discussed the current state of handing out galleys at large national conferences like ALA.  The other one took the time to poll people on how they use their ARCs and what they do with them.  Both make for magnificent reading.  Thanks to Charlotte Taylor for the links.
  • It’s sort of nice when our reference librarians, both past and present, get a little acknowledgment for the super difficult questions they have to field.  Boing Boing recently related a piece on some of the crazier questions the adult reference librarians have to field.  Children’s librarians get some out there ones as well, but nothing quite compares to these.
  • Ah. It’s the end of an era, everyone.  In case you hadn’t heard the ccbc-net listserv has closed its doors (so to speak) for the last time.  Now if you’re looking for children’s literary listservs you’ve PUB-YAC and child_lit.  Not much else to read these days, I’m afraid.  Except bloggers, I suppose.  *irony laden shudder*
  • I was over at Monica Edinger’s apartment the other day when she showed me this little beauty:

She’d already blogged a quickie review of it, so when the news came in that it won a UK Costa Award I had the odd sensation of being, if only momentarily, inside the British book loop.  And if you looked at that cover and thought to yourself, “Gee, that sure looks like a WWI sequel to E. Nesbit’s Five Children and It” you’re sort of right on the money.

  • So I’m prepping my branches for some hardcore Día programs (El día de los niños/El día de los libros or Children’s Day/Book Day) by buying them lots of Día books.  I go on the Día website to order off of the book lists they have there, and what do I find?  Some of the coolest most up-to-date STEM/STEAM booklists I have EVER had the pleasure to see.  They’re so good, in fact, that I had to alert you to them.  If you’re looking for STEM/STEAM fare, search no further.
  • Daily Image:

Pretty much off-topic but while strolling through Bryant Park behind the main library for NYPL, my boss and I came across the fountain back there.  Apparently when the temperatures plunge they figure it’s better to keep it running rather than risk bursting the pipes.  Whatever the reason, it now looks like this:

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9. Fusenews: Don’t Let the Pigeon Shoot First

  • Hi-ho, folks. Well, there’s a nice little second part to that interview I did with Kidlit TV last week.  Basically, if you’ve ever wanted me to predict the Newbery and Caldecott on air or offer up my assessment of the worst written children’s book of 2014, you are in luck.  I think there may even be some additional free copies of WILD THINGS: ACTS OF MISCHIEF IN CHILDREN’S LITERATURE in the offering as well.
  • In other news, I wouldn’t call this next link workplace safe.  Not because it’s gross or inappropriate in any way.  More because it’s going to make you laugh out loud, probably in a rude snorting-like fashion.  The kind of sound a hippo might admire.  When I worked the children’s reference desk there were certain websites I was not allowed to read because they’d make me give great gulping guffaws and scare the little children.  And a close close examination of Goodnight Moon?  Yep.  That would be dangerous.  Ditto the author’s previous post on Knuffle Bunny.
  • Hey, New Yorkers! Those of you who happen to find yourself with time to spare this Sunday and need somewhere to be.  You like author Gregory Maguire?  You like Tuck Everlasting?  You like the idea of actually seeing Natalie Babbitt for yourself live and in person?  Well Symphony Space is having a heck of a cool event with all these elements put together, and I cannot help but think you’ll have a good time if you attend.  Just sayin’.
  • I come home from work the other day and my husband says, “So. You heard about that J.J. Abrams / Mo Willems thing, right?” Come again?  What the which now?  Yes indeed, there was a story going around the news about a case of mistaken identity between Mo Willems and Mo Williams.  It’s a funny piece, but I do wish they let us know if Abrams ever actually got in touch with Mo.
  • Full credit to Zetta Elliott.  She has created a list of all the 2014 African American Black-authored middle grade and young adult novels were published in the US in 2014.  She found 40.  An incredibly low number, but the list should prove useful to those of you preparing for some African-American book displays in your libraries and bookstores.

New Blog Alert: With two small children in the house (slash taking up valuable cranial real estate) I haven’t indulged in my blog readings like I used to.  I miss things.  So a picture book blog like Magpie That can exist for lord only knows how long before I see it.  And talk about content!  Or a beautiful layout!  If the plethora of illustrators providing magpies along the side are any indication, this site’s been up for a while. A lovely thing to stumble upon then.

Oo!  Thing!  So recently PW was kind enough to write up my last Children’s Literary Salon on the topic of science fiction for kids (as in, why the heck don’t we have any?). Now I know that some of you are planning on coming to NYC for the SCBWI Conference at the beginning of February.  I’m sure you have a lot on your plate, but if you just happen to be free on Saturday, February 7th at 2:00 p.m., take a stroll over to the main branch of NYPL for my (free!) Children’s Literary Salon on “Collaborating Couples“. The description:

Living together is one thing.  Working together?  Another entirely.  Just in time for Valentine’s Day, join married couples Andrea & Brian Pinkney (MARTIN & MAHALIA) and Sean Qualls & Selina Alko (THE CASE FOR LOVING), and Betsy & Ted Lewin (HOW TO BABYSIT A LEOPARD) as they discuss the pitfalls and pleasures of creating collaboratively.

For a full roster of my upcoming Salons (more are in the works) go here.

