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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Fusenews, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 85
1. Fusenews: Not seething with envy. It’s more of a percolation process.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Many thanks to Ms. Marci for the links!

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3 Comments on Fusenews: Not seething with envy. It’s more of a percolation process., last added: 4/17/2014
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2. Fusenews: All you need is love (and books before the age of 3)


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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4 Comments on Fusenews: All you need is love (and books before the age of 3), last added: 4/10/2014
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3. Fusenews: Book Baths and Far Side – What More Could You Want in Life?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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3 Comments on Fusenews: Book Baths and Far Side – What More Could You Want in Life?, last added: 1/12/2014
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4. Fusenews: No snow day for me. Better blog then.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks to Warren Truitt for the heads up.

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5. Fusenews: Gleeps! Whiskers! Golly!

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

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

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

Daily Image:

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

NIMHtee1 Fusenews: Gleeps! Whiskers! Golly!

NIMHtee2 Fusenews: Gleeps! Whiskers! Golly!

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

Thanks to Alison Morris for the link!

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6. Fusenews: Abundant Smart Cookies

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

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

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

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

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

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

GaimanBadger 500x500 Fusenews: Abundant Smart Cookies

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

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7. Fusenews: I had a little list, the prettiest ever seen

  • 100GreatNYPL Fusenews: I had a little list, the prettiest ever seenOh, so very much has gone on this week!  Where to begin?  What to do?  Well, for starters, NYPL released a handy dandy list to accompany their current exhibit The ABC of It: Why Children’s Books Matter.  I helped make said list, which is officially called 100 Great Children’s Books, 100 Years.  So, two things.  #1: We didn’t say “best” or “most popular”.  We just said great.  These are great books.  Hard to argue with that.  And #2: It’s just the stuff published in the last 100 years.  So before you get your knickers in a twist, there is a reason The Secret Garden, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland are nowhere in sight.  NYPL even lets you buy the books in little packages by age level or the whole kerschmozzle at one time.  Groovy.
  • In conjunction with the exhibit and the list, the library brought over Judy Blume and Eric Carle.  So, naturally, when a photograph was to be taken I wedged myself between the two of them.  I intend to blow it up, crop it, and then in fifty years claim to my grandchildren that we were all bestest buddies and this was taken mere moments before we stepped out for some pie.

CarleBlumeBird 500x333 Fusenews: I had a little list, the prettiest ever seen

  • And now, on the depressing side of things, Gary Soto explains why I haven’t seen a new children’s title come out of him since I got my library degree.  I just completely missed that entire Marisol debacle.  In 2005 I was a newly minted librarian.  Seems a bit unfair that I just missed the output of Soto.  So come on, man!  That was basically a decade ago.  Time to do with the typey type.
  • More with the me stuff.  Rob Smith was kind enough to interview me for his podcast The Interactive Teacher.  Now the podcast is up and running and you can hear me yammer from here to Sunday, should you chose to do so.  If you follow this link you’ll find that the written recap isn’t strictly what I’ve said, but it comes close.  Thanks for chatting with me, Rob!  Good stuff.
  • I don’t care that it’s YA. I think I’m still going to have to read this when galleys become available. If only because the last name of the heroine is Gumm. Cute.
  • I know Banned Books Week is over but I just wanna say one thing.  Anything that uses rollergirls can only be a force for good.  In my next life, I’m coming back as one of them.  I ain’t kidding.
  • Note to Self: Create place on website where you can include amazing examples of programs that folks have done in conjunction with Giant Dance Party.  Today’s example, Ms. Helen N. Hill and the AMAZING ideas she came up with after reading my book.  This completely and utterly rocks.  Thank you, Helen!!!
  • Speaking of GDP, do you happen to live in NJ?  Anywhere near Montclair?  Wanna see me dance like a fool and read my book?  Watchung Booksellers is hosting l’il ole me this coming Saturday morning at 10:30.  Please come!
  • Do you instead live on the other side of the country entirely?  Say, around the San Francisco area?  Then why don’t you consider heading on over to Booksmith on Saturday, October 20th at 2 p.m.?  Apparently Julie Downing (Spooky Friends) and Lisa Brown (Vampire Boy’s Good Night) will come together to tell Halloween stories and draw pictures of the kids that attend in costume.  Now there’s an offer you can’t refuse.
  • Daily Image:

Haven’t a clue where my Aunt Judy found this or even who it’s by.  All I know is I love it.

Book Waterfall Fusenews: I had a little list, the prettiest ever seen

I want to go to there.

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8. Fusenews: That’s what I get for ignoring copyright

Happy Columbus Day to you!  I’ve not particularly insightful encapsulations of the day to offer you, though if you’d like to read some preview posts I’ve done on the day (completely with book recommendations) feel free to go here.

  • I will start today with this rather interesting post about a recent brouhaha that arose when a Macalester College student created a spoken word piece called “To JK Rowling, From Cho Chang”.  The internet being what it is you could certainly predict the nasty flaming war that would occur in the wake of her talk, particularly when the video went viral.  What makes the whole incident singular, to my mind, is the student’s response.  She sat down and calmly discussed the top five point folks made about her piece.  She admitted mistakes, reinforced certain points, and basically acted like a civilized grown-up.  The internet is shockingly devoid of civilized grown-ups these days, so in some small part of my brain I wish that high schools around the country could show kids this piece and teach them about internet etiquette in the 21st century.  Own up and also stand up for your beliefs.  It’s a hard lesson and this woman did it with class.  Bravo.
  • Now even before I read Travis Jonker’s fun post, I was aware that the Fuse channel had created something called Fuse News.  I can’t blame them.  It’s a catchy phrase.  Travis’s post is notable, by the way, because it manages to incorporate the phrase “Way to ruin my joke, Weird Al” completely within context.  And just so long as they don’t sue me for the term, we should be fine.  A Google search of the term “Fusenews” yields only them anyway.
  • Flowcharts.  We’re crazy about them.  After my little Noodle flowchart got such nice press I heard from a lot of librarians the cry, “Why can’t we do that?”  Turns out, you can.  I was alerted not so long ago to this cool Which YA Novel Is Right for You?  Feel free to fill in the blanks and come up with your very own personalized flowchart.  Fun for patrons and librarians alike.
  • I’m sure you already saw it at PW Children’s Bookshelf, but how clever were they to interview Elisha Cooper about his contemporary picture book Train alongside Brian Floca and his nonfiction picture book Locomotive.  Someone asked me the other day if Floca might be in the running for a Newbery.  It hadn’t occurred to me before but now . . . oh boy, I hope so.
  • Got the following note the other day and it’s a fun idea for small pubs.  A bit too small for its own press release, I’ll just post it here.

Beginning on Thursday, 10/10/13, at 10AM EST an original apple will be revealed every day until 11/10/13.  Readers, librarians, booksellers, and educators who follow Blue Apple Books on Facebook or Twitter are invited to guess the name of the artist who created the apple.  Whoever is first to guess correctly on either social network will receive a Blue Apple book illustrated by that artist.

Facebook page:
Twitter page:
  • Looks like we’re trendsetters.  First over at NYPL I help make the 100 Great Children’s Books list of the last 100 years. Note, we do not call it the “Best”.  However, Booktrust, a UK reading charity, had no such qualms about the word, coming up with their own 100 Best Books for Children.  Then I hear about the Grolier Club and their December 2014 exhibit on One Hundred Famous Children’s Books (which, to be fair, they’ve been working on since 2010). And then here in the States I couldn’t help but notice the eyebrow-raising title 100 best books for kids: NYPL vs P&C.  Come again?  Far less inflammatory than the title suggests, the post does a nice job of crediting both lists and what they do.  Of course, they do say at one point “Parent & Child‘s list was carefully curated by editors who know well many beloved children’s books from reading them to their own kids (and growing up on them!). The New York Public Library’s list was informed by top books of the past 100 years.”  Um.  Well, yes.  But we ALSO have kids that we’ve read these to.  Nothing got on the NYPL that isn’t actually being read to kids and that they’re actively asking for.  But then the piece notes the books we included that they didn’t, and that’s a pretty gutsy move.  Well played, P&C.
  • So Comic Con has ended here in NYC.  For those of you went and attended on the professional development day, you might have seen my co-worker Amie Wright.  She was presenting on “Comics & the Common Core: The Case to Include Comics in the Curriculum”.  And though it isn’t the same as seeing her live and in person, you can dip through her PowerPoint and see the titles and tips she’s included.
  • Daily Image:

With the backlog of images at my disposal I shouldn’t fall down on the job and cave to this.  But what can I say?  My will is weak.

BrideCat 500x312 Fusenews: Thats what I get for ignoring copyright

Yes. It’s from a site called Brides Throwing Cats where bridal bouquets have been Photoshopped out and cats have been Photoshopped in.  You’re welcome.

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9. Fusenews: Pretty sneaky, sis.

GiantDanceBracelet 300x178 Fusenews: Pretty sneaky, sis.I have a sister.  Did you know that?  Tis true.  She’s not a librarian and her interest in children’s literature pretty much begins and ends with me, which is probably why she hasn’t come up before.  One thing she is?  Crafty.  Crafty as all get out.  And the kicker is that she’s just started this new blog called The How To, How Hard, and How Much to Your Creative Products.  Here’s how she describes it:

What if there was a blog out there that took Pinterest ideas and showed people how to do it, how much time it took, how much money was spent, and had a level of expertise (1-5). Maybe even sell the final product. Is this something people would read? Has it already been done? How could I rope guys into doing it (other than if it involved mustaches and bacon)? I’ve never blogged before but I feel like it might be helpful, especially since the holiday season is quickly approaching. People could even send me recommendations and I could do those as well.

And make it she has.  Amongst other things she has a wide range of Halloween ideas including spider cookies, 5 minute ideas, and my personal favorite, the cleaver cupcakes.  In fact, if you could just repin those cupcakes onto your Pinterest boards she’d be mighty grateful (there’s a contest she’s entering them into).  But of special interest to the blog (aside from outright nepotism) was her recent posting on literary jewelry where she turned a book of mine into a bracelet.  Nicely done, l’il sis.

  • I attended the Society of Illustrators event the other day (did you know the place is free on Tuesdays?!) and the New York Times Best Illustrated results are on the cusp of an announcement soon.  Both lists are chosen by artists as well as librarian types, and so one could consider them the form with which artists are allowed to voice their opinions about the best of the year (just as the National Book Awards are how authors talk about writing).  Still, there are those that have disliked the Caldecott from the outset because it is decided not by artists but librarians.  Robin Smith recently dug up a 1999 interview with Barry Moser voicing just such a concern.  A hot little discussion then emerged in the Horn Book comments.  Go!  See!
  • Brian Biggs + Jon Scieszka + 6 way auction = interesting.
  • Our first shout-out!  And from Tomie dePaola, no less.  On The Official Tomie dePaola Blog you will find a lovely mention of the upcoming Wild Things: Acts of Mischief in Children’s Literature as penned by myself, Jules Danielson, and Peter Sieruta.  Woot!
  • I think a fair number of us have seen Business Insider’s Most Famous Book Set in Every State map by this point, but I’d just like to mention that what pleases me the most about it is the fact that they included children’s books as well as adult.  Six children’s and one YA novel by my count.
  • And since we’re on an interesting title kick, let’s throw out another one.  True or False? Multicultural Books Don’t Sell.  We’ve all heard that argument before.  Now an actual honest-to-god bookseller tackles the question.  You may normally know Elizabeth Bluemle from the ShelfTalker blog at PW, but here she’s guest talking at Lee & Low.  Cleverly, she specifies whether or not we are talking about how they don’t sell to kids or how they don’t sell to adults.  Without giving anything away, let me just say that her experiences mirror my own in the library.

