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1. Fusenews: Worth it, if only for the clock

Hi, folks. Haven’t done one of these in a while. Let’s see what there is to see.


 

If I’m feeling nostalgic for NYC this week there’s little wonder.  Whether it’s an article on many library branches’ secret apartments (I visited 8-10 of them in my day and someday a clever photographer should do a series on them) or New York Magazine’s (justifiable) kvetching over the new Donnell, it’s like I’m there again.


 

Speaking of kvetching, this article about My Little Free Library War is amusing. When I was leaving the aforementioned NYC I found I had too many books.  The solution?  Daily trips to the local Little Free Library.  I’d fill them up one day and then come back the next with more.  I don’t care what anyone did with them.  That box was like Mary Poppins’ carpetbag.


 

WaldoWarhol

Waldo’s cool with it. He doesn’t mind sharing the spotlight.

As for my current town, how cute is this?  Our downtown is doing a Where’s Waldo / Where’s Warhol scavenger hunt.  It all begins at the wonderful bookstore Bookends and Beginnings and goes from there.


 

This next piece is fantastic and I’ve never seen anything quite like it before.  A British children’s literature blogger comes to America.  Walks into a Barnes and Noble.  Immediately she is struck by the massive differences between how a major British chain (like Waterstones) sells children’s books vs. how and American chain (B&N) does it.  She writes up the differences in the post Picture book differences between the main bookshop chains in the US and UK – Paeony Lewis.  What struck me as particularly interesting is the emphasis the author makes on how American bookstores don’t promote and sell paperbacks to the same degree that the British stores do.  As a result, our books are more expensive.  What are the greater repercussions of this?  Fantastic read.


 

I got the following message from ALA last week and figured this was a good place to share.  Ahem:

Now is the Best Time to Help Dr. Carla Hayden Become Librarian of Congress
The American Library Association (ALA) is urging the library community to contact their U.S. senators (before they adjourn next week) to encourage them to confirm Dr. Carla Hayden to become the next Librarian of Congress. This is the first time in more than 60 years that a librarian is poised to take on this role. ALA offers these talking points. Visit the ALA Legislative Action Center to email your senators, contact them on Twitter, or for information on calling your senators.


 

There’s been a lot of talk about Ms. J.K. Rowling in the news lately.  Specifically, in terms of the international magic schools she’s been introducing.  I feel inadequate to speak about them, and fortunately I don’t have to. Monica Edinger has written a great piece called J.K. Rowling’s Unfortunate Attempts at Globalization.  A lot of people have focused solely and squarely on the references to Native Americans in the American school.  Monica sheds additional light on the African, Japanese, and Brazilian ones, for which I am VERY grateful.


 

By the way, having problems with J.K. Rowling in this vein is hardly new.  You can read Farah Mendelsohn’s academic paper Crowning the King: Harry Potter and the Construction of Authority from 2001 right now, if you like.


 

By the way, if you missed Jules Danielson’s interview with Evan Turk over at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast, turn right around, leave this blog, and go over there.  The art . . . the art . . .


 

DaddyFaceFor a while there I enjoyed a little Reading Too Much Into Picture Books series before my Fuse 8 TV interviews.  Very much along the same lines is the recent Salon piece Pat the Bunny Is Kind of Twisted and Other Lessons I Learned from Picture Books.  It’s not the same three tropes garbled over and over again.  There’s a lot of smart stuff being said here.  Enjoy!


 

Wait, what . . . The Mazza Museum has a summer conference?  Why was I not informed?  *clap clap* My chariot!  The first day is July 18th.  There’s still time!


 

There are many reasons to listen to the NYPL podcast The Librarian Is In.  Reason #24601: Check out this simply adorable photograph of a young Lois Duncan.


 

Hey there!  What Nibling just won herself a 2016 South Asia Book Award?  Would that be Mitali Perkins for her absolutely fantastic Tiger Boy?  Dang right it would!  Go, Mitali, go!