  • Speaking of NYC, there was an interesting piece in the Times on how we need a children’s literature mascot for the city.  London has Paddington, so what do we have?  Some good suggestions are on hand (Patience and Fortitude amongst them) and it’s tricky to come up with the best of the lot.  I guess if I had my wish it would be the original Winnie-the-Pooh toys.  They’re immigrants, they live in the library, and everybody loves them.  What more could you want in a New York mascot?
  • Daily Image:

The old Daily Image well appears to have run dry. Would you accept this picture of an adorable baby Bird asleep in his books instead?

Darn right you would.

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10. Fusenews: Starring the World’s Creepiest Cat in the Hat!

  • Here in New York we’re getting very excited.  The 90-Second Film Festival is coming!!  And soon too!  Here’s a PW interview with James Kennedy about the festival and for those of you in the NYC area you can see it at NYPL on Saturday, March 7th at 3:00 p.m. In fact, now that I think about it, you could begin your day at NYPL at 2:00 p.m. at my Children’s Literary Salon Blurred Lines?: Accuracy and Illustration in Nonfiction.  We’ll be hosting Mara Rockliff (author), Brian Floca (author/illustrator), Nicole Raymond (editor), and Sophie Blackall (illustrator/author) as they discuss the responsibility of an illustrator when working on a piece of historical nonfiction for kids and whether or not words garner closer scrutiny than pictures.  Should be a fabulous day.
  • We all know on some level that when a book is adapted into a movie the likelihood of the strong female characters staying strong is negligible.  There are always exceptions to the rule, but by and large it’s depressing not to be more shocked by the recent Cracked piece 6 Insulting Movie Adaptations of Strong Female Characters.  I was very pleased to see the inclusion of Violet from A Series of Unfortunate Events too.  Folks tend to forget about her.
  • At the beginning of February I had the infinite pleasure of hosting a Children’s Literary Salon at NYPL on Collaborating Couples.  I invited in Ted & Betsy Lewin, Andrea and Brian Pinkney, and Sean Qualls and Selina Alko.  You can read the PW round-up of the talk here, but before we hit the stage I had to ask Sean about this incident that occurred involving his book with Selina, The Case for Loving and W. Kamau Bell’s treatment at Berkeley’s Elmwood Café.  We didn’t touch on it during our talk since it wasn’t pertinent to this particular discussion, but if you haven’t read the article I suggest you give it a look.
  • If I’m going to be honest about it, this perfectly encapsulates what I’ve always personally felt about the Elephant and Piggie books.  This is because growing up I was the child that wanted everyone and everything in the universe to pair up.  Sesame Street fed this desire to a certain degree but the only time Mr. Rogers got close was during the opera episodes.  And don’t even get me STARTED on Reading Rainbow (no sexual tension = no interest for 4-year-old Betsy).  Hence my perverse desire to see Gerald and Piggie become a couple.  I know, I know.  Clearly I need help.
  • Moomins!  Ballet!  Moomins in ballet!  Sorry, do you need more than that?  Thanks to Marci for the link.
  • It’s fun to read this look at the Mary Poppins Hidden Relationships Fan Theory, but I’ve a bone to pick with it.  Correct me if I’m wrong but doesn’t the book of Mary Poppins make it very clear that yes indeed Mary Poppins WAS Bert’s nanny back in the day?  Or am I just making stuff up?  I thought this was cannon.  That other stuff about Bert’s relationships is particularly peculiar as well.

Perhaps you feel, as I do, that you’ve read every possible Harry Potter related list out there devised by the human brain.  Still and all, while I had seen a bunch of these, there are still some lovely surprises in the BuzzFeed list 21 Times “Harry Potter” Was the Cleverest Book Series Ever.

Speaking of Harry Potter and BuzzFeed, new term alert: Racebent.  Didn’t know it, but this piece has actually convinced me that it is entirely possible that Hermione Granger isn’t the white-skinned schoolgirl she’s often considered to be.  Recall if you will that it was only ever made explicit that Dean Thomas had dark skin when the Harry Potter books were brought over to America (a fact that is not usually mentioned in these stories).

  • Oh, what the heck.  May as well get as Harry Potterish as possible today.  Look!  Cover animations!
  • For years I’ve yearned to go to TLA (the meeting of the Texas Library Association).  State library meetings are always fun, but Texas takes their own to another level.  So far I haven’t had an excuse, but I was reminded of this desire recently when I read the rather delightful piece on how an abandoned Texan Walmart got turned into the ultimate public library.  McAllen?  You’re good people.
  • Let It Be Known: That every author and illustrator out there that makes school visits on a regular basis should take a very close look at Nathan Hale’s School Visit Instructions and replicate PRECISELY what he has done on their own websites.  Obviously you cannot all draw so in terms of visuals he has you beat.  However, this information is perfect and you could certainly write it down in some form yourself.  Let it also be known that his upcoming book about Harriet Tubman, The Underground Abductor, is AMAZING.  Here’s the cover:

  • David Wiesner created an app?  Yep, pretty much.  It’s called Spot and it is now on my To Buy list.
  • Oh!  I don’t know if any of you folks actually know about this.  Were you aware that there is a major children’s book award out there for math-related titles?  Yep, there is.  It’s called the Mathical Award and it’s a project that has come out of a collaboration between The Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI) and the Children’s Book Council (CBC).  Those of you producing such books should look into it.  Could be very very useful to you.
  • Daily Image:

I’ve been meaning to get back to work on updating my post of the Complete Listing of All Children’s Literature Statues in the United States for a while here.  There are definitely some sections that need work.  However, one image I will not be adding is this statue of what might be the world’s creepiest Cat in the Hat.  Not because I don’t like him (oh, I do, I do) but because it’s on school rather than public property.  That doesn’t mean I can’t share him with you anyway, though.