BeatonPony 300x131 Fusenews: Pretty sneaky, sis.In other press release news, I am shocked and appalled that I wasn’t aware of this until now.  I mean, I knew that Kate Beaton, the genius behind Hark, A Vagrant, was working on children’s books.  What I did not know was how close to fruition my dream of shelving her in my children’s sections truly was.  The Wired blog Underwire, of all places, was the one with the scoop when they interviewed Ms. Beaton.  She discusses the book, which contains her most famous creation (the fat pony) and a princess.  Says she about princesses in general, “. . . for little girls historically [princesses] are the only people like them who had any power at all. It’s not just oh, princes and dresses. It’s also, here’s a person with agency. Is she just someone who wants a pretty dress and prince? Or is she a warrior living in a battle kingdom? I think it just depends on how you depict what a princess is.”  I think we know the direction Ms. Beaton will go in.  And I waaaant it.  Thanks to Seth Fishman for the link.

  • As slogans go, this might be one of my favorites: “Kill time. Make history”.  How do you mean?  Well, NYPL is looking for a few good bored folks. Say they, “The New York Public Library is training computers how to recognize building shapes and other information from old city maps. Help us clean up the data so that it can be used in research, teaching and civic hacking.”  Sometimes I just love my workplace.
  • Me stuff time.  Or rather, stuff I’m doing around and about the world that you might like to attend.  You see, on November 6th I’ll be interviewing legendary graphic novelist Paul Pope at 4pm at the Mulberry Street library branch here in NYC.  If you are unfamiliar with Mr. Pope’s name, all you really need to know is that he’s a three time Eisner Award winning artist who wrote the recent GN Battling Boy and whose work is currently on display at the Society of Illustrators on their second floor (which just means I get to tell you again that you can get in for free on Tuesdays).  This event will also be free.  If you’ve ever wondered what the “Mick Jagger of graphic novels” would look like, you’ll find out soon enough.
  • Also going on in NYC, they have transferred Allegra Kent’s Ballerina Swan to the stage for kids.  Makes perfect sense when you put it that way.
  • My reaction to finding out that Henry Selick was going to direct Adam Gidwitz’s A Tale Dark and Grimm was simple.  The best possible person is doing the best possible thing and is making everyone happy in the process.  My sole concern?  Selick’s going live action on this.  What was the last live action film he directed?  Monkeybone, you say?  Ruh-roh.  Thanks to PW Children’s Bookshelf for the link.
  • Daily Image:
Remember that nice Marcie Colleen I mentioned earlier with her Picture Book Month Teacher’s Guide?  Well, turns out she’s engaged to Jonathan Lopes, the Senior Production Manager at Little, Brown.  And amongst the man’s many talents is the fact that he occasionally sculpts with LEGOs.  Recently Hachette “held their Gallery Project, showcasing the talents of their employees.”  Here’s what Jonathan made.
Mr.LegoTiger Fusenews: Pretty sneaky, sis.
He’s 6-feet-tall and all LEGO, baby.  Many thanks to Marcie Colleen for the link!

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10. Fusenews: Why You Should Go to Kidlitcon (and other interesting facts)

  • KidLitCon 300x158 Fusenews: Why You Should Go to Kidlitcon (and other interesting facts)Oh, you lucky bugs.  Do you know what today is?  Today is the first day of Kidlitcon and for those of you still interested in joining (and who wouldn’t be?) you have a last minute chance to be a part of the fun.  Always assuming you’re in the Austin area, of course, but I bet that LOTS of you are located in that general vicinity.  As you’ll recall, last year Kidlitcon was held in New York City and we did very well indeed with the vast hoards of people.  This year it’s a slightly smaller affair, but no less fascinating and fun.  Full details can be found here but don’t worry if you’ve missed the opening ceremonies.  The bulk of the action is on Saturday anyway, so you’ve still time to join.  So go!  Shoo!  Why waste your time here?
  • I don’t know about you but typically I go through blog reading binges.  I ignore my favorites for long periods of time and then I consume weeks’ worth of material in a single sitting.  I did this recently with the beloved Crooked House.  First, I enjoyed the fact that she highlighted the book How to Do Nothing With Nobody All Alone By Yourself (notable, if nothing else, for the Lemony Snicket quote which reads, “Every great book reminds us that we are all alone in the world. At least this one provides us with the means to entertain ourselves while we’re here.”)  The second post that caught my eye was a transcribed selection from The Mermaid of Brooklyn which I perhaps enjoyed too much.  Too too much.
  • Now some graphic novel news.  There are two horns worth tooting today.  First, there is the fact that I’m on ALSC’s Quicklists Consulting Committee and we recently came up with a newly revised Graphic Novels Reading List, broken down not just by age levels but by whether or not they’re black and white or color.  In related news, kudos to the folks at Good Comics for Kids as well as Snow Wildsmith and Scott Robins for their A Parent’s Guide to the Best Kids’ Comics: Choosing Titles Your Children Will Love.  The SLJ blog and the useful book were both mentioned on the most recent episode of the popular NPR podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour.  The episode Making Toddlers Into Nerds is a bit of a misnomer and they do a lamentable job of mentioning any children’s literature that isn’t either 50 years old or part of a huge series, but at least they get the graphic novels piece right.
  • Questions I never thought to ask until Marjorie Ingall made me: Why do chickens play an outsized role in Jewish children’s picture books?  The answer may surprise you.  Or, at the very least, you’ll be impressed with the amount of thought Marjorie has put into this subject.
  • This is a good one.  Always at the forefront of the diversity issues, Lee and Low recently put on their blog the post Literary Agents Discuss the Diversity Gap in Publishing.  The agents in question are Adriana Domínguez, Karen Grencik, Abigail Samoun, and Lori Nowicki. Much of what they’re saying echoes things we’ve heard from editors over the past few years.  Check it out.
  • I received this message recently and figured you’d want to know about it.  Ahem.

I just wanted to let you know that ABFFE’s 2013 holiday auction will take place on eBay from November 26 through December 2nd.  Please let your colleagues and friends know that this is the best place to buy holiday gifts! More than 50 leading artists and illustrators contributed to last year’s auction and we are hoping for even more art this year.  Once the auction is live, you will be able to access it from a link on www.abffe.org.

  • Me stuff.  Recently I was lucky enough to serve on the New York Times Best Illustrated judging committee for this year’s books.  If you haven’t seen the results I came up with alongside Brian Selznick and Steve Heller you have two choices.  You could look at the fancy dancy NY Times slideshow of the winners here OR you could go on over to 100 Scope Notes and check out Travis Jonker’s truly lovely round-up with book jackets and everything here.
  • Just as I collect children’s literary statues from around the States (I’m STILL updating that post, people, so don’t worry if your favorites haven’t made it yet) I also like to keep tabs on museums of famous children’s authors and illustrators.  You have your Eric Carle Museum, your Edward Gorey Museum, and apparently you also have a Tasha Tudor Museum.  Or, at least, you will when it finds a new host.

SpotLit 300x93 Fusenews: Why You Should Go to Kidlitcon (and other interesting facts)You may or may not have heard about the SpotLit list, created by Scholastic Book Group with the help of scholars, teachers, librarians, and other specialists in the field.  Well, two awesome infographics have been created to show off some of the facts behind it.  I like them partly because they’re infographics and partly because in the group picture it looks like I’m snuggling up to Harry Potter while Hedwig swoops down mere moments before removing my cranium.  This list discusses what the committee looked like and this list discusses what the books on the list consist of.

  • When a new library branch reopens in my city I don’t always report on the fact, but this recent article about the reopened Coney Island Branch is the exception to the rule.  The place looks precisely how you’d want a Coney Island branch to look.  Granted there aren’t any half naked mermaids or rides in the library, but those photographs on the walls are worth the price of admission alone.
  • Jon Klassen’s right.  Interviews with the great illustrator Arnold Lobel are few and far between.  When you can find one, you post it.  And that’s just what he did.  Thank you, Jon.
  • Hat tip to Travis Jonker.  Without him I would have never known that there are TWO children’s literature podcasts out there that had escaped my attention.  I need to upgrade the old sidebar on this blog, do I not?
  • And in the world of grants n’ such:

Greetings! There’s still time to apply for the ALSC Candlewick Press Light the Way grant. The deadline is December 1, 2013. This is a great funding opportunity if you have a project or program related to library service to children in special populations. The application is at this link: http://www.ala.org/alsc/awardsgrants/profawards/candlewicklighttheway

  • Daily Image:

Today’s image may be classified as Best Fan Art Ever, or something along those lines.  How many of you are familiar with Helen Frost’s lovely middle grade Diamond Willow?  Well, it came out in 2008 or so but its fans continue to find it.  Case in point, this young woman who, with her Chinook pet dog, reenacted the cover.  Compare and contrast:


DiamondWillow1 Fusenews: Why You Should Go to Kidlitcon (and other interesting facts)

Fan Made:

DiamondWillow2 500x333 Fusenews: Why You Should Go to Kidlitcon (and other interesting facts)

Utterly adorable.  Many thanks to Helen for sharing this with me


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11. Fusenews: I’m going back to Indiana! Indiana here I come!

Those of you familiar with the Jackson 5 song I’ve referenced in my title are probably now throwing virtual rotten fruit in my general direction.  Still, I can’t say it isn’t accurate.  This weekend I am pleased to be a speaker at the SCBWI Indiana conference in Zionsville, IN.  I haven’t been back in Indiana since my last college reunion in 2010.  It’ll be good for me to fill the lungs with some pure uncut Midwestern air once more.  A gal need to fill up before heading back into the NYC fray.  While you read this I may be zooming up into the clouds above, so enjoy some ephemera in my absence.

  • ReadingNet 300x174 Fusenews: Im going back to Indiana!  Indiana here I come!Sure.  On the one hand Spain’s reading net, highlighted by Boing Boing this week, looks AMAZING.  But while it may work well for Spanish children, you just know that our kids would be leaping and jumping all over that thing within seconds.  Plus, there appears to be a gigantic hole in it that’s just asking for trouble.  Or maybe that’s how you get in.  That would make sense.
  • Views From the Tesseract has reached its 100th post and as a result Stephanie came up with What Stories Have Taught Me in 100 Small Lessons.  It’s nice without being sentimental.  Plus, if you’re in the market for good quotes from children’s books, this here’s the place to go for your one stop shopping!
  • My l’il sis is at it again.  This time she came up with a way to create comic book shoes.  I cannot help but think that this might be possible with old Advanced Readers Copies.  Or YA craft programs.  Yeah.  I think you can tell that the next time I go to the Newbery/Caldecott Banquet I’m recruiting Kate to help me with my outfit.  She made one shoe superheroes and one supervillains.

SupervillainShoe Fusenews: Im going back to Indiana!  Indiana here I come!

For the record, she also did a post on how to make a hollow book.  If you read it, just remember that the world is FULL of extra Harry Potter 7s.  One or two less isn’t gonna hurt anything.