 

Because my day job requires me to keep up with adult literature I read a lot of Publishers Weekly (that sounded like a very earnest television or radio ad for PW, by the way).  The other day I was reading its articles on what Brexit is going to mean for the literary world, and I briefly toyed with the notion of doing a blog post on what it would mean for the children’s literary world.  I decided not to pursue this idea since I know next to nothing about the topic and while that normally wouldn’t stop me, Phil Nel did it best anyway.  Check out his piece Children’s Lit VS Brexit.


 

Curious about the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award?  Want to know more about it?  Interested in reading an interview with a woman who would visit Anne Carroll Moore in the library as a child?  You can get all that and more with this interview with this year’s BGHB committee chair Joanna Rudge Long.


 

LadyElaine2Um… so this one has nothing to do with children’s books and everything to do with my own childhood.  Basically, if you’ve been waiting for an article to justify Lady Elaine Fairchilde as the feminist icon she truly was, your prayers have been answered. Extra Bonus: Check out the perhaps indeed legit comment from Lady Aberline.  Or read my piece on the new Lady Elaine.  Clearly this is a trope in my life.


 

Just want to give a shout-out to Christine Inzer, the self-published teen graphic novelist whose book Halfway Home was reviewed here in 2014.  Christine got herself a real publisher and her new book just earned a stellar review from Publishers Weekly.  Yay, Christine!


 

New Podcast Alert: In case you are unfamiliar with it, The Writing Barn is the brainchild of Owner & Creative Director, Bethany Hegedus, and offers writers “ways of deepening their process and perfecting their craft, whether they travel cross-town or across the country to our retreat and workshop venue”. Now Bethany has created Porchlight, a podcast that interviews the Barn’s guests as well as folks in the world at large.  You know I’ll be listening.


 

Daily Image:

Best. Library. Clock. Ever.

libraryclock

Seriously, I want to do this with picture books.  If not in my library then in my home. I should solicit the right titles, though.  Hmmm…

Suggestions welcome.

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2. Fusenews: Trotsky, Harriet the Spy, A.A. Milne and More

Farm copyYou know what’s even better than serving on an award committee?  Having someone else write about it.  As I’ve mentioned in the past, I was on the judging committee for this year’s Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards alongside Chair Joanna Rudge Long and Roxanne Feldman.  It was Roxanne who reported on our discussion, and even took photos of where we met (Joanna’s gorgeous Vermont farmhouse), what we ate, and more.  There is also a particularly goofy shot of me that is impressive because even without knowing that there was a camera pointed in my direction, I seem to have made a silly face.  I am nothing if not talented in that respect.


Speaking of listening in on committees and their discussions, ALA is next week (she said, eyeing her unfinished Newbery/Caldecott Banquet outfit nervously) and that means you have a chance to sit and listen to one particular committee talk the talkety talk.  I am referring, of course, to the ALA Notables Committee.  This year they’ve released the list of books on their discussion list online for your perusal.  A lot of goodies there, as well as room for a lot of books I hope they get to eventually.


 

I was very sad to hear about the passing of Lois Duncan. Like many of you, she was a staple of my youth.  When Jules Danielson, Peter Sieruta, and I were writing our book Wild Things: Acts of Mischief in Children’s Literature we initially had a section, written by Peter, on why Lois stopped writing suspense novels for teens.  It’s a sad story but one that always made me admire her deeply.  She was hugely talented and will be missed.


BloodRedSpeaking of Wild Things, recently I was sent a YA galley by Marcus Sedgwick called Blood Red, Snow White.  But lest you believe it to be a YA retelling of the old Snow White / Rose Red fairytale, it ain’t.  Instead, it’s about how Arthur Ransome (he of Swallows and Amazons) got mixed up with Trotsky’s secretary and a whole lotta Bolsheviks.  What does this have to do with Wild Things?  This was yet ANOTHER rejected tale from our book.  Read the full story here on our website where we even take care to mention Sedgwick’s book (it originally was published overseas in 2007).