Many thanks to Paula Wiley for bringing him to my attention.  Wowzah.

 

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11. Fusenews: Nothing but death, deer, and Zionism as far as the eye can see

  • Top of the morning to you, froggies!  I had one heckuva weekend, I tell you.  Actually it was just one heckuva Saturday.  First there was the opening of the new Bank Street Bookstore location here in NYC.  I was one of the local authors in attendance and, as you can see from this photograph taken that morning, I was in good company.

At one point I found myself at a signing table between Deborah Heiligman and Rebecca Stead with Susan Kuklin, Chris Raschka, and Peter Lerangis on either side.  I picked up the name tag that Jerry Pinkney had left behind so that I could at least claim a Caldecott by association.  Of course that meant I left my own nametag behind and a certain someone did find it later in the day . . .

Then that afternoon, after wolfing down an Upper West Side avocado sandwich that had aspirations for greatness (aspirations that remained unfulfilled) I was at NYPL’s central library for the panel Blurred Lines?: Accuracy and Illustration in Nonfiction.  This title of silliness I acknowledge mine.  In any case, the line-up was Sophie Blackall, Brian Floca, Mara Rockliff, and her Candlewick editor Nicole Raymond.  It was brilliant. There will perhaps be a write-up at some point that I’ll link to.  I just wanted to tip my hat to the folks involved.  We were slated to go from 2-3 and we pretty much went from 2-4.  We could have gone longer.

  • I’ve often said that small publishers fill the gaps left by their larger brethren.  Folktales and fairy tales are often best served in this way.  Graphic novels are beginning to go the same route.  One type of book that the smaller publishers should really look into, though, is poetry.  We really don’t see a lot of it published in a given year, and I’d love to see more.  The new Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award may help the cause.  It was recently announced and the award is looking for folks who are SCBWI members and that published their books between 2013-2015.  It makes us just one step closer to an ALA poetry award.  One step.
  • How did I miss this when it was published?  It’s a New Yorker piece entitled Eloise: An Update.  It had me at “The absolute first thing I do in the morning is make coffee in the bathroom and check to see what’s on pay-per-view / Then I have to go to the health club to see if they’ve gotten any new kettlebells and then stop at the business center to Google a few foreign swear words.”  Thanks to Sharyn November for the link.
  • Y’all know I worship at the alter of Frances Hardinge and believe her to be one of the greatest living British novelists working today, right?  Well, this just in from the interwebs!  Specifically, from agent Barry Goldblatt’s Facebook page:

BSFA and Carnegie Medal longlister Frances Hardinge’s debut adult novel THE KNOWLEDGE, about a London cab driver with a special license to travel between multiple alternative Londons, who, after rescuing a long-missing fellow driver, finds herself caught up in a widening conspiracy to control the pathways between worlds, to Navah Wolfe at Saga Press, in a two-book deal, for publication in Summer 2017, by Barry Goldblatt at Barry Goldblatt Literary on behalf of Nancy Miles at Miles Stott Literary Agency (NA).

Mind you, this means I’ll have to read an adult novel now.  I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

  • Speaking of England, I’m tired of them being cooler than us.  For example, did you know that they have a Federation of Children’s Book Groups?  A federation!  Why don’t we have a federation?  I’ll tell you why.  Because we haven’t earned it yet.  Grrr.
  • Ooo!  A new Spanish language children’s bookstore has just opened up in Los Angeles.  And here we can’t get a single bookstore other than Barnes & Noble to open up in the Bronx in English, let alone another language.  This is so cool.  Methinks publishers looking to expand into the Latino market would do well to court the people working at this shop, if only to find new translatable material.
  • Fancy fancy dancy dancy Leo Lionni shirts are now being sold by UNIQLO.  Some samples:

Smarties.

  • Roxanne Feldman is one of those women that has been in the business of getting books into the hands of young ‘uns for years and years and years.  Online you may recognize her by her username “fairrosa”.  Well, now she has a blog of her very own and it’s worth visiting.  Called the Fairrosa Cyber Library, it’s the place to go.  However – Be Warned.  This is not a site to merely dabble in.  If you go you must be prepared to sit down and read and read.  Her recent posts about diversity make for exciting blogging.
  • Me Stuff: Because apparently the whole opening of this blog post didn’t count.  Now Dan Blank is one of those guys you just hope and pray you’ll meet at some point in your life.  He’s the kind of fellow who is infinitely intensely knowledgeable about how one’s career can progress over time and he’s followed my own practically since the birth of my blogging career.  If I appeared in Forbes, it was because of Dan.  Recently he interviewed me at length and the post is up.  It’s called Betsy Bird: From “Invisible” Introvert to Author, Critic, Blogger and Librarian.  I feel like that kid in Boyhood with Dan.  Really I do.
  • Fact: The Cotsen Children’s Library of Princeton has been interviewing great authors and illustrators since at least 2010.
  • Fact: Access to these interviews has always been available, but not through iTunes.
  • Fact: Now it is.  And it’s amazing.  Atinuke.  Gary Schmidt.  Rebecca Stead.  Philip Pullman.  It’s free, it’s out there, so fill up your iPod like I am right now and go crazy!  Thanks to Dana Sheridan for the info!