  • And while we’re feeling crafty, Delightful Children’s Books has come up with such a good idea: a Bookish Advent Calendar.  Genius!  I may have to steal this idea myself.  If I do, though, I’d better get cracking.  Start placing holds now.  December is practically nigh!
  • On the more serious side of things, Marjorie Ingall writes great posts no matter where she is, but it’s her titles that consistently blow me away.  At the blog Modern Loss (a site for “navigating your life after a death”) Marjorie wrote 5 Kids Books That Go There: The best of the ‘talking to kids about death’ genre (drumroll, please).  It’s a strong five.  I’m trying to think what I might add.  This year’s Missing Mommy by Rebecca Cobb, maybe.  That book ripped my heart from my chest and danced a tarantella on the remains.
  • *sigh*  Well, if nothing else, this clarifies for me who exactly “McKenna” is and why folks keep asking me to buy her books.  And Saige, for that matter.  Alexandra Petri writes a rather amusing piece on what has happened to American Girl.

WhatFoxSay 232x300 Fusenews: Im going back to Indiana!  Indiana here I come!I’m far less upset about the fact that they’re turning What Does the Fox Say? into a picture book.  For one thing, I’m weirdly thrilled that the Norwegian YouTube hit sensation has a Norwegian illustrator.  And one that clearly has a sense of humor.  Hey!  Whatever it takes to get some new names from overseas into the American market.  At the very least, I want to see it (though I’m fairly certain it is NOT the first picture book to be based on a YouTube sensation).  Thanks to Playing By the Book and Matt for the info.

  • Daily Image:

Today, I show something I may have shown before.  It’s lithographs of famous books where the text from the story makes up the image itself.  Here are some examples:

A Christmas Carol

ChristmasCarol 500x324 Fusenews: Im going back to Indiana!  Indiana here I come!

Alice in Wonderland

Wonderland 500x324 Fusenews: Im going back to Indiana!  Indiana here I come!

A Little Princess

LittlePrincess 500x324 Fusenews: Im going back to Indiana!  Indiana here I come!

Thanks to Marci for the link!


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12. Fusenews: I ain’t too proud to beg

Happy Tuesday to you, one and all!  Hope your weather isn’t as bitingly cold as ours has been.  Time to warm up with some fresh and festive children’s literature tidbits.  Personally, I’m trying to figure out why I wrote today’s headline a couple days ago.  I’m sure there was a reason for it.  Hmmm.

  • WorldIsRound 251x300 Fusenews: I aint too proud to begThe recent NPR piece on Gertrude Stein’s children’s book reminds me that it would be great if someone wrote a fun article for The Horn Book that consisted of a systematic accounting of cases where adult authors wrote children’s books and failed miserably in the attempt (with the occasional success stories, i.e. Sylvia Plath, along the way).  The article could take into account similarities between such books, or trends in more recent examples (today we have Salman Rushdie, Michael Crichton, etc. and back then we had Gertrude Stein, Donald Barthelme, etc.).  So somebody go do that thing.  I’d love to read it.
  • Best book lists are popping up hither and thither and yon.  We recently saw the release of the rather massive Kirkus Best Books List for Children as well as this one from Publishers Weekly.  Always interesting to see which non-starred books made the cut.  Now SLJ announces that they’ll reveal their 2013 Best Books on Twitter. The big reveal is Thursday, November 21, 8 pm EST.
  • Allie Bruce has two fantastic blog posts up on the Lee & Low site these days discussing conversations she’s had with the kids in her school about race (amongst other issues) and book jackets.  Part one is here and part two is here.  This would be your required reading of the day.  It’s fun and makes for a great conversation.  Plus, I love how these conversations help to make kids into savvier consumers.
  • Oh!  And while we’re over at ShelfTalker, they’ve updated The Stars Thus Far.  Look at Locomotive!  Doesn’t that do your heart good?  I completely missed that it was the only children’s book this year to get six out of six.  Wow!
  • Things You Might Have Missed Because I Sure As Heck Did: James Howe guest blogged over at TeachingBooks.net and his post is just the smartest thing.  From personal history to a sneak peek into his upcoming 2014 title, this is just fantastic stuff.  I tell you, man.  Guest blogging is where it’s at.
  • This next one is just so cool.  I’ve been hearing from various folks the ways in which they’ve been having Giant Dance Parties as inspired by my book.  But NONE of them quite compare to this party that took place at the Cotsen Children’s Library at Princeton University.  The accompanying craft is just brilliant!  They even made little roses.  Awwww.  Still not convinced?  Then let this adorable child be the ultimate lure:

GiantDanceFeet Fusenews: I aint too proud to beg

Resist if you can.  You can’t!  Thank you Dana Sheridan for the link!

  • If you’re anything like me you scanned through this admittedly very cool Most Popular Books of All Time piece and looked to see how the children’s materials panned out.  Very well, it seems!  And the top of the pops?  Mr. Hans Christian Andersen himself.  Now and forever, baby.  Thanks to Aunt Judy for the link.
  • My workplace is so weird.  Ask me sometime about the day Bjork came to visit Winnie-the-Pooh.
  • Stockholm’s Tio Tretto Library is so cool.  If the kitchen didn’t clinch it then the sewing area would.  Stockholm tweens are clearly the luckiest in the world.
  • Derek Jeter has his own publishing imprint now?  Hm.  Okay.  I’ll be fine with this, just so long as at least ONE of these books is set in Kalamazoo, our hometown.  C’mon, Jeter!  Hometown pride!  Thanks to PW Children’s Bookshelf for the link.
  • Daily Image:

Been sitting on this one for a while. It’s the kind of sign I could have used on bad days when working in the children’s room.

WarningSign 500x495 Fusenews: I aint too proud to beg

Thanks to Aunt Judy for the image!

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13. Fusenews: Nailed It!

TardisGingerbread Fusenews: Nailed It!Don’t you hate it when you’ve saved oodles of links for a Fusenews only to find your computer apparently ate them without informing you?  Fun times.  So if I promised some of you that I’d post something and then I didn’t, remind me of the fact.  Clearly me brain is running on fumes.

  • Stop.  Before you go any farther I will show you something that will make you laugh.  It is this post by my sister on making a particularly unique gingerbread creation.  If nothing else the photos at the end will make you snort in a distinctly unladylike manner.
  • Please remind me the next time I wish to garner outrage to simply tap Philip Pullman.  The man has sway.  Big time sway.
  • This is fun:

The SCBWI is proud to announce the winner and honor recipients of the 2013 Jane Yolen Mid-List Author Award.  Congratulations to winner Eve Feldman, author of such works asBilly and Milly Short and Silly (Putnam) and Dog Crazy (Tambourine).  Eve has been a children’s book author and SCBWI member for over twenty years.  To learn more about Eve visit www.evebfeldman.com.

Two Honor Grants were also awarded to authors Verla Kay and Deborah Lynn Jacobs.  Verla Kay is the author of Civil War Drummer Boy (Putnam) and Hornbooks and Inkwells(Putnam) among others.  Learn more at www.verlakay.com.  Deborah Lynn Jacobs is the author of the young adult novels Choices (Roaring Brook Press) and Powers (Square Fish).  Learn more at www.deborahlynnjacobs.com.

  • Gift giving to a young ‘un when you yourself are without young ‘uns?  Well, this post A Message to Those Without Children is dead on.  She doesn’t mention alternatives but I can: What about books instead?  Board books!  Give it a whirl, prospective gift givers.

HPclothes 173x300 Fusenews: Nailed It!

  • The most amusing part of this Harry Potter Swimsuit Line to my mind isn’t the content so much as it is the models they got to wear the outfits.  Most of them don’t seem to have any clue what they’re wearing.  However, #2 in the Snape dress model appears to have been cast solely for the part and #3 has the decency to look slightly embarrassed to be there at all.  Thanks to Liz Burns for the link.
  • Speaking of HP, we all knew that the covers of the Harry Potter books were being re-illustrated here in the States.  But how many of us knew that the Brits were planning on releasing full-color illustrated books with art by Jim Kay?  Does the name Jim Kay ring a bell for you, by the way?  You might be thinking of the art he did for A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness.  That was a far cry from that cutesy Harry picture included in the article.  Suddenly I can’t wait to see what the man can do with Dementors.  Thanks to Ben Collinsworth for the link.


  • Daily Image:

Doggone it.  Yet again I delayed posting my Fusenews a day and failed to mention Jarrett Krosoczka’s Joe and Shirl Scholarship Auction in time.  Sorry Jarrett!  Fortunately, the man is no stranger to auctions of every stripe.  This past Sunday there was a big fundraiser for First Book Manhattan at Symphony Space.  The actors involved were HUGE and Jarrett was the lucky guy who got to host (he even played Glowworm to Paul Giamatti’s Centipede).

As part of the fun, Jarrett created this cool art. The Dahl estate then signed off on it to be auctioned off to continue to benefit First Book.  Like what you see?  Then buy here!

 CharlieChocolate Fusenews: Nailed It!

JamesGiant Fusenews: Nailed It!

Witches Fusenews: Nailed It!

Bidding ends on Friday at 5 p.m.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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5 Comments on Fusenews: “The Axl Rose Hair Metal hair of picture book cover cupcakes”, last added: 12/22/2013
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15. Fusenews: Paddington V. Pooh (supporters could call themselves marmalites and hunnies)

You folks have been awfully good about my recent shoddy blogging, so I tip my hat in your general direction.  Jules of 7-Imp and I are putting the final touches on our book for Candlewick editing-wise and, as you might imagine, it eats up large swaths of time like an irate and hungry badger.  There is no situation in which a badger cannot be used as an example.  True fact.

In other news, there’s an author/illustrator out there that I happen to like very much.  His name is Aaron Zenz and over the years he has startled me time and again with the relative brilliance of his creativity.  If he wasn’t making multiple inspired pieces for the Re-Seussification Project then his kids were contributing to the stellar Boogie Woogie blog.  Well, Aaron and Co. are some of my favorite folks so when I saw the Friends of Zenz page asking to help ‘em out in the midst of some pretty upsetting surgery, you can bet I jumped on board.  If you’ve a minute, you can too.  They’re swell folks.

So I got to meet J.K. Rowling the other day.  Yup.  The woman who basically set me on the path of children’s librarianship in the first place via her books and I up and met her.  You see the good Dan Blank had tickets and one of those tickets happened to have my name on it.  So I got to see her speak with Ann Patchett about this adult novel of hers The Casual Vacancy (a title I’m certain she stole from the notes of Lemony Snicket) and then I stood in a long line and got my copy signed.  The conversation between us is as follows:

J.K. Rowling: Thanks for coming.

Betsy Bird:  Guh.

Many thanks to Dan for the opportunity.  He’s blogged about the experience here and just so you writer folks know, he’s doing another session of his author platform course starting Oct 31, with a free webinar. The course features Jane Friedman, Richard Nash, Colleen Lindsay, Kathleen Schmidt, Joanna Penn and Jeff Goins as guest speakers.  Info on the session is here and the webinar is here.

COMIC LEGEND: There was a Winnie the Pooh comic strip where the characters acted a lot more aggressively than most Winnie the Pooh fans are used to.