 

As I’ve mentioned before, my library hosts a pair of falcons each year directly across from the window above my desk.  I’ve watched five eggs laid, three hatch, and the babies get named and banded.  This week the little not-so-fuzzyheads are learning to fly.  It’s terrifying.  Far better that I read this older Chicago Tribune article on the banding ceremony.  They were so cute when they were fuzzy.  *sigh*


 

In other news, Harriet the Spy’s house is for sale.  Apparently.


 

Sharon Levin on the child_lit listserv had a rather fascinating little announcement up recently.  As she told it, she’d always had difficulty finding a really fast way to catalog her personal library.  Cause let’s face it – scanning every single barcode takes time.  Then she found a new app and . . . well, I’ll let her tell it:

“Shelfie is a free app for iOS and Android (www.shelfie.com) where you can take a picture of your bookshelf and the app will automatically recognize your book spines and generate a catalog of your library. In addition, the team behind the app has made deals with over 1400 publishers (including HarperCollins, Macmillan, and Hachette) to let you download discounted (usually around 80% off) or free ebook or audiobook edition of your paper books (right now these publisher deals cover about 25% of the books on an “average” shelf). The app also lets you browse other readers’ shelves. Shelfie will also give you personalized book recommendations based on how readers with similar taste in books to you organize the books on their shelves. The founder of Shelfie is named Peter Hudson and he’d love to hear any suggestions about how he can make the app better. Peter’s email is peter.hudson@shelfie.com.

Thanks to Sharon Levin for the heads up.


 

I leave NYPL and its delightful Winnie-the-Pooh toys and what happens?  The world goes goofy for the story of A.A. Milne and Christopher Robin.  Now we just found out that Domhnall Gleeson (a.k.a. Bill Weasley in the Harry Potter films) has just been cast as Milne in an upcoming bio-pic.  Will wonders never cease?


Double TroubleAre you familiar with the works of Atinuke?  An extraordinary storyteller, her Anna Hibiscus books are among my favorite early chapter books of all time.  They do, however, occasionally catch flack of saying they take place in “Africa” rather than a specific country. Recently, K.T. Horning explained on Monica Edinger’s recent post Diversity Window, Mirror, or Neither that Atinuke did this on purpose so that kids in Africa could imagine the stories as taking place in their own countries.  That makes perfect sense.  The ensuing discussion in Monica’s post is respectful, interesting, and with a variety of different viewpoints, all worth reading.  In short, the kind of talk a blogger hopes for when he or she writes something.  Well done, Monica.


 

Big time congrats to the nominees for the Neustadt Prize.  It’s a whopping $10,000 given to a children’s author given on the basis of literary merit.  It may be the only children’s award originating in America that is also international.  Fingers crossed for all the people nominated!


 

Hooray!  The Children’s Book Council has released their annual Building a Home Library list.  I love these.  The choices are always very carefully done and perfect for clueless parents.


 

In other CBC news, I got this little press release, and it’s worth looking at:

“For the second consecutive year, the Children’s Book Council has partnered with The unPrison Project — a 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to empowering and mentoring women in prison — to create brand-new libraries of books for incarcerated mothers to read with their babies at prison nurseries. Fourteen of the CBC’s member publishers answered the call by donating copies of over 35 hand-picked titles for children ages 0-18 months for each library. The books will be hand-delivered and organized in the nurseries by Deborah Jiang-Stein, founder of The unPrison Project and author of Prison Baby. Jiang-Stein was born in prison to a heroin-addicted mother, and has made it her mission to empower and mentor women and girls in prison.”


 

You know who’s cool?  That gal I mentioned earlier.  Julie Danielson.  She’s something else.  For example, while many of us might just say we were interested in James Marshall, she’s actually in the process of researching him.  She even received the James Marshall Fellowship from The University of Connecticut’s Archives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center. As a result she spent a week looking through the James Marshall Papers there. Their sole stipulation?  Write a blog post about it.  So up at the University’s site you’ll find the piece Finding the Artist in His Art: A Week With the James Marshall Papers. Special Bonus: Rare images you won’t find anywhere else.