The other day I linked to a piece on the term “racebent” and how it applies to characters like Hermione in Harry Potter.  It’s not really a new idea, though, is it?  Folks have always reinterpreted fictional characters in light of their own cultures.  This year the publisher Tara Books is releasing The Patua Pinocchio.  Now I’ve been a bit Pinocchio obsessed ever since my 3-year-old daughter took Kate McMullen’s version to heart (it was the first chapter book she had the patience to sit through).  With that in mind I am VERY interested in this version of the little wooden boy.  Very.

  • Ever been a children’s nonfiction conference?  Want to?  The 21st Century Children’s Nonfiction Conference has moved to NYC this year and it’s going to be a lot of fun.  I’ll be speaking alongside my colleague / partner-in-crime Amie Wright, but there are a host of other speakers and it’s a delightful roster.  If ever this has ever been your passion, now’s thWe time to go.
  • Diverse books for kids don’t sell?  To this, Elizabeth Bluemle, a bookseller, points out something so glaringly obvious that I’m surprised nobody else has mentioned it before.  I’m sure that someone has, but rarely so succinctly. Good title too:  An Overlooked Fallacy About Sales of Diverse Books.
  • And speaking of diverse books, here’s something that was published last year but that I, in the throes of the whole giving birth thing, missed.  The We Need Diverse Books website regularly posted some of the loveliest book recommendations I’ve ever seen.  We’ve all seen lists that say things like “Like This? Then Try This!” but rarely do they ever explain why the person would like that book (I’m guilty of this in my own reviews’ readalikes and shall endeavor to be better in the future).  On their site, the WNDB folks not only offered diverse readalikes to popular titles, but gave excellent reasons as to why a fan of David Wiesner’s Tuesday might like Bill Thomson’s Chalk.  The pairing of Lucy Christopher’s Stolen with Sharon Draper’s Panic is particularly inspired.  The covers even match.

Daily Image:

I am ever alert to any appropriation of my workplace that might be taking place. Recently I learned that in the Rockettes’ upcoming holiday show there will be this set in one of the numbers.  Apparently Patience and Fortitude (the library lions) will be voiced by (the recorded voices of) Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.  I kid you not.

Years ago when I worked in the old Donnell Library I looked out the window of the Central Children’s Room to see three camels standing there chewing their cud or whatever it is that camels chew.  They were with their trainer, taking a walk before their big number in the Rockettes’ show.  The crazy thing was watching the people on the street.  The New Yorkers were walking past like the it was the most natural thing in the world.  This is because New Yorkers are crazy.  When camels strike you as everyday, something has gone wrong with your life.

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12. Fusenews: In which I find the barest hint of an excuse to post a Rex Stout cover

  • I’ve been watching The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt recently.  So far the resident husband and I have only made it through two episodes, but I was pleased as punch when I learned that the plot twist in storyline #2 hinged on a Baby-Sitter’s Club novel.  Specifically Babysitter’s Club Mystery No. 12: Dawn and the Surfer Ghost.  Peter Lerangis, was this one of yours?  Here’s a breakdown of the book’s plot with a healthy dose of snark, in case you’re interested.
  • And now a subject that is near and dear to my heart: funny writers. Author Cheryl Blackford wrote a very good blog post on a comedic line-up of authors recently presented at The Tucson Festival of Books. Mac Barnett, Adam Rex, Jory John, Obert Skye, and Drew Daywalt were all there.  A good crew, no?  One small problem – we may be entering a new era where all-white male panels cannot exist without being called into question.  Indeed, I remember years ago when I attended an ALA Conference and went to see a “funny authors” panel.  As I recall, I was quite pleased to see the inclusion of Lisa Yee.  Here, Tucson didn’t quite get the memo.  The fault lies with the organizers and Cheryl has some incisive things to say about what message the attendees were getting.
  • Speaking of Adam Rex, he’s got this little old major feature film in theaters right now (Home).  Meanwhile in California, the Gallery Nucleus is doing an exhibition of Rex’s work.  Running from March 28th to April 19th, the art will be from the books The True Meaning of Smekday and Chu’s Day.  Get it while it’s hot!
  • Boy, Brain Pickings just knows its stuff.  There are plenty of aggregator sites out there that regurgitate the same old children’s stuff over and over again.  Brain Pickings actually writes their pieces and puts some thought into what they do.  Case in point, a recent piece on the best children’s books on death, grief, and mourning.  The choices are unusual, recent, and interesting.

Chomping at the bit to read the latest Lockwood & Company book by Jonathan Stroud?  It’s a mediocre salve but you may as well enjoy his homage to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.  Mind you, I was an Hercule Poirot fan born and bred growing up, but I acknowledge that that Doyle has his place.  And don’t tell Stroud, but his books are FAR closer to the Nero Wolfe stories in terms of tone anyway.

Over at The Battle of the Books the fighting rages on.  We’ve lost so many good soldiers in this fight.  If you read only one decision, however, read Nathan Hale’s.  Future judges would do well to emulate his style.  Indeed, is there any other way to do it?

You may be one of the three individuals in the continental U.S. who has not seen Travis Jonker’s blog post on The Art of the Picture Book Barcode.  If you’re only just learning about it now, boy are you in for a treat.