Thus we find the strangest and maybe most engaging link of the day.  Apparently there was a Winnie-the-Pooh syndicated comic strip out there for a while that contained the Disneyfied Pooh and friends.  And apparently it was written by some seriously odd souls.  How else to explain some of these downright weird inclusions?  Comic Book Legends Revealed explains more (you’ll have to scroll down a little but they’re worth finding).  This one’s my favorite:


And speaking of bears . . . how do you get kids interested in the political process?  Have ‘em vote for bears, of course!  The West Linn Public Library had an inspired idea.  They’re holding a bear election through election day on November 6 and, as they explained it to me:

“inviting kids (and adults) to vote for their favorite bear from children’s literature: Pooh, Paddington, Mama Berenstain, or Corduroy. We have also gotten staff involved by asking them to volunteer to be bear campaign managers. The response from staff and patrons has been tremendous! Our campaign managers have embraced their roles beyond my wildest dreams by designing posters, stickers, bookmarks, and games to support their bear.We are having so much fun that I thought I would share with other libraries. I have even created a campaign video for my candidate, Mama Bear—here is that link: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=vb.153513568034372&type=2“  Love it!  I suppose I’m a staunch Pooh supporter thanks to my job, but it’s tough.  Paddington comes in at a close second in my heart.

Okay, let’s do the Me Stuff all in one fell swoop today.  First off, I made a reading list for NYC’s New Victory Theater to accompany their upcoming shows.  Check it out here.  I never properly thanked Miss Kathleen at Mental Floss for including me in the 24 Library-Centric Sites We Love round-up, to say nothing of the compliments regarding my video with Travis Jonker. Thanks to Maureen Petry for the links!  I’m speaking at a Joan Aiken event tonight so enjoy this piece written by Lizza Aiken, Joan’s daughter, entitled Voices: The magical mysteries of children’s literature.  I was interviewed at the blog The Children’s Book Review as part of their ongoing librarian series.  And the Children’s Media Association blog gave me what could well be the most flattering spotlight I’ve received in my long internet life. Whew!

There was a Bibliography-Off between Judy Blume and one of my favorite comics Patton Oswalt not long ago.  As Jezebel described it, “The only thing that could really be better than this (for a Sunday, anyway) is if Calvin and Hobbes were real and they spoke at a TED Talk about the vividness of a small child’s imagination.” I just wish S.E. Hinton had heeded Patton’s call to give him a hand.  She’s on Twitter all the time, y’know.  Thanks to Marjorie Ingall for the link!

Maybe you can’t see Phil Nel speaking in my library tomorrow about Crockett Johnson.  If not, here’s the next best thing.

All right.  Enough with the books.  Let’s look at some up-to-date movie news directly from Cynopsis Kids.  First up:

Nickelodeon begins production this month on its new original comedy/caper TV movie, Swindle, which will star a bevy of the network’s stars including Jennette McCurdy (iCarly), Noah Crawford (How to Rock, You Gotta See This), Noah Munck (iCarly), Ariana Grande (Victorious), Chris O’Neal (How to Rock, You Gotta See This) and Ciara Bravo (Big Time Rush). Based on the popular kids book of the same name by Gordon Korman, the movie will be shot in Vancouver Canada. The movie is set to begin airing in 2014 on Nickelodeon’s 40+ international channels across Europe, Latin America, Asia and Australia. The story begins when an evil collector cons Griffin (Crawford) out of a million dollar baseball card that could have saved his best friend’s (O’Neal) home, he teams a ragtag group of his classmates (Grande, McCurdy, Munck and Bravo) to take down the swindler. Directed by Jonathan Judge (Big Time Rush, Fred 3), Swindle is written by Bill Motz (Brandy & Mr. Whiskers) & Bob Roth (Lion King 2), Eric Freiser (Road to Ruin) and Adam Rifkin (Small Soliders, Mousehunt). Marjorie Cohn (Big Time Movie, Rags), Lauren Levine (Bridge to Terabithia, Best Player), Loris Lunsford, Karen Glass and Paul Barry serve as executive producers. Scott McAboy’s Pacific Bay Entertainment is producing.”

Second up:

“Toronto-based Radical Sheep Productions (Stella and Sam, Yub Yubs, The Big Comfy Couch) acquires the rights to the graphic novel series Fangbone! Third-Grade Barbarian, by author/illustrator Michael Rex (Goodnight Goon, The Runaway Mummy). Under the deal Radical Sheep will develop a K6-11 aimed animated series based on Fangbone! The story revolves around Fangbone, a nine-year-old barbarian warrior from Skullbania who winds up in third grade at Eastwood Elementary in order to save his native land from the evildoer Venomous Drool. With the help of his new pal Bill, a lovable, average, goofy kid, Fangbone outwits his enemies while discovering the modern world.”

Sometimes the title sells it alone: Children’s Author Illustrator Elisha Cooper Gives Lecture on “Inappropriate” Children’s Books.

New Blog Alert: The election’s coming up and everyone’s getting ready.  With that in mind, did you know that there’s a blog out there solely dedicated to talking about political children’s books?  Kid Lit About Politics it’s called.  One for the radar.

New Blog Alert II: For that matter did you know there was a mother-son blog out there (adult mother and son!) called crossreferencing: a hereditary blog?  Yep.  There you can find Sarah and Mark Flowers as they, “discuss YA Literature and Librarianship from our dual perspectives.”  It’s pretty cool.

New Blog Alert III: Tis the season.  This third new blog is actual that of The Junior Library Guild called Shelf Life.  It’s currently doing a wonderful job of discussing current issues and hot books.  Of particular note is the post Save [Books of Wonder] and Save Your Soul.  Couldn’t have put it better myself.

Have you ever watched the movie Matilda and thought to yourself, Whatever happened to child actress Mara Wilson?  Thank god for the internet, eh?  Thanks to Brita for the link.

On a serious note there is a lovely memory of Peter Sieruta up at the blog Archives and Special Collections.  It happens to include what may be the first picture of Peter to ever make it to the world wide web.  God, I miss that guy.

The Onion’s A.V. Club has been a bit lazy in their looks at children’s and YA literature but this recent post on 2012 graphic novels is well worth reading. Many thanks to Eric Carpenter for the link!

Daily Image:

Just knowing that Gabi Swiatkowska has a blog where she displays art like the pieces below is enough to make my life complete.

Thanks to Jane Curley for the link.

5 Comments on Fusenews: Paddington V. Pooh (supporters could call themselves marmalites and hunnies), last added: 10/27/2012
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16. Fusenews: Post-Sandy Edition

As I write this I don’t know what the election results are and I shall refuse to think about them all the livelong day.  Lalalalalala!  No images today, by the way.  I apparently hit my limit and need to beg SLJ for a little more space.  I’m good for it!  Honest!

  • So there’s lots of post-Sandy news and ways that you can help the libraries that got hit hard in the gut this past week.  First let’s start with something (relatively) cheery.  PW did a great series of interviews with folks in the publishing industry hit by Sandy.  There you can read how Lois Lowry and Laura Vaccaro Seeger dodged death (fairly literally) and why folks like Eric Berlin and Rebecca Stead are being namechecked in Hoboken.  They also did a piece on how folks like Kate Messner (with Kid Lit Cares) and Urban Librarians Unite have been coming together to collect books and money for hard hit systems.  Author/illustrator Peter Brown alerted me to this fantastic and continually updated list of what the various shelters and organizations in the community need desperately at this time.  Meanwhile I wanted to help out Hoboken in some way but it’s still too soon to find out how.  In the meantime, there’s a good site dedicated to Rebuilding New Jersey’s Libraries for those of you who want to help.
  • There are some interesting posts ah-brewing over at the Forum of the American Journal of Education.  Steven Herb, a fellow who has served on more than a few committees during his time looks at Caldecott Awards and Honors past and present with some interesting insights. I never knew the beef folks had with Marcia Brown’s Shadow until now, but I definitely get the grumbles.  Then he goes on to answer all your questions about how the darn Caldecotts are given out anyway.  Thanks to Vic Sensenig for the links!
  • One request: When I die, could someone please write a catchy song using my name that sounds as fun as this one made for picture book author/illustrator Bill Peet by the kids at The Calhoun School?  It’s all I’ve ever wanted.  Honest.  Thanks to Karen Walsh for the link.
  • Suppose I should mention some of the serious news out there.  This broke just before the hurricane did but even strong winds couldn’t distract us from the fact that Penguin and Random House are set to become as one.  Naturally the response over the blogosphere is to come up with a name for this new company.  The Random Penguin House is the most repeated, so why don’t we just simplify things and just call it Odd Ice Floe instead?  Has a ring to it, it does.

You may have missed it, and you’d be forgiven if you had, but the New York Times Best Illustrated list of 2012 is out and boy is it a doozy!  The winners include:

  • Bear Despair written and illustrated by Gaëtan Dorémus (Enchanted Lion)
  • The Beetle Book written and illustrated by Steve Jenkins (Houghton)
  • House Held Up by Trees written by Ted Kooser; illustrated by Jon Klassen (Candlewick)
  • The Hueys in the New Sweater written and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers (Philomel)
  • Infinity and Me written by Kate Hosford; illustrated by Gabi Swiatkowska (Carolrhoda)
  • Little Bird written by Germano Zullo; illustrated by Albertine (Enchanted Lion)
  • One Times Square: A Century of Change at the Crossroads of the World written and illustrated by Joe McKendry (Godine)
  • Red Knit Cap Girl written and illustrated by Naoko Stoop (Tingley/Little)
  • Stephen and the Beetle written by Jorge Luján; illustrated by Chiara Carrer (Groundwood)
  • Unspoken: A Story from the Underground Railroad written and illustrated by Henry Cole (Scholastic)

I’ve read each and every last one of these and what strikes me is how international it is this year.  French, Irish, Japanese, Canadian, and more author/illustrators grace the list.  A special shout out to Claudia over at Enchanting Lion Books for getting two titles on there, but it’s just as nice to see little guys like Groundwood and Lerner having their day in the sun.  I haven’t reviewed a single one of these, but now I’m thinking maybe it would be a good idea.  Dunno.  They’re all rather . . . rather tasteful, wouldn’t you say?

  • Hey!  Travis Jonker over at 100 Scope Notes went and had a baby on us!  Well, congrats to you, Travis!  Little bugger is one good looking dude.  Woo-hoo!
  • You know how college kids are always creating elaborate, relatively clever pranks in their Senior years?  Well, when I attended Earlham College back in the day I walked into our cafeteria (called, like every other cafeteria in the nation, Saga) to find that someone had managed to paint a huge image on the ceiling .  We’re talking a good 40 feet off the ground, there were some beloved character’s from the school newspaper, Plato’s Republic, as penned by Alexis Fajardo.  They were reenacting Michelangelo’s God touching Adam’s finger moment.  It was beautiful.  Fast forward some 20 odd years later (doing the math . . . not quite right but close enough) and that same Alexis Fajardo has started a Kickstarter page for his graphic novel series Kid Beowulf.  Seems that his publisher up and died on him as he was producing the third volume, so he needs a bit of a kick.  Check out the site and see what you think.  I guarantee you won’t find another comic starring Beowulf and his twin brother Grendel having adventures.
  • Finally, the following notice was sent by author Kathi Appelt.  I met Laura myself, so I know how important this can be.  In lieu of a Daily Image today, please read the following:

Dear everyone–

I have a favor to ask.  A few years ago I met a remarkable young girl named Laura Rodgers. When she was in the second or third grade she made a decision to read all of the Newbery books, along with honor books.  When she was in the fifth grade, she started her own  mock Newbery blog:  http://lauramitolife.blogspot.com/

Now she’s in the seventh grade and she is really struggling.  Laura was born with mitochondrial disease and it appears to be taking a huge toll on her, effecting primarily her muscular functions.  It seems to be mimicking something like MS, and she is no longer able to walk or to use her hands for small motor things.  I’ve been in touch with her mom, Rylin, and it’s not looking good right now.