 

Daily Image:

I take no credit to this.  I only discovered it on Twitter thanks to Christine Hertz of Burlington, VT.  It may constitute the greatest summer reading idea I’ve seen in a very long time.  Public libraries, please feel free to adopt this:

SummerReadingDisplay

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3. Fusenews: In my next life I’m coming back as a “Rotraut”

A lot to say and so little time to say it.  Let’s get started!


 

LittlePrincessToday, if you are at all feeling blue, I suggest you read The Toast piece Jaya Catches Up: A Little Princess which is a killer breakdown of what is inarguably a problematic book.  The Marie Antoinette portions are particularly choice.


 

Next, the 2016 Hans Christian Andersen Award Winners were announced. What does that mean for you? It means you should be boning up on your international children’s book knowledge, of course.  Commit the names “Rotraut Susanne Berner of Germany” (who won for Illustration) and Cao Wenxuan of China (who won for Writing)” to memory. For more info on the books and the winners, go here.


 

If you were speaking to the man on the street (or woman, or child, or what have you) and they said, “Boy, those children’s books took the hardest left turn a series ever took”, what series would you assume the person was speaking about?  Here is your answer and it’s a heckuva amusing post to boot.


 

Seven Impossible Things features Gareth Hinds.  And all is right with the universe.


 

Lonely_Doll_CoverOh. In a weird way this makes sense.  They’re turning The Secret Life of the Lonely Doll, the biography of Dare Wright, creator of the Lonely Doll book series, in to a film with Naomi Watts and Jessica Lange.  You know what that means, don’t you?  Lonely Doll fever is poised to sweep the nation.  Be wary. Be warned.  And buy stock in frilly underwear.


 

Remember when J.K Rowling said she had this “political fairytale” that was going to be her next non-Harry Potter children’s book?  Looks like it’s kaputski.  Which is to say, about 30 years after Ms. Rowling’s death someone will pull it out of that drawer and publish it anyway.  So it goes.


 

This next one’s roundabout three years old but I only just found it.  The mom from the Cat in the Hat finally speaks.  Quite frankly, I always found that polka-dotted dress of hers rather fetching (to say nothing of her keen shoes) but that may just be me.


 

If you had the great good fortune to see the NYPL exhibit The ABC of It then you would have noticed one section was dedicated to a fascinating array of Soviet children’s art.  I remember helping curator Leonard Marcus locate these books (of which NYPL owns a goodly number) and he picked and chose the best amongst them.  But where did they originate?  Having recently finished M.T. Anderson’s Symphony for the City of the Dead, I took the little bit of context I’d acquired and applied it to this fabulous piece on tygertale called Revolutionary Russian Children’s Books. Now I’m just beginning to understand. Thanks to Phil Nel (I’m pretty sure) for the link.


 

Growing up my mom had a machine in the attic that could type out braille.  I don’t know why we owned it but I liked it a lot. Braille children’s books available in a mass market context have always been difficult to obtain, though.  With this in mind, I’m very pleased to see DK is now releasing a braille board book series.  Wow.  Way to go, DK!


 

All right.  My four-year-old is upstairs asleep and in her room are all my Harry Potter books.  Otherwise I would check this myself.  You see, they just released the first look of the new Jim Kay illustrated Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.  And I am staring and staring at this cover and I need your help.  Look at the cover right here:

HPChamber

Am I crazy or is that car chock full of Weaselys?  And doesn’t Harry drive to Hogwarts with just Ron?  At least that’s what the old British cover told me:

HPChamber3

So . . . huh?  [Note: Interestingly the Buzzfeed article has plenty of comments but no one is pointing this out so I may just be completely and utterly wrong about everything]


 

In other news, the Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy longlist was just released.  Frances Hardinge made the cut!!!  Wooty woot woot woot!!