“Really? Rosé?”

That one took some thought.

  • Daily Image:

And now, the last and greatest flashdrive you will ever own:

Could just be a librarian thing, but I think I’m right in saying it reeks of greatness.  Many thanks to Stephanie Whelan for the link.

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13. Fusenews: Spring is here, spring is here / Life is skittles and life is beer

  • The weather!  She has warmed here in NYC!  The crocuses and daffodils and purple flowers that I can never identify are blooming in my front yard.  The birds are singing and there are buds on the trees.  Tis spring spring spring!  To celebrate, we begin today with a poetic celebration of baseball (a very spring thing) written by none other than my father.  You may have known that my mother was talented in this manner.  So too mon pere.  Enjoy!
  • News That Did Not Make a Sufficient Splash in America: How is it that we are not ALL aware that over in Bologna the small Brooklyn publisher Enchanted Lion Books won the prize for Best Children’s Publisher of the Year in the U.S. category?  I do not recall seeing this in my PW Children’s Bookshelf (though perhaps I missed it) nor on my tweets.  Come on, people!  Big time honor here and it couldn’t have gone to a nicer company.  Well done!
  • There are few things the British like more than rereleasing new Harry Potter covers.  They just revealed the new Jim Kay cover and while it does resemble some of the European covers I’ve seen, I think it is the very first time I’ve ever seen a hog associated in any way with Hogwarts.

Harry’s hair is actually messy!  And here is a nice interview with the artist in question.

  • I say this in all sincerity: The Bay Area Children’s Theatre may be the coolest theater of all time.  Yes, I love the New Victory Theatre in here NYC and my heart will always have a soft spot for Children’s Theatre Company of Minneapolis, but check out this upcoming season.  It was Rickshaw Girl that drilled it all home for me.  Rickshaw Girl!  That would work brilliantly on the stage.
  • This one’s interesting.  There’s an extension (I think they’re called extensions, though I’m a little hazy on that point) that once installed on your computer allows you to browse Amazon.com and see the availability of the items there in your local library.  The applications, should they get out, could be enormous.  Using an online retailer to search your local library (which could be useful if your library’s search engine is archaic).  Curious how people feel about this one.  It’s called Library Extension.
  • We’ve seen books written by children reach various levels of popularity over the years.  Swordbird, Eragon, She Was Nice to Mice, etc.  And we’ve seen celebrity children’s books flood our shelves whether we want them or not.  Now the two have come together with an upcoming release and it’s . . . um . . . well, it’s kind of the ULTIMATE celebrity child author of all time.  This I’ll pass on, though.
  • What kinds of children’s books would you like to see?  Where are your pet personal gaps?  Marc Aronson begins the conversation.
  • Daily Image:

I don’t usually show tweets that amuse me, but this one had me laughing aloud in public for days.

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14. Fusenews: “It’s like a shoe of flesh”

  • Mmm. Vanity straight up. So I never quite know how to post “me stuff” news when it’s particularly nice. On the one hand I could post the link with the typical “I’m not worthy” statement attached, but that always sounds as if I doth protest too much.  Or, I could go the other route, and just celebrate the link with a whole lotta hooplah and devil take the consequences. I think, in the end, I’d prefer to just preface the link with a long, drawn out, ultimately boring explanation of why these links are problematic in the vague hope that your eyes glazed over and you skipped to the next bullet point.  That accomplished, here is a very nice thing I was featured in recently at Bustle.  I think Anne Carroll Moore probably should have taken my slot, but insofar as I can tell, she is not around to object.
  • There comes a time in every girl’s life when she realizes that all the funny stuff on the internet was written by a single person.  That person’s name, it turns out, is Mallory Ortberg.  And if you doubt my words, read her recent Toast piece The Willy Wonka Sequel That Charlie’s Mother Deserves.  It’s applicable to the book as well, though in that case it would be “The Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Sequel That Charlie’s Mother and Father Deserve”.
  • It was Jarrett Krosoczka who alerted me to the fact that Jeanne Birdsall has a blog.  Jeanne, you sly devil!  Why didn’t you tell us?
  • Are discussions of children’s book illustrations given adequate attention when people interview authors about the books that influenced them when they were young?  Mark Dery at The Ecstasist doesn’t think so.  In a recent interview with Jonathan Lethem, the two discuss, amongst other things, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, a psychedelic children’s book by popular shrink, Dr. Eric Berne (who wrote Games People Play) called The Happy Valley, The Goops, Rabbit Hill, and the odd thickness (and hidden erotic meanings) behind Ferdinand the Bull’s neck.
  • I don’t usually advertise journal’s calls for contributions, but this seemed special.  Bookbird (a journal close to my heart for obvious reasons) is calling for contributions for a special issue exploring Indigenous Children’s Literature from around the world.   So if you’ve a yen . . .

Recently I hosted a Children’s Literary Salon on Jewish children’s literature, its past, present, and future.  It was a really great talk and has inspired, I am happy to note, a blog post from one of the panelists.  Marjorie Ingall of Tablet Magazine recently wrote the piece Enough With the Holocaust Books for Children!: Yes, we need to teach kids about our history. But our history constitutes a lot more than one tragic event.  It quotes me anonymously at one point as well.  See if you can find me!  Hint: I’m the one who’s not Jewish.