Since the one thing that Laura loves above all else is books, I asked her mom if she thought some autographed books would cheer her up, and her answer was unequivocal.  So, here I am, asking you all to consider sending Laura an autographed book or two with your John Henry’s.  I know it would mean the world to Laura.  Over the years, I’ve sent her as many picture books as novels, along with non-fiction and poetry.  She loves all of them.

If you’re like me, I’m always getting asked for free autographed books, and I give an awful lot of them away, mostly for auctions and prizes, and always for good causes.  But in this case, I know exactly who is receiving my books–someone who loves them, and needs them too.

If you have the inclination, please send copies to:

Laura Rodgers
4060 W 400 S
Lebanon IN 46052

And please also, send this message to any other author/illustrator pals you know. As I write this, it’s late and I know I’m missing people.  I think it would be great to bombard our young reader with a whole boatload of autographed books.  I’m not going to post this on facebook just because I don’t want it to get that out of control, but it would be great to send it to anyone you know personally, along with my gratitude.

Thanks so much,
Love, Kathi

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17. Fusenews: On Beyond Flummoxed

In a weird way, Twitter sort of made my Fusenews posts this side of obsolete.  If you want cool things to see online it’s often just a case of knowing whom to follow.  And yet I love my little Fusenews.  Pressed as I am for time today, let’s pretend that these are little tweets:

Pinterest continues to remain a strange elusive creation that I have a hard time wrapping my head around.  Fortunately sometimes it will do something like post images from William Steig’s Agony in the Kindergarten (circa 195o) and all at once everything is clear. Thanks to Alex Penfold for the link.

And while you’re looking at vast numbers of images, why not look at this collection of international children’s art.  Purdy.  Thanks to Warren Truitt for the link.

Adrienne says, “I Can’t Imagine There Was Ever a Time in Which This Version of Little Red Riding Hood Wasn’t Creepy.” I don’t quite know what she means since I haven’t yet seen the . . . GAAAAAHHHHH!!!

  • I want a new Leslie Connor middle grade novel for kids and I want it now now now now now. (This is called “baiting the universe” and should only be attempted under the strictest of circumstances.)
  • Was anyone else aware that Thomas Locker died this year, or just BookMoot?  First I’ve heard of it.  Shoot.
  • As per usual, the best round-up of the year is happening at Chicken Spaghetti.  If you want to see every last Best Of list printed for 2012 books, seek ye no further.
  • Speaking of Best Of lists, I am not usually flummoxed by the books folks pick.  I like to think that on the children’s side I see almost everything.  So imagine my flummoxing when I check out the 100 Scope Notes Top 20 Children’s Books of 2012 and find that #20 is a book I have NEVER heard of before!?!  I am tongue-tied, stopped, and otherwise befuddled.  You win this round, Jonker, but I shall have my revenge!!
  • The Bookbug children’s bookstore in Kalamazoo, Michigan does many things right.  But most recently they managed to make this remarkable little fellow:

Don’t try to buy him for your holiday shopping, though.  Apparently to make it you need to get “many different packages of legos from several different vendors.”  Worth it.

  • You know how weird it was when they redid Spiderman with an all-new cast?  Yup.  Well, hold onto your hats, folks.  A children’s book is getting yet another reworking as well. From Cynopsis Kids:

Columbia looks to Zach Helm (Stranger Than Fiction, Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium, which he also directed, and the upcoming The Secret Life of Walter Mitty) to write a new big screen adaptation of Jumanji, based on Chris van Allsburg’s 1981 book of the same name, per THRMatt Tolmach (The Amazing Spider-Man) will produce the new Jumanji movie. Joe Johnston directed the 1995 feature film incarnation of Jumanji, which starred Robin Williams and Kirsten Dunst.

  • Daily Image:

There is a giant swing installation somewhere in New York City right now.  You walk in, you sit, and you swing.

I may have missed the Columbus Circle installation but by gum I am finding this one!  Thanks to Crooked House for the heads up.

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18. Fusenews: Aw, pfui

PeterBrownCaldecott 300x200 Fusenews: Aw, pfuiIt is WAY too late in the day for me to be only starting a Fusenews post now.  All right, guys. Looks like we’re gonna have to do today double quick time.  Sorry, but I’ve a ticking time bomb in the other room (sometimes also known as “my daughter”) and I gotsta gets to bed before midnight.  Here we go!

  • February means only one thing.  The Brown Bookshelf has resumed their 28 Days Later campaign.  So stop complaining about the fact that black writers and illustrators aren’t better acknowledged and actually read all about them!  This is your required reading of the month.  And no, I’m not joking.
  • Some sad Obit news.  Diane Wolkstein, storyteller and picture book/folktale author passed away after heart surgery in Taiwan.
  • Happier news.  My mom, the published poet, gets interviewed by Foreword Magazine.  Note the copious Little Women references.
  • The happiest news of all.  This will, if you are anything like me, make your day.  Delightful doesn’t even begin to describe it.  Thanks to Robin Springberg Parry for the link.
  • Were you aware that there was an offensive Flat Stanley book out there?  Nor I.  And yet . . .
  • Hat tip to the ShelfTalker folks for actually putting together the top starred books of 2012.  Mind you, only YA titles can get seven stars because (I think) they include VOYA.  Ah well.
  • My new favorite thing?  Jon Klassen fan art.  Like this one from Nancy Vo.  Cute.
  • Meet Eerdmans, my new best friend.  Look what they put on their books for the last ALA Midwinter.

FuseStar Fusenews: Aw, pfui

Thanks to Travis Jonker for the heads up!

  • Hey!  Public school librarians and public library librarians!  Want money?  The Ezra Jack Keats Foundation is giving away grants.  Free money!  Take it, people, take it!
  • The Battle of the (Kids’) Book Contenders are announced and nigh.  I’m a little bit late with that info.  Ah well.
  • One of my children’s librarians has been getting twenty different kinds of attention because she circulated an American Girl doll.  Now try and picture how many donations she now has to deal with.  Yup.
  • An interesting use of the term “whittle”.  As in, “I think I’m going to whittle off all the toes on my feet”.  Except more drastic, less cosmetic.
  • Travis Jonker and the very fun idea to create a Children’s Literature casting call.  I’d counter that Josh Radnor is more Jarrett Krosoczka (though I may be just a bit confused since Jarrett was actually in the background of an episode of How I Met Your Mother in the past), Lisa Loeb is more Erin E. Stead, Neal Patrick Harris as either Mac Barnett or Adam Gidwitz, Stanley Tucci as Arthur A. Levine, and maybe Jeffrey Wright as Kadir Nelson, except that Kadir is better looking.  Hm.  This will bear additional thought.
  • Daily Image:

Fair play to The College of Creative Design. I do like this new ad campaign of theirs.

ArtAds 500x323 Fusenews: Aw, pfui

ArtAds2 500x323 Fusenews: Aw, pfui

ArtAds3 500x323 Fusenews: Aw, pfui

Thanks to The Infomancer for the link.

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19. Fusenews: Though wouldn’t you rather read “Bertie & Psmith”?

NewRamona 200x300 Fusenews: Though wouldnt you rather read Bertie & Psmith?Before we begin I would like to have a few words with the publishers on behalf of catalogers nationwide.


Hi, guys.  How’s it going?  Heckuva weird weather we’ve had lately, right?  Yeah . . . so . . . here’s the thing.  You know how you’ve been rereleasing a couple classic children’s books recently like Slake’s Limbo and all the Ramona Quimby books?  That is just awesome of you.  Seriously, new covers were desperately needed.  But, you’re kind of doing this weird thing that’s messing everything up.  See, for some reason you’re changing the covers but you’re keeping the old ISBNs.  And we wouldn’t really mind if it was just the jackets you were changing, but in the case of the Ramona books you have new interior illustrations.  This is a HUGE disservice, not only to libraries, but to your new illustrator, Ms. Jacqueline Rogers.  If you keep the same ISBN then in records across the country previous illustrators will be listed in the system.  Not Ms. Rogers.  So, I know we’re supposedly going to go through some crazy crisis where we run out of all the ISBNs, but do a gal a favor and change the ISBNs on rereleases if you have new interior art (or, also in the case of Ramona, new pagination).  It just makes good clean sense.

Okay!  Moving on.

  • If I say that Travis Jonker fellow at 100 Scope Notes is a nice guy I’m not exactly telling you anything you don’t already know.  But how nice is he?  Well, in his awesome 10 to Note: Spring Preview 2013 do you know what book he led with?  MINE!! I’m thrilled and flabbergasted all at once.  Ye gods!  I hit the big time, folks!  Now I just need to get my hands on that cool looking Lauren Myracle early chapter book and that new Charise Mericle Harper graphic novel.  Woot!
  • You know you’re cool when the National Coalition Against Censorship collects cool birthday wishes for you.  You’re even cooler if those birthday wishes come from folks like Jon Scieszka, Lois Lowry, and the aforementioned Lauren Myracle.  And if you happen to be Judy Blume?  Icing on the cake, baby.
  • On the one hand, it’s awfully interesting to hear folks speculating on what really made Mary Ingalls blind.  On the other hand  . . . . NBC News linked to me, linked to me, linked to me me me!
  • In case you happened to missed it, I hosted a helluva Literary Salon the other day.  Yup.  Jeanne Birdsall, Adam Gidwitz, N.D. Wilson, and Rebecca Stead all gave up their precious time to stop by old NYPL for a Children’s Literary Salon where they debated why pop culture at large tries to label middle grade fiction as YA.  The whole conversation was, for the very first time, recorded for posterity.  That’s the good news.  The bad news is that the audio feed is lousy.  Not sure what I did but it’s a bit mucked up.  Clear enough that you could make a transcript from it (casts meaningful looks into the nethersphere) but not so clear that you could actually enjoy listening to it.  A little later in the podcast some folks stop speaking into mics.  That actually helps.  Rear in Gear reports on how it went from  the frontlines.  By the way, the title “Why YA” is a good one.  I might shorten it to Y.YA, then proclaim that to be the newest bestest trend without explanation.  Cause that’s how I roll.
  • Speaking of my Children’s Literary Salons, I’ve one in early March on the topic of Diversity and the State of the Children’s Book that will prove to be most fascinating (and better recorded, I hope).  Much along the same lines is a truly fascinating post over at Ms. Yingling Reads.  The post concerns those book jackets that do not reflect the ethnicity of the characters within, but brings up a very interesting p.o.v. from that of the smaller publisher reliant on stock images.  This post is your required reading of the day.  Many many thanks to Carl in Charlotte for the heads up.
  • The post on 10 Fictional Libraries I’d Love to Visit is a lot of fun, but I would add the library featured in Neil Gaiman’s Sandman books most certainly.  That would be the library that contains every book conceived of but never published by the world’s greatest writers.  The in-jokes alone are worth it.  Who doesn’t love Psmith and Jeeves?

