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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Fusenews, Most Recent at Top [Help]
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1. 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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2. 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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3. 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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2 Comments on Fusenews: “If ‘1984’ or ‘The Trial’ had been a children’s book, Mr Messy would be it”, last added: 11/19/2014
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4. 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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5. 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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6. 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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7. 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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8. 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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9. 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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10. 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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11. 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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12. 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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13. 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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14. 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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15. Fusenews: Never Forget

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Daily Image:

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

NeverForget 500x500 Fusenews: Never Forget

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

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

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

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

Artist: Jerry Pinkney

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

Mentor: Henrietta Smith

Bridge: Françoise Mouly

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Daily Image:

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

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

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18. Fusenews: The Bear grumbleth “mum mum”

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

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

DarthVaderSummerReading Fusenews: The Bear grumbleth mum mum

You can download the PDF here if you so desire.

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

AnimalSounds Fusenews: The Bear grumbleth mum mum

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

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

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

AnimalAdvocacy Fusenews: The Bear grumbleth mum mum

Thanks to Lori for the link!

 

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19. Fusenews: Of talking tigers and square penguins

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

Penguinhaus 500x500 Fusenews: Of talking tigers and square penguins

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

Daily Image:

Fairly brilliant!

SidewalkEnds Fusenews: Of talking tigers and square penguins

Thanks to Marci for the link.

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20. Fusenews: Private jet, please

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

KidlitCupcakes1 500x375 Fusenews: Private jet, please

KidlitCupcakes2 500x376 Fusenews: Private jet, please

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

Fairest Fusenews: Private jet, please

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

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

ReadBookShelves Fusenews: Private jet, please

Thanks to Aunt Judy for the link.

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

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

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

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

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

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

LaserMazes Fusenews: Laser Mazes. Need I Say More?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Need I say more?

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

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

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

Philip Pullman as Long John Silver

PullmanSilver Fusenews: Because nothing says “birthday” like Barbarsol

Michael Morpurgo as Magwitch from Great Expectations

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HamletTights Fusenews: The Snow Queen   There Can Be Only One

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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25. 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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