  • And to switch gears, the cutest children’s librarian craft idea of all time.  A teeny tiny traffic jam.  Alternate Title: Dana Sheridan is a friggin’ genius.
  • Not too long ago I helped usher into completeness a brand new children’s book award.  Behold, one that’s all about the math!!  Yes, like you I was an English major who thought she feared the realm of numbers.  Now I see the true problem: there were no good math books for me as a kid (and subsisting entirely on a diet of The Phantom Tollbooth doesn’t really work, folks). Now worry not, interested parties!  The Mathical Award is here and the selections, not to put too fine a point on it, are delightful.
  • Out: Dark Matter.  Five Minutes Ago: Gray Matter.  In: White Matter.  At least when it comes to how children learn to read.  The New Yorker explains.  Extra points to author Maria Konnikova for the Horton Hatches the Egg reference buried in the text.
  • Full credit to Aaron Zenz for turning me onto the site Sketch Dailies.  Cited as a place “that gives a pop culture topic each week day for artists to interpret” there are plenty of children’s literature references to be found.  Draco Malfoy. The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Hedwig (more owl than Angry Inch).  Warning: You will get sucked in, possibly for a very very long time.  Three of the Very Hungry Caterpillar winners recently were here, here, and here.
  • Oop!  The end of the voting on the Children’s Choice Book Awards is nigh. Your last chance to “voice your choice” is looming. Voting for @CBCBook’s Children’s Choice Book Awards closes at ccbookawards.com on May 3rd.  And, if I might be so bold, you may notice something a little . . . um . . . interesting about this year’s hosts of the CBC Gala.  *whistles*
  • Daily Image:

This one’s going out to all my Miyazaki fans.  In the event that you ever needed a new poster for your walls.  The title is “And Made Her Princess of All Wild Things:

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15. 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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16. 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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17. 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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18. 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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19. 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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20. 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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21. 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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22. 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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23. Fusenews: My Count Olaf’s more Vincent Price, but that’s neither here nor there

  • Squickerwonkers 235x300 Fusenews: My Count Olafs more Vincent Price, but thats neither here nor thereOh, thank the high heavens.  Good news, folks. The celebrities have arrived to show us how to write books with darker themes. Thank goodness they’re here!  Until now the field of children’s literature was just an unending vista of sunshine and daisies. But thanks to the combined efforts of Evangeline Lilly (“I look around me and I see a lot of young people who are very entitled and who are very confused when life isn’t perfect. I think that often comes from some of the messaging we receive as children from our stories, but that’s really not life and especially not on the playground”) and Bruce Springsteen (“Bruce Springsteen on Outlaw Pete and Not Sheltering Kids From the Realities of Life“) we can finally stop handing our children consistently sweet and innocent . . . hey. Psst.  You there.  Sit down.  You too.  And I don’t even want to talk about youAll youse guys.  You’re ruining my moment.  Stop being so doggone subversive!  You don’t want to prove the singer and the elf wrong, do you?  They’re famous.  They know what they’re talking about.*
  • Publishers. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, we need ‘em.  Hence the piece Save the book publisher.  Hard to argue the man’s points.

theeducationofanillustrator1 199x300 Fusenews: My Count Olafs more Vincent Price, but thats neither here nor there“Thousands of illustrations, books, comics, graphic novels, animations, products, paintings and more will be on view. In addition, a Children’s Reading Room within the gallery will hold hundreds of children’s books by SVA alumni.”  What’s that, you say?  It’s only the description of the upcoming We Tell Stories exhibition of work by more than 250 alumni of the School of Visual Art’s MFA Illustration as Visual Essay program.  Jules Danielson alerted me to this event and can’t go (seriously, someone just send her to New York City already – she deserves it!) but those of us in NYC can certainly try.

Lolly Robinson speaks truths bloggers may not like to hear. It’s not specifically blogger-related either.  It’s just an issue we all have to deal with these days.  Can you really and truly be critical of a children’s book if you’re buds with that particular author or illustrator?  Lolly weighs in and her thought process winds around until she ends with, “What would happen if EVERY picture book had a YouTube video revealing the details of its creation?”  Spoiler Alert: It would be fantastic.  Meantime, I’ll just say that she’s speaking in the piece as a Horn Book reviewer and not a blogger.  Bloggers, for the most part, are not held to the standards of a Kirkus or a Horn Book.  We have no editors.  We are judge, jury, and executioner (at times) all in one.  As such, you take every blogger with a grain of salt, just as you take every professional review with a similarly sized, if somewhat different, salt grain as well.  And for my part, I review so few books these days that my selection simply consists of those titles I think deserve particular attention or are deserving of criticism.  In fact, I’ve got a rip-roaring critical review on the horizon . . . but I shall say no more.