SandmanLibrary Fusenews: Though wouldnt you rather read Bertie & Psmith?

Thanks to AL Direct for the link.

  • Nerd that I am, I cannot help but be thrilled that the Bologna Book Fair has just established a new prize for the Best Children’s Publisher of the Year.  What a fantastic idea, and why has no one else come up with it before?  Now THAT is something I can get behind.  Boy, yeah.
  • Flavorwire’s Conspiracy Theories About Classic Literary Characters doesn’t tell you a lot you haven’t already heard about your classic books (Nick Carraway = gay, Holden Caulfield = gay, yadda yadda yadda) but there are some fun exceptions on the children’s literature side.  I think I’ve heard the Winnie-the-Pooh theory before, and I certainly heard the Harry Potter one (Rowling herself even addressed it) but the Wizard of Oz one is actually entirely a new one on me.  Huh! Thanks to Annie Cardi for the link.
  • I like it when authors reveal the covers of their upcoming books.  I especially like it when those authors are folks I’ve heard of before and have enjoyed thoroughly.  I met Matthew Kirby (The Clockwork Three, Icefall) at a SCBWI event recently and now I find out that he has revealed his latest title The Lost Kingdom.  Yep.  I’ll be reading that one.
  • The other day I spoke on a panel for some young publishers about the library’s role in the pursuit of Common Core.  I was on that panel with Scottie Bowditch of Penguin and John Mason of Scholastic.  After the fact I learned that Scholastic has been working to get their hands on all this Common Core schtuf by creating the site Common Sense for the Common Core.  It was created to help parents through this tricky time, but no doubt we librarians would benefit a tad as well.  FYI!
  • You may have heard that tornadoes recently ripped through Mississippi on Sunday causing untold devastation in their wake.  They hit in a number of places, including Hattiesburg, Mississippi.  Why do I mention this?  Well, are you aware what resides in Hattiesburg?  That would be the University of Southern Mississippi.  And what is the University of Southern Mississippi home to?  If you answered that it was the de Grummond Collection “one of North America’s leading research centers in the field of children’s literature” you would also be correct.  So did the collection survive the storms?  We are happy to report that they did.  And on the de Grummond’s Twitter feed they assured everyone that they were safe and sound.  Whew!
  • Look me in the eye.  Right here!  Right in my beady little eye and tell me that this is not the smartest use of The Pigeon you’ve seen in a long long time.  The crazy thing?  I thought they melded together a bunch of different Pigeon books.  Not true!  Instead, all these panels come from The Pigeon Wants a Puppy.

PigeonHamlet Fusenews: Though wouldnt you rather read Bertie & Psmith?

  • Remember when NPR started that program they called NPR’s Backseat Book Club?  They said they would pick a new book for kids every month and discuss them.  Well, the whole “every month” part of that plan has been spotty and the selections have been even spottier.  Seems to me NPR isn’t taking full advantage of the field.  I mean, Black Beauty and Wimpy Kid?  Is that the best you can do?  Fortunately it looks like they’ll crank things up a notch when they discuss Gary Schmidt’s Okay for Now.  In fact, kids are encouraged to submit some questions to the author ahead of time.  Got yourself some kids?  Then go to it!
  • Speaking of kids submitting stuff, you may have heard that YA author Ned Vizzini is getting into the middle grade fiction arena.  He isn’t doing it alone, though.  Director Chris Columbus is penning House of Secrets with him.  Aside from the fact that the book has an honest-to-god blurb from J.K. Rowling on it (no blurb whore she) kids can get a copy by tweeting Ned their “secrets”.  You can see some examples here.  Love the kid who used to eat chocolate dog biscuits. That one I believe.
  • Would you like $1000?  Sure.  We all would.  But to be a bit more specific, would you like $1000 for your program that uses, “children’s literature as a way to promote international understanding”?  Well then are you in luck!  USBBY would sure like to give you some cash.  Say they, “Schools, libraries, scout troops, clubs and bookstores are all eligible for this award. Does your school or library program or do you know of another organization that “promotes reading as a way to expand a child’s world”? To learn more about the award, view information about past winners and award criteria and access the downloadable application form, please link to: http://www.usbby.org/list_b2u.html
  • Done and done.I wasn’t particularly aggrieved by the Anne of Green Gables brou-de-haha going on about that random cover someone created.  In fact, a commenter at ShelfTalker with my name (not me, alas) basically summarized my thoughts on the matter brilliantly when she said, “Folks, you are getting all upset because you MISUNDERSTAND the situation. This is NOT a ‘PUBLISHER’ with a marketing dept. This is a public domain book that some RANDOM PERSON is selling. You could do the same thing. PUBLIC DOMAIN – it means anyone can do anything with it. Here is a list of public domain books: http://www.feedbooks.com/publicdomain. If you want, you yourself could publish, say, Les Miserables by Victor Hugo with a photo on the cover of Governor Chris Christie eating a donut. (If you had the rights to the donut picture of course.)”  Which was all well and good . . . but I truly have to tip my hat to Donytop5 who simply replied, “Here Betsy, I found it! http://wolverinesss.tumblr.com/image/42556986881“  That made my day, right there.
  • Apparently there’s a competitor to Goodreads out there and it’s calling itself Bookish.  It’s not really the same thing as Goodreads, mind you, since it’s publisher driven through and through.  Says Media Decoder, “Instead of relying essentially on the taste of other customers with similar preferences, as most recommendation engines do, Bookish’s tool takes into account critical reviews and awards.”  Curious, I decided to see what they had in the realm of children’s literature.  It’s interesting.  Not a ton of content yet, but their recommendations aren’t shabby.  Worth eyeing warily for a while.
  • Daily Image:

Someday I will be very rich and I will create a children’s library of my very own.  When I do, I will allow one or two walls to be like this:

WallArt1 Fusenews: Though wouldnt you rather read Bertie & Psmith?

Fortunately if that looks cool to you, you don’t have to wait.  Just head on over to the Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art and have your fun.  Thanks to Swiss Miss for the link!

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20. Fusenews

Tra la!  It’s May!  The lusty month of May!  The time that  . . . . what?

It’s March?

Seriously?  Forget it then.  I’m going back in my hidey-hole.  Call me when it’s May.  But before I go, here’s a swath of delicious Fusenews.  Good for what ails ye.

GeneDeitch 300x210 Fusenews

First off, a gem.  I got the following email from buddy and Top 100 Polls guru Eric Carpenter: “So this weekend while working on a project on Weston Woods for one of my school library media courses (yes, I’m getting a library degree!!!) I came across Gene Deitch’s blog/website. http://genedeitchcredits.com.  Not sure if you’d seen this but if not take a look, just understand it might be a long, long look.”

Eric couldn’t have been more right.  Gene’s a fascinating fellow and he’s quick to recount his Weston Woods days working with Maurice Sendak, with Morton Schindel, with Jules Feiffer, or with E.B. White!  And that’s not even counting all the good stuff you’ll find if you go here.   Eric, buddy, I owe you yet again.

  • So I told myself that I wouldn’t read any reviews of my own book Giant Dance Party (due out 4/23).  I figured that was a pretty safe promise to keep.  I mean, I review books myself.  Why invite trouble by reading other folks?  And that noble intention lasted me all of *checks watch* 45 seconds before I caved.  Not much is out yet, but I can say with certainty that 8-year-old Jacob at City Book Review liked the book.  He is a man of fine and discriminating taste.  Well played, young Jacob.
  • In other Me Stuff, this past Saturday I hosted a Children’s Literary Salon in the main branch of NYPL.  The topic was Diversity and the State of the Children’s Book and featured panelists Zetta Elliott, Connie Hsu, and Sofia Quintero.  It was also, to put it precisely, a hit.  We’ll have the audio up soon, I hope, but in the meantime Lucine Kasbarian has reported over at We Love Children’s Books.  Thanks, Lucine!
  • One of the many advantages of joining The Niblings (four numerical children’s literary blogs joined in bringing you only the best in children’s literary news and entertainment) is that I now have a way of actually keeping up with my fellow bloggers.  Trust me when I say that I’m ashamed of how rarely I read the best folks out there.  But now, thanks to the handy dandy Facebok page, I got to see the 100 Scope Notes Newbery Medal Infographic. I dare say I’m a better person for it too.
  • To be frank, I probably would have also have missed the recent 2013 Ezra Jack Keats Award winners too!  Back in the day these awards were given in New York Public Library.  Now they’ve moved to south where the de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection at The University of Southern Mississippi makes the announcements.  And the winners?

Keats 300x106 FusenewsThe 2013 Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award Winner Is:

Julie Fogliano for And Then It’s Spring

And Then It’s Spring is illustrated by Erin E. Stead.

The 2013 Ezra Jack Keats New Illustrator Award Winner Is:

Hyewon Yum for Mom, It’s My First Day of Kindergarten!

VERY excellent choices.

  • And the Acme Powder Company strikes again.  This may be your favorite link of the day, I’ll wager.  Recently Robin Rosenthal of Pen & Oink took a trip to what may well be the world’s most adorable shared studio of children’s book illustrators.  Good looking too, if we’re going to be honest about it.  Hear them in their own words and get a glimpse into what an artist’s studio space ACTUALLY looks like.  Hint: Lots o’ creepy Victorian photographs.  Once you’ve finished with that you can then head on over to Sergio Ruzzier’s new and updated website.
  • Aw, what the heck.  You know I don’t usually like to do anything with YA stuff, but a friend of mine asked me to mention this and I don’t see the harm.  There’s a rather sweet little Delirium Fandom offer going on right now.  Prove you’ve pre-ordered Lauren Oliver’s Requiem and you can get a nifty little signed bookplate.  Aww.
  • Did you know that there was a conference out there dedicated SOLELY to children’s nonfiction?  Learn something new every day, eh?  Here’s the deets:

It’s a time of re-invention, re-education, and revolution in children’s publishing.  There are important developments that teachers, students, writers, and illustrators want to know about. A faculty of publishers, authors, illustrators, digital designers, and educators will inform and inspire at the 21st Century Children’s Nonfiction Conference at the State University of New York at New Paltz on June 14-16.

Topics will range from “Nonfiction and the Common Core Standards” to “Creating E-books and Apps.” The weekend will offer intensives, workshops, one-to one consultations and critiques, an illustrators’ showcase, book fair, meals, and a reception at SUNY’s beautiful Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art. Full details are at www.childrensNFconference.com.

Daily Image:

And last but not least, utterly ridiculous bookshelf wallpaper!

bookshelfwallpaper Fusenews

Thanks to BB-Blog for the link.

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21. Fusenews: Warning – May contain fancy dancy footwear

Morning, folks.  Bird here.  Seems this book I’ve written with fellow bloggers Peter Sieruta of Collecting Children’s Books and Jules Danielson of Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast is in the last stages of completion.  Fun With Copyedits is the name of the game this week, which means that my blogging may suffer a tad here and there.  Mea culpa.  I give you a bright and shiny blog posts to make it up to you.  Eat it in good health.