Seriously Wicked, Tina Connolly (Tor Teen)
Court of Fives, Kate Elliott (Little, Brown)
Cuckoo Song, Frances Hardinge (Macmillan UK 5/14; Amulet)
Archivist Wasp, Nicole Kornher-Stace (Big Mouth House)
Zeroboxer, Fonda Lee (Flux)
Shadowshaper, Daniel José Older (Levine)
Bone Gap, Laura Ruby (Balzer + Bray)
Nimona, Noelle Stevenson (HarperTeen)
Updraft, Fran Wilde (Tor)


 

Oh, I absolutely love this. Children’s art.  Not art for children, mind you, but art by children and its ramifications when studying history.  Again, I think I have Phil Nel to thank for this one.  He finds all the good stuff.


Daily Image:

The Make Way for Ducklings statues are nothing new (nor are they the only ducklings as my old post on all the public children’s literature statues in America attests).  Nor is it new to put hats on them.  That said, this recent yarnbombing goes above and beyond the call of duty.  That’s some seriously good knitting!

DucklingsYarnBomb

Read more about them here.

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4. Fusenews: I wouldn’t waste my time riding a bike

Hokey dokey.  Too much stuff here to cover very well, but try we shall.  Hold on to your hats, folks!  It’s gonna be a bumpy ride.


 

saltFirst off, you know how I was talking the other day about constructing the ideal educator website of children’s literature resources?  Well, this might have to be one of said resources I’d include.  Called Uncover the Past, the site is dedicated to “helping library and education professionals teach history through children’s literature!”  The booklists are particularly interesting.
Thanks to Rebecca Redinger for the link.


 

Next up, one for the “how cute is this?” files.  I don’t know why the idea of Mary Blair tableware isn’t commonplace, but so far this is the first place I’ve seen it done properly.  Blair, as you may recall, worked as a Disney animator for years before becoming a children’s book illustrator.Take the survey and you might win a set of your very own.


 

Mmm.  Process.  Sweet, delicious process.  What’s better than watching an Art Director explain how they came up with a YA cover?  Watching an Art Director explain how they came up with a YA cover after considering LOADS of alternatives.  Chad Beckerman shows us how The Haters came to be.  I don’t usually do YA, but in this special case I am making an exception.  You bet I am.


 

auctionOo.  Auction. Now normally one wouldn’t have the money for such a thing, but this one’s special.  What we’re talking about here is a Refugee Benefit Auction, created by authors Shannon Hale and Mette Ivie Harrison.  100% of the proceeds go to Lifting Hands International, a charity that gets life-saving supplies directly to refugee camps.  As for the things you could get, they’re pretty fantastic.  My personal favorite?  A pole dance (or fan dance, they’re easy) performed by Shannon Hale and Daniel Handler.  “Negligible nudity assured”.  Oddly, this item has yet to secure an initial bid.  Would someone like to lend me $10,000?


 

The Fictional Book Characters Who Sparked Our Sexual Awakenings. Meh. None of these ranked in my book, but it’s interesting to see the fellers other gals were into.  And, happily, it reminded me of one of my favorite Toast pieces of all time: Things I’ve Learned About Heterosexual Female Desire From Decades Of Reading.


 

I think I’m the last one to link to the Alexander London piece Our Stories Are As Unlimited As Our Selves or Why I Came Out as a Gay Children’s Book Author.  A great piece and one that ties in nicely with the GLBTQ chapter of Wild Things.  Should we ever update that book, this is going in.


 

UndergroundAbductorOo!  Eisner Award nominees.  Love that stuff, I do.  And check it out!  Not only is Nathan Hale nominated in the Best Publication for Kids category (for The Underground Abductor, naturally) but he’s also in the Best Writer / Artist category as well.  He is the ONLY children’s book creator in that category, by the way.  Regardless of whether or not he wins, that is significant.


 

Travis Jonker. He comes up with so many good ideas.  Have you seen his Endangered Series, uh, series?  Well, it’s a great idea.  Series that once were strong but now are waning are given a close examination.  Cam Jansen was the latest to fall under scrutiny.  I suspect The Kids of the Polk Street School already hit the dust, but if not then this would be an ideal candidate for a future post.