  • The Best Books lists have begun with a mad sprint.  On the one hand you had PW’s Best Books of 2014.  The middle grade fiction category is particularly remarkable.  Then you have the New York Times Best Illustrated list.  Now just as that Lolly article talked about, I’m buds with two of the jurors who were on that committee.  So I can inquire with calm patience and certainty WHAT THE HECK WERE YOU GUYS THINKING WHEN YOU DIDN’T INCLUDE LINDBERGH?!?  *ahem*  That was awkward.  Good show, blokes.  Nice list.  Moving on.
  • By the way, Travis Jonker’s analysis of the NY Times Best Illustrated books and how well they do Caldecott-wise upset a lot of my expectations.  I did NOT see those stats coming.  Fascinating!
  • In the words of the great Jan Thomas, can you make a scary face? Cause I can.  So can Kate Milford, Jonathan Auxier, and Aaron Starmer for that matter.
  • Here’s my dirty little secret.  I have never, not a single day of my life, biFirsnge watched a single show.  Maybe I indulged in a few too many Northern Exposure‘s when I was young, but that’s it.  However, upon hearing that A Series of Unfortunate Events is slated to be an all-new Netflix series, this record I hold may have to change.  This interview with Handler about the show is worth reading, particularly when the subject of casting comes up. Sez he, “As Count Olaf, James Mason. In 1949. You can see why my involvement may or may not be welcome.”  Thanks to Kate for the news.
  • The old book smell.  Want to know its chemical composition?  Darn tootin’ you do!  Thanks to Mike Lewis for the link.

Daily Image:

Halloween has come and gone but one thing remains clear.  The folks at FirstBook DC?  They won it.  They won Halloween.

HazardousTales 500x373 Fusenews: My Count Olafs more Vincent Price, but thats neither here nor there

If this picture means nothing to you then go here and read up.

*As you might imagine, Bruce is far less to blame here than Ms. Lilly.  He didn’t seek out the picture book writing life and says nothing detrimental about the state of children’s literature today.  It’s the article writer I probably have more of a beef with.

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24. Fusenews: “If ‘1984’ or ‘The Trial’ had been a children’s book, Mr Messy would be it”

  • Sheridan 300x225 Fusenews: If ‘1984’ or ‘The Trial’ had been a children’s book, Mr Messy would be itRecently I’ve grown rather fascinated with the academic children’s collections of the world.  The rare book collections in particular.  With that in mind, what do you do if you’re an institution that specializes in archived materials, and yet you still want to engage young readers in some capacity?  Enter Teaching the untouchable, a great article by Dana Sheridan at the Cotsen Collection of Princeton University.  Written for College and Research Libraries News the piece really delves deep into how to best conduct rare book programs with real honest-to-goodness children.  Great stuff.
  • Whatcha up to tonight?  Got big Tuesday night plans?  No?  Excellent since there’s to be a Twitter chat between Debbie Reese of American Indians in Children’s Literature and brilliant librarian Allie Jane Bruce at 9:00 p.m.  Just go to #SupportWNDB.  Be there or be square.
  • So cool.  Over at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast, Jules got cartooned up.  I would love it if that became a regular thing at her site.  Everyone should cartoonify her when interviewed.
  • Jules also tackled a recent re-illustrated title that will have librarians everywhere just shaking their heads, trying desperately to figure out where to put the darn thing in their collections.  If you’re familiar with the 2001 picture book Jim’s Lion by Russell Hoban then you’ll have a hard time looking at its new incarnation without blanching.  It’s one of the most innovative children’s books of the year but a psychological nightmare that would actually pair magnificently with Patrick Ness’s A Monster Calls, if nothing else.  Jules has the scoop.  Well played, she.

logo kidlittv 300x160 Fusenews: If ‘1984’ or ‘The Trial’ had been a children’s book, Mr Messy would be itWow.  Just, wow.  Kidlit TV is live, people, and boy does it look fancy.  I mean just LOOK at that site!  Someone put their heart and soul into it, that’s for sure.  Makes me feel like a bit of a slacker, if I’m going to be honest.  Boy howdy.

I am always very pleased with folks take public review sites like Amazon or Goodreads and use them to have a bit of fun.  One Hamilton Richardson evidently must have sat through one Mr. Men book too many and the result is a series of thoroughly enjoyable “reviews” that are all distinctive in their own little ways.  Thanks to Steve for the link.

  • Sometimes you just don’t know if the name you see on a series is a real person or not.  Take R.A. Montgomery, for example.  Recently he passed away in his Vermont home, and if his moniker is ringing a couple bells that might be because he’s the fellow behind the Choose Your Own Adventure series.  Like any good child of the 80s I devoured my own fair share of CYOA titles back in the day, perfecting the art of sticking all my digits in between the pages so that the moment I chose poorly I could instantly retrace my steps.  There’s a metaphor lurking in that statement somewhere, I’d wager. Thanks to Mom for the link.
  • Daily Image:

Christmas is on the horizon and you know what that means?  Time to start trying to figure out what to purchase for the children’s literature-obsessed person in your life.  Want an early idea?  I know it isn’t even Thanksgiving yet but I just discovered that that Children’s Book Council sells their old Children’s Book Week posters in a variety of different forms, dating back to 1921.  Everyone from N.C. Wyeth to the most recent one by Robin Preiss Glasser.  Here are some of my own personal favorites:

1950 childrens book week posters Fusenews: If ‘1984’ or ‘The Trial’ had been a children’s book, Mr Messy would be it

1968 childrens book week posters Fusenews: If ‘1984’ or ‘The Trial’ had been a children’s book, Mr Messy would be it

1969 childrens book week posters Fusenews: If ‘1984’ or ‘The Trial’ had been a children’s book, Mr Messy would be it

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25. Fusenews: I’m Cuckoo for Cuckoo Song