  • First off, April’s only here and that can only mean one thing.  There’s a call for new spine poetry.  Do you have what it takes to stack books in a coherent and literary manner?  Well, do you?  Punk?
  • AmorousLeopard Fusenews: Warning   May contain fancy dancy footwearI love Cracked online but honestly sometimes their headlines tip a little too far into the realm of the hyperbole.  Consider the following: 5 literary classics that put x-rated movies to shame.  It’s actually not inaccurate to say that of numbers one through three, but by the time you get to number five (Where’s Waldo) it’s stretching it a tad.  Then again, the naked clown on the pogo stick isn’t exactly normal . . .
  • In case you missed it, Marjorie Ingall alerted me to the children’s literature reference name dropped by Bob Balaban on a recent episode of Girls.  Sorry I missed this one.  I’ve been too busy catching up on episodes of Once Upon a Time which is admittedly corny, but weirdly similar to LOST before the show went haywire.  Hence the fix.
  • And what will YOU be doing on April 2nd of this year?  Celebrating International Children’s Book Day, I certainly hope.  Seriously, are you going to let this Ashley Bryan poster go to waste?  For shame!

AshleyBryanPoster Fusenews: Warning   May contain fancy dancy footwear


  • Speaking of worldwide travels, care to attend an Irish children’s literary conference?  Would I kid?  Observe:

“We are delighted to announce that the CBI 2013 Conference Rebels and Rulebreakers is now open for booking! We’re really looking forward to a weekend with some of the most exciting names in writing, illustration, publishing and criticism in the fabulous surroundings of Lighthouse cinema on May 18th and 19th. Click here for the booking form or call CBI on 01 8727475 to secure your place. Remember the conference is open to everyone with an interest in children’s books so tell your friends! We’ve started counting down to the conference weekend with blog features on Sarah ArdizzoneSarah Crossan and Colmán Ó Raghallaigh.”

  • Though she was by no means the first children’s librarian in the country, NYPL’s own Anne Carroll Moore was a force to be reckoned with, back in the day.  Now there’s a picture book bio of her coming out called Miss Moore Thought Otherwise by Jan Pinborough.  A Women’s History Month series celebrates the book and Ms. Pinborough discusses why she wrote it in the first place.  Thanks to Lisa Taylor for the link.

OwlMoon 296x300 Fusenews: Warning   May contain fancy dancy footwearAs my recent review of the Matilda musical will attest, I’m a sucker for stage adaptations of children’s books.  So how completely and utterly delightful does this version of Owl Moon look to you?  Picture book adaptations are always difficult, whether it’s to the stage or the screen.  Dance is honestly the only way to go sometimes. Consider this post your required reading of the day.

Hey!  In all the flutter and kerfuffle surrounding the ALA Youth Media Awards it’s mighty easy to forget about the 2013 Notable Children’s Books list that was announced at the end of February.  Nice to see my beloved Zombie Makers getting some love.

Daily Image:

Oh good.  Something new to desire.  I was running low.  It seems that a certain Charlotte Olympia has taken it upon herself to create a fairytale line of shoes.

FairyTaleShoe1 Fusenews: Warning   May contain fancy dancy footwear

FairyTaleShoe2 Fusenews: Warning   May contain fancy dancy footwear

FairyTaleShoe3 Fusenews: Warning   May contain fancy dancy footwear

If you happen to purchase that $985 froggy pump for me, I honestly won’t be embarrassed by the largess of your generosity.  Scout’s honor.  You know where to reach me.  Many many thanks to Marjorie Ingall for the link.

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6 Comments on Fusenews: Warning – May contain fancy dancy footwear, last added: 4/7/2013
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22. Fusenews: This is what a librarian looks like

NYPLalternative 300x225 Fusenews: This is what a librarian looks likeOh me, oh my, where does the time go?  Here we are, it’s Monday yet again, and I’m running about like a chicken with my head cut off.  This Friday I head off to Barcelona for a full week (weep for me), then back I come to promote my picture book (Giant Dance Party, or haven’t I mentioned it before?), but not before I’ve finished the promotional videos and my very first website.  *pant pant pant*

With that in mind, let’s get through these mighty quick.  Not that they don’t all deserve time and attention.  And tender loving care.  Mwah!  Big kisses all around!  And yes, I did consider doing an April Fool’s post today but thought better of it.  If you’d like to see some of the greatest April Fool’s posts of the children’s literary world, however, please be so good as to head over to Collecting Children’s Books and read the ones that Peter Sieruta came up with. There was 2012′s post (“Selznick syndrome” is just shy of brilliant),  2011′s Charlie Sheen Lands Children’s Book Deal (still feels real), 2009′s Graveyard Book to Be Stripped of Newbery, and his 2008 Ramona piece de resistance.  This is the first year he won’t have one up.  Miss you, Peter.

  • So I had a crazy idea for a Children’s Literary Salon panel at NYPL.  Heck, I didn’t even know if anyone would show up, but I invited four different children’s librarians from four very different alternative children’s libraries.  Don’t know what an alternative children’s library is?  Then read this SLJ write-up NYPL Panelists Explore Alternatives to Traditional Librarianship.  The happy ending is that lots of people attended and the conversation was scintillating.  And timely.  A nice combination.
  • Another good combination?  Me and my husband.  And it seems the resident husband recently wrote a blog piece that could be of use to you writer types out there.  How To Write Every Day, Conclusion: Is Your Goal to Keep Writing or Stop Writing? should give you enough fodder to chew on for the next year or so.  Then I’ll tell you about another one of his posts.  Trust me when I say they’re all this good.
  • Did your stomach lurch a little when you found out that Amazon bought Goodreads?  Well, how much should you care?  Dan Blank has some answers.  In Short: Don’t you worry ’bout nothing (he says it nicer than that).
  • A contact recently mentioned that they would like to give a little attention to the children’s book art auction at Book Expo, a yearly event that actually isn’t particularly well known.  Said they (take note!):

The American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression is an organization that fights book censorship. We mostly work with booksellers, however, in Our Kids Right To Read Project, we advocate for kids when people try to ban books in libraries or classrooms.  Our position is that parents have the right to decide what their own children read but they do not have the right to decide for others.  Proceeds from the auction will go to our programming. Our website is www.abffe.org and for the auction we have set up a separate page where people can buy tickets and artists can donate art. It is: http://abffesilentauction.wordpress.com/.

  • More me stuff.  Over at Tor.com I answer the great ponderable facing the world of children’s literature today: Why are dinosaurs so darn popular?  The answer may surprise you.  Okay . . . that’s a lie.  You know why.  But at the very least I’m able to draw some conclusions you may not have necessarily come up with before.  It all comes down to Freud, baby.
  • I’ve a friend who passes along Common Core oddities she picks up on in the news.  This week it was a tough call.  Which was better?  The article that said, “Alabama cannot retain its education sovereignty under Common Core” or Glenn Beck’s even nuttier-than-usual screed against CCS saying that they’ll result in 1984-type changes to the educational system?  Honestly, do we even have to choose?

Saenz Fusenews: This is what a librarian looks likeOn the flipside, how cool is this?  The Eric Carle Museum has a simply lovely exhibit up right now called Latino Folk Tales: Cuentos Populares-Art by Latino Artists.  As if you needed an excuse to visit. But just in case you did . . .

I haven’t gotten much from Cynopsis Kids lately for the old blog, but there was this little tidbit I almost missed the other day: “Montreal-based Sardine Productions will develop a children’s television show based on The Mammoth Academy, a book series by British author and illustrator Neal Layton, with TVOKids, a division of Ontario’s public educational media organization TVO.”

Meanwhile, from PW Children’s Bookshelf, this little nugget of very cool news: “Anne Hoppe at Clarion Books has acquired North American rights to a nonfiction picture book by Katherine Applegate about Ivan the gorilla, the subject of her Newbery Medal-winning The One and Only Ivan. Elena Mechlin at Pippin Properties represented Applegate. In a separate deal, Mechlin sold North American rights to two middle-grade novels by Applegate, to Jean Feiwel and Liz Szabla at Feiwel and Friends.”  Well that’s 12 kinds of brilliant.  And how clever of Hoppe to get Applegate for Clarion.  She’ll do well there.  Nonfiction always does.

I don’t know about you but I was thrilled to see The New York Times write a piece on Rachel Renee Russell.  When we talk about bestselling children’s books it seems odd to me that no one ever points out that the top series in children’s literature (rather than YA) right now that is written by a woman is also written by an African-American woman.  Now I just want to know who the famous author was that discouraged her from writing when she was in college!

Daily Image:

Flavorwire always has such good ideas.  Example: 20 Bookish Murals From Around the World.  A taste:

Mural1 Fusenews: This is what a librarian looks like


Mural2 Fusenews: This is what a librarian looks like

Thanks to AL Direct for the link.

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23. Fusenews: Mysterious Edges, Heroic Worlds

Well sir, it’s a heckuva week.  Book stuff is happening out the wazoo, but for a moment I’d like to concentrate on what else is going on in the wider children’s literary world.  What say we Fusenews it up a bit, eh?

  • Konigsburg Fusenews: Mysterious Edges, Heroic WorldsOf course there’s no way to begin today without a hat tip to the late, great E.L. Konigsburg.  The only person, I believe, to win both a Newbery Award and a Newbery Honor in their debut year.  Top THAT one, folks!  The New York Times pays tribute to one of our luminaries.  We had managed to do pretty well in 2013 without losing one of our lights.  Couldn’t last forever.  Godspeed, Elaine.
  • Speaking of deaths, I missed mentioning my sadness upon hearing of Roger Ebert’s passing. Jezebel put out a rather nice compilation of Roger Ebert’s Twenty Best Reviews.  I wonder if folks ever do that for children’s book critics.  Hm.  In any case, amongst the reviews was this one for Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.  It’s rather brilliant.  See for yourself.

12. On the original Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory:

“Kids are not stupid. They are among the sharpest, cleverest, most eagle-eyed creatures on God’s Earth, and very little escapes their notice. You may not have observed that your neighbor is still using his snow tires in mid-July, but every four-year-old on the block has, and kids pay the same attention to detail when they go to the movies. They don’t miss a thing, and they have an instinctive contempt for shoddy and shabby work. I make this observation because nine out of ten children’s movies are stupid, witless, and display contempt for their audiences, and that’s why kids hate them….All of this is preface to a simple statement: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is probably the best film of its sort since The Wizard of Oz. It is everything that family movies usually claim to be, but aren’t: Delightful, funny, scary, exciting, and, most of all, a genuine work of imagination. Willy Wonka is such a surely and wonderfully spun fantasy that it works on all kinds of minds, and it is fascinating because, like all classic fantasy, it is fascinated with itself.” [January 1971]
  • New Blog Alert: Now I would like to brag about my system’s children’s librarians.  They are uniquely talented individuals.  Smart as all get out.  One that I’ve always been particularly impressed with is Stephanie Whelan, a woman I trust more than anyone else when it comes to finding the best in children’s (not YA) science fiction and fantasy fare.  Now Stephanie has conjured up one doozy of a blog on that very topic.  It’s called Views From the Tesseract (nice, right?) and it looks at a lot of science fiction and fantasy specifically with side views of topics in the field.  You’ll find posts with subjects like A Matter of Taste: Preferring One Genre Over Another, Five Fantasy Pet Peeves, and the fascinating delve into the world of Tom Swift in The Swift Proposal.  Stephanie also has access to galleys so be sure to check out her early reviews for books like William Alexander’s Ghoulish Song and Sidekicked by John David Anderson (which I’m reading right now on her recommendation).
  • Turns out that the Mental Floss piece 11 Book Sequels You Probably Didn’t Know Existed spends an inordinate amount of time looking at children’s books.  Check it out for mentions of the 101 Dalmatians sequel (missed that one), the E.T. sequel The Book of the Green Planet (which, if memory serves, was illustrated long ago by David Wiesner and is the only book he no longer owns the art of), and more.
  • Nice blogger mentions this week.  Thanks to Sara O’Leary for mentioning my new website and to Jen Robinson’s for the nice review of Giant Dance Party.  I appreciate it, guys!  Plus Jen is the first review I’ve read that draws a connection between my book and the Hunger Games series.  Few can say so much.

akissi cover Fusenews: Mysterious Edges, Heroic WorldsSpeaking of reviews, I owe Travis Jonker a debt of gratitude for reviewing Marguerite Abouet’s Akissi.  I read that book in the original French a year or two ago and was completely uncertain if it would ever see the light of day here in the States due to a final story that, quite frankly, DEFIES anything I’ve seen in children’s literature before.  The kind of thing that makes Captain Underpants look tame.  You have been warned.  Great book, by the way.  Let’s not lose sight of that.