 

Wow.  Two thumbs up to the ALSC board for voting to cancel the National Institute in Charlotte, North Carolina.  American Libraries Magazine has the scoop.  Thanks to Jules Danielson for the link.


 

How on this good green earth did I miss Rick Riordan’s letter to kids who are faced with the dire prospect of being shown one of the Percy Jackson movies in school?  I’ve seen authors dislike their books’ adaptations before, but nothing quite matches this.  Thanks to Monica Edinger for the link.


 

“With such a huge international variety of books and illustrators on display in Bologna, are there differences in illustration styles among individual countries?” Yep. Moving on.  Oh, wait . . . no, let’s dwell on this idea a bit longer.  Four German children’s book publishers were asked this question and they gave their responses.  The thing is, here in the States we’re seeing some remarkably high quality German children’s book fare on a regular basis and it’s GREAT!  I’d love this question to be regularly posed with folks from other countries as well.


 

The site Brightly has had a couple good articles up lately.  I liked 8 Surprising Facts About Your Local Librarian not the least because I knew the librarians quoted.  NYC pride!


 

Daily Image:

I almost never do images of books here for the Daily Image since it’s sort of a case of bringing coals to Newcastle.  But then I saw that one of my greatest picture readalouds, one of my core books, a title I’ve loved for years, is getting a sequel.  At long long last I have an answer for those kids who have been asking me, “Is there a sequel with the tractor?”

DuckTractor

Yes, children.  Yes there is.  And life is good.

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5. Fusenews: The occasional “unruly pleasure”

I’ve done it again.  Delayed my Fusenews too long and now this post is going to overflow with too much good stuff.  Forewarned is forearmed, as they say.


HallmarkMe stuff for the start. And in fact, there just so much Me Stuff today that I’m just going to cram it all into this little paragraph here and be done with it. To begin, for the very first time my book Wild Things: Acts of Mischief in Chidren’s Literature (co-written with Jules Danielson and Peter Sieruta) was cited in an article. Notably, a piece in The Atlantic entitled Frog and Toad and the Self.  Woot!  In other news I’m judging a brand new picture book award. It’s the Hallmark Great Stories Award. Did you or someone you know produce a picture book in 2016 on the topic of “togetherness and community”? Well $10,000 smackers could be yours. In terms of seeing me talk, I’m reading my picture book (and more) at the Printer’s Row Lit Fest on June 11th.  If you’re in the Chicago area and ever wanted to see me in blue furry leg warmers, now your chance has come here.  Finally, during Book Expo I managed to coerce Hyperion Books into handing me three of their most delicious authors (Shannon Hale, Dean Hale, and Eoin Colfer) so that I could feed them to WGN Radio.  You can hear our talk here, if you like.  And check out how cute we all are:

WGN

Colfer, for what it is worth, is exceedingly comfortable.  I highly recommend that should you see him you just glom onto him for long periods of time.  Like a sticky burr.  He also apparently has an Artemis Fowl movie in the works (for real this time!) and you’ll never guess who the director might be.


This is interesting. Not too long ago children’s book author C. Alex London wrote a piece for BuzzFeed called Why I Came Out As a Gay Children’s Book Author.  It got a lot of attention and praise.  Then, earlier this month, Pseudonymous Bosch wrote a kind of companion piece in the New York Times Book Review. Also Known As tackles not just his reasons for a nom de plume (skillfully avoiding any and all mentions of Lemony Snicket, I could not help but notice) but also how this relates to his life as a gay children’s book author.


Hey, full credit to The New Yorker  for this great recentish piece on weeding a collection and the glory that is Awful Library Books.  My sole regret is that I never let them know when I weeded this guy:

150Ways

The copyright page said 1994, but I think we know better.  Thanks to Don Citarella for the link.


Cool. The publisher Lee & Low has just released the winner of the New Visions Writing Contest, now in its third year.  Congrats to Supriya Kelkar for her win!


New Podcast Alert: With podcasting being so popular these days, I do regret that my sole foray into the form has pretty much disappeared from the face of the globe. Fortunately there are talented folks to listen to instead, including the folks at Loud in the Library. Teacher librarians Chris Patrick and Tracy Chrenka from Grand Rapids, MI (homestate pride!) get the big names, from picture books illustrators to YA writers. Listen up!


New Blog Alert: The press release from SLJ sounded simple. “SLJ is pleased to welcome The Classroom Bookshelf to our blog network. In its sixth year, the Bookshelf features a weekly post about a recently published children’s book, including a lesson plan and related resources.” Then I made a mistake. I decided to look at the site. Jaw hit floor at a fast and furious rate leaving a dent in the linoleum. Contributors Randy Heller, Mary Ann Cappiello, Grace Enriquez, Katie Cunningham, and Erika Thulin Dawes (all professors at Lesley University’s outstanding school of ed.), I salute you. If I ever stop writing my own reviews, you’ll know why.


This:

JeffSmith


This one’s just for the New Yorkers. I’m sure you already saw this New Yorker paean to the Mid-Manhattan library, but just in case you didn’t it’s here, “unruly pleasures” and all.


For whatever reason, PW Children’s Bookshelf always goes to my “Promotions” folder on Gmail, so I assume they already mentioned this article. Just in case they didn’t, though, I sort of love that The Atlantic (second time mentioned today!) wrote an ode to Sideways Stories from Wayside School. Thanks to Kate for the link.


Now some Bookshare info.  The idea of providing free ebooks for kids with print disabilities is a good one.  And, as it happens, not a new one.  Bookshare, an online accessible library, just added its 400,000th title to its collection and boy are they proud.  Free for all U.S. students with qualifying print disabilities and U.S. schools, they’ve a blog you might want to read, and they service kids with blindness, low vision, dyslexia, and physical disabilities.


Daily Image:

You probably heard that Neil Patrick Harris will be playing Count Olaf in the upcoming Netflix series of A Series of Unfortunate Events.  Now we have photographic proof.

HarrisOlaf

I wonder if Brett Helquist ever marvels at how much power his art has had over these various cinematic incarnations.  The lack of socks is a particularly accurate touch.

 

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6. Fusenews: Of shoes and ships and sealing wax, of Garbage Pail Kids and kings . . .

Happy Monday to you!  You want the goods?  I’ve got the goods.  Or, at the very least, a smattering of interesting ephemera.  Let’s do this thing.


 

BostonGlobeHornBookFirst and foremost, you may have noticed the Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards were announced.  The BGHB Awards are some of the strangest in the biz since they encompass the nonexistent publishing year that extends from May to June.  How are we to use such an award?  No cash benefit is included.  And traditionally it has been seen as either a litmus test for future book awards or as a way of rectifying past sins / confirming past awards.  This year it’s a bit of a mix of both.  Both 2015 and 2016 titles appear on the list.  You can see the full smattering in full here or watch a video of the announcement here.  And, for what it’s worth, I served on the committee this year, so if you’ve a beef to beef, lay it on me.


 

Since this news item appeared on Huffington Post I’m not sure if it is in any way true.  If not, it’s still a lovely thought.  According to HP, the cover artist of Sweet Valley High takes commissions.  Just let that one sink in a little.  I’m not interested, though.  Call me when the cover artist of Baby-Sitters Club starts doing the same.


 

It’s odd that I haven’t linked to this before, but a search of my archives yields nothing.  Very well.  Whether or not you were aware of it, The Toast has The Giving Tree in their Children’s Stories Made Horrific series.  Shooting fish in a barrel, you say?  Not by half.  It’s not a new piece.  Came out three years ago, as far as I can tell.  And yet . . . it’s perfect.  The latest in the series, by the way, was a Frog and Toad tale.  Sublime.


 

This Week in Broadway: Tuck Everlasting is out. Wimpy Kid is in.


 

In other news vaguely related to theater, Lin Manuel