  • SeparateEqual1 300x300 Fusenews: Im Cuckoo for Cuckoo SongThere was a time, oh children of mine, when the ALA Media Awards would be announced and the morning after the announcement the winners of the Caldecott and Newbery Awards would be whisked away to New York City to speak on NBC.  Then Snooki came and ruined everything (this is the abbreviated version, but it’s not too far off).  So we’re none too pleased with NBC these days.  Al Roker’s Book Club aside (and it looks like it hasn’t updated since Halloween) there’s not a lot going on at that channel.  But then they go and post the Latinas for Latino Lit: “Remarkable” Children’s Books of 2014 piece (selected by Viviana Hurtado and Monica Olivera) and much is forgiven.  Just one question about the list, though . . . no Viva Frida?
  • What is the state of children’s nonfiction in the UK today?  For our answer we turn to my favorite British blog Playing By the Book which reveals revelation after revelation in the piece Do We Care About Children’s Non-Fiction?  Apparently informational books don’t get reviewed all that often in the U.K.  Do the British value nonfiction then?  Definitely fascinating reading.
  • “I mean, seriously, can you think of one popular show/movie that actually tries to portray Muslims accurately instead of as a confining stereotype?”  The excellent Summer writes on her blog Miss Fictional’s World of YA the piece I Am Not Oppressed.  In particular she’s not particularly pleased with how Muslim women are depicted on the bulk of our book jackets (to say nothing of the content inside).
  • Hm.  So Entertainment Weekly just released a list of 50 Books Every Kid Should Read.  Interesting, yes?  And the choices are fascinating.  They made an effort to do the classics and then work in some contemporary titles.  What they chose is telling.  Little Willow presents the list and leads the discussion as well.
  • Um . . .

EvangelineLilly Fusenews: Im Cuckoo for Cuckoo Song

Okaaaaay. So that’s what Evangeline Lilly wore to her children’s book signing at Barnes & Noble.  Clearly this is the outfit children’s authors should all be wearing now.  Those of you hankering to wear your picnic blanket as a skirt now finally have an excuse to do so.  Thanks to Jules for the link.

  • And now, the best news of the week.  My love for the author Frances Hardinge knows no bounds.  Honestly, I do believe that The Lost Conspiracy may be my favorite children’s book published in the last 10 years.  It’s a serious contender in any case.  So you can imagine how distraught I was when it became clear that Harper Collins would no longer be publishing her books in the U.S.  I watched miserably as the U.K. published A Face Like Glass and Cuckoo Song (read the Book Smugglers review of the latter) overseas.  Heck, I actually shelled out money and bought the darn books myself (and you know how I feel about spending money).  Then, yesterday, a miracle.  I was paging through the Spring 2015 Abrams catalog and there she was.  Frances.  And Cuckoo Song, it said, would be published in May with what may well be the creepiest cover . . . um, ever?  Yeah.  Ever.  It’s not even online yet, so just stay tuned because when it is you know I’ll be blogging it.  So excited. (pssst! Abrams! Let me do the cover reveal!)
  • If you missed the whole Barbie, Computer Programmer children’s book debacle, now’s your time to catch up.  This was the inciting incident.  This was the follow-up.
  • The nice thing about working for NYPL is that they give me an awful lot of leeway when it comes to programming.  I want to do a monthly series of Children’s Literary Salons on a host of different topics?  Go to it!  Any topic I like.  The best ones, however, are often suggested by other people.  For example, when editors Cheryl Klein and Stacy Whitman suggested we have a panel on Native American YA literature where authors Eric Gansworth and Joseph Bruchac could talk about the cross-cultural pleasures and challenges of working with their editors, I was all for it.  Sadly, most of my Lit Salons are not recorded . . . but this one was!  Cheryl, you see, is married to James Monohan and together they run the blog The Narrative Breakdown.  My Salon?  It became one of the episodes and you can listen to it here.  As for those of you interested in attending a Salon (they’re free after all) there’s one this coming Saturday and you can see the full roster of them here.
  • This thing.  More libraries should do this thing. Yes.
  • Speaking of Ms. Woodson, did you see the list of books President Obama purchased at Politics and Prose last Saturday?  If we just pull out the children’s book fare it included:
  1. “Junie B. Jones and a Little Monkey Business” by Barbara Park
  2. “A Barnyard Collection: Click, Clack, Moo and More” by Doreen Cronin
  3. “I Spy Sticker Book and Picture Riddles” by Jean Marzollo
  4. “Nuts to You” by Lynn Rae Perkins
  5. “Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus” by Barbara Park
  6. “Brown Girl Dreaming” by Jacqueline Woodson
  7. “Redwall” by Brian Jacques
  8. “Mossflower” by Brian Jacques
  9. “Mattimeo” by Brian Jacques
  10. “Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms” by Katherine Rundell
  • Daily Image:

I consider this my early Christmas present.  Years ago when I did the Top 100 Children’s Novels poll, I did a post on All-of-a-Kind Family by Sydney Taylor that included every book cover I could find of the title.  All but one.  The book jacket I grew up with appeared to be lost to the sands of time.  And now, all thanks to Sadie Salome, it’s been returned to me.  Behold the only work of historical fiction I read independently and for fun as a kid from cover to cover:

AllofaKindFamily Fusenews: Im Cuckoo for Cuckoo Song

Still the best, so far as I’m concerned.  Thanks, Sadie.

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