  • Not too long ago I spoke to a group of 6th graders at Bank Street College’s school about contemporary book jackets and how they’re marketed to kids.  Only a portion of my talk was dedicated to race or gender.  Fortunately, the kids have been thinking long and hard about it.  Allie Bruce has posted twice about a covers project the kids have participated in.  Be sure to check out race and then gender when you have a chance.  Food for thought.
  • What do Pinkalicious, A Ball for Daisy, and Square Cat all have in common?  Read ‘em to your kids and you’ll be teaching them that consumerism is king.  So sayeth a 196-page thesis called “Cultivating Little Consumers: How Picture Books Influence Materialism in Children”, as reported by The Guardian.  And they might have gotten away with the premise to if they just hadn’t brought up I Want My Hat Back.  Dude.  Back away from the Klassen.  Thanks to Zoe Toft (Playing By the Book) for the link.
  • Required Reading of the Day: There are few authorial blogs out there even half as interesting as Nathan Hale’s.  And when the guy gets a fact wrong in one of his books, he’ll do anything to set it right.  Even if it means going to Kansas.  Here’s how he put it:

We made a HUGE historical error, and we are going to fix it! We are going to learn why Kansas wasn’t a Confederate state–why it was a “Free State,” and how it happened. We are also going to visit Kansas on an official apology and correction trip. When we are finished, all Hazardous Tales readers will know how to correct their own copy of Big Bad Ironclad! Stay tuned!

You can see the official ceremony here, but be sure to read all the blog posts he drew to explain precisely why Kansas was a free state anyway. You can see Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five, and Part Six.

  • Daily Image:

It’s not the holiday gift giving season, but if you know a librarian in need of a unique gift, I have your number.

398.2 Fusenews: Mysterious Edges, Heroic Worlds

Awesomesauce.  Thanks to Marchek for the link.

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24. Fusenews: Berries of new, cots of Cal.

  • WinnieComic Fusenews: Berries of new, cots of Cal.Today I shall begin by ripping out your heart and stomping it into tiny shreds upon the floor.  You may be aware that for years I have worked with the real Winnie-the-Pooh toys at NYPL.  You may also know that the real Christopher Robin had a serious falling out with his father about the books.  Now Ian Chachere has written was is easily the BEST graphic story about Christopher Robin at the end of his days.  Thank you for the link, Kate.
  • Well, get out your fire hoses and start running for the hills (I prefer my mixed metaphors shaken, not stirred).  The Newbery/Caldecott prediction season is about to begin 4 realz.  Calling Caldecott is gently starting its engine, checking its rear view mirror, and making sure the gas tank is full.  Heavy Medal, meanwhile, is putting pedal to the medal (so to speak), revving this puppy as loud as it can go, and then tearing down the street leaving only burnt rubber and flames in its wake.  If you have favorites, they will be systematically destroyed (even, God help us, Doll Bones if Nina’s comments are any indication).  Personally I’m just biding my time until Jonathan Hunt attempts to defend Far Far Away as a Newbery contender.
  • Speaking of the berry of new, Travis Jonker is churning out the fun posts on Newbery stats.  They remind me of the glory days of Peter Sieruta (he loved these sorts of things).  Want to win a Newbery of your very own?  Then you’d better check out So You Want to Win a Newbery, Part 1 and Part 2.
  • Whenever I hear that a celebrity has written a children’s book my reaction isn’t so much outrage as a kind of resigned, “What took them so long?”  In my perverted take on Andy Warhol’s famous quote, in the future everyone will have their own children’s book for 15 minutes.  The latest not-so-surprising travesty is Rush Limbaugh’s are-we-absolutely-certain-this-isn’t-from-The-Onion book Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims.  And we could pull out the usual jokes and all (certainly I’m highly tempted to buy a copy, if only to randomly quote from it on this blog to comedic effect from time to time) but it was Thom Barthelmess who classed the joint up recently by writing of it, “I believe that librarians can shape that discourse by modeling respect for those with whom we disagree. And I believe that every time we suggest to a child that her book choice is inappropriate we weaken the foundation on which she is building a life of reading. This, my friends, is where intellectual rubber meets the freedom road. Let’s be sure we’re holding the map right-side up.”
  • How did I miss this?  Last year I did indeed notice the plethora of Chloes.  So why didn’t I see the abundance of 2013 Floras?  Fortunately Elissa Gershowitz at Horn Book was there to pick up my slack.
  • Once you start talking about Common Core it’s hard to stop. I’ll just close up my mentions of it here by pointing out that if you ever wanted some great reading, it’s fun to take a gander at Museums in a Common Core World.
  • Um . . . awesome.

FallenSpaceman Fusenews: Berries of new, cots of Cal.

If you’re not a regular reader of the very rare middle grade science fiction / fantasy blog Views From the Tesseract, I cannot recommend it highly enough.  Stephanie’s recent post on the book The Fallen Spaceman is fabulous.  Particularly when you discover which Caldecott winner and his son did the illustrations.  Australian readers in particular are urged to comment on it.

  • Step right up, ladies and gentlemen! It’s time for a little game I like to call Guess the Picture Book. Or, rather, it’s a little game Marc Tyler Nobleman likes to call, since he’s the one who came up with it in the first place.

SilentBook 300x92 Fusenews: Berries of new, cots of Cal.A book award for wordless picture books?  Boy, wouldn’t it be nice if such a thing existed?  Well here’s the crazy thing.  Now it does.  Seems that the folks in The Town of Mulazzo (no, I am not making any of this up) collaborated with a host of heavies and came up with The Silent Book Contest.  This is for unpublished manuscripts, so if you’ve a wordless piece that’s been burning a hole in your desk drawer, now’s the time to pull it out and submit it.  Many thanks to Sergio Ruzzier for the heads up!

  • It sort of sounds like a dream.  Apparently if you win the Louise Seaman Bechtel Fellowship then you get to “spend a total of four weeks or more reading and studying at the Baldwin Library of the George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida, Gainesville.”  The catch?  You have to be a working children’s librarian.  Still and all, what fun!  Maybe when I’m older . . .
  • Well, I can’t really report on this without being a little biased.  The first ever NYC Neighborhood Library Awards are happening and five of NYPL’s branches are up for contention.  Better still, two are in the Bronx (as I visit branches I am rapidly coming to the opinion that the Bronx is this awesome place that no one knows jack diddly squat about).  Good luck, guys!
  • Things I didn’t know until this week:  1. That the New York Historical Society has this amazing children’s space that’s so drop dead gorgeous that I think I might cry.  2. That they have their own bookclub for kids who love history called The History Detectives.  What’s more, they love authors who have written fiction and nonfiction books about New York history.  So if any of you guys ever want to make a bookclub appearance, these folks would be a perfect “get”.

ChittyChitty 500x223 Fusenews: Berries of new, cots of Cal.

Of course, I highly recommend you read the piece just the same.  The art of those jackets is dee-licious.  Thanks to AL Direct for the link.

  • To be honest, his grandfather was also a looker back in the WWII days.  If you don’t believe me, read one of those books about his spying days.
  • Here in NYC, Bookfest (that cataclysmic delight of children’s book discussions, hosted by Bank Street College) is nigh.  Nigh and I’m moderating a discussion that so far includes Nathan Hale and Grace Lin . . . because life RULES!!  Sign on up for one of the panels anyway.  I’m sure there’s space (for now).
  • Daily Image:

I don’t suppose this is technically a children’s literature article, but the hidden underground flowering world they discovered not that long ago sure feels like something out a kids book. Just a taste:

UndergroundWorld1 500x332 Fusenews: Berries of new, cots of Cal.

UndergroundWorld2 Fusenews: Berries of new, cots of Cal.



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25. Fusenews: Blink and you’ll miss it

Hey all!  Before I dive into the oddities of the world in which we live, I just wanted to give a bit of a shout out to two distinct groups that allowed me to sprawl my librarian self all over their respective gatherings.  First up, credit and love to Nancy Castaldo and all the folks who made this weekend’s Eastern NY SCBWI Regional Conference the success that it was.  I’m mighty appreciative that I was able to offer the dessert keynote on Saturday.  Moreover, thanks to everyone who came out to see my censorship panel on Saturday at the Brooklyn Book Festival with David Levithan, Francesca Lia Block, and Lauren Myracle.  It’s always nice to moderate something that hardly needs any moderation at all.  Extra thanks to anyone who stayed around for my picture book reading later.  David Maybury I be looking at you.

And now, because the weekend was so darned exciting, I’m going to do some super quickie round-ups of the recent news.

WitchesPoster 500x319 Fusenews: Blink and youll miss it

Don’t mind if I do!

  • I have dealt with difficult reference desk requests in the past, but Benji’s story on dealing with a student looking for Effie?  That takes the cake.  Thanks to 100 Scope Notes for the link.
  • Though it falls squarely into the Couldn’t Be Published in America category of European picture books, Sergio Ruzzier’s remarkable The Birds is WELL worth reading through today.  And not just because I like the name.
  • Ever been curious about the history of children’s theater in New York City?  Well, you lucky ducks, I just found a post that’s gonna make your day.
  • Confused as to where exactly I work and what exactly I work for?  My job has gotten a bit more complicated since I became part of BookOps.  This interview with my colleagues by Booklist should clear up any and all confusion, though.  At least I hope it does.
  • Take one look at this image and tell me what you think it is:

AnneGablesWedding 500x333 Fusenews: Blink and youll miss it

If you said it was an Anne-of-Green-Gables-inspired-wedding-shoot you would be correct.  Sadly it wasn’t a real wedding, but you can tell it’ll serve as inspiration to a lot of folks.

  • Hooray!  The good Elizabeth Bluemle has collected The Stars Thus Far for 2013 and they’re a doozy.  A bunch of five stars are up, but not a single six star book has appeared so far this year.  Whodathunkit?
  • Looks like we have a bookless library on our hands.  Now the only question is whether or not we’ll be seeing the community clamoring for print or not.  Not so sure I agree with the statement that “it will take more than 100 years before all libraries are paperless” (so that’s inevitable, eh whot?) but we can all watch this site with some interest.
  • Daily Image:

Yup.  That’s gonna be the walls of my house someday.  Though the books will undoubtedly be thinner.

BookWall Fusenews: Blink and youll miss it

Thanks to Aunt Judy for the link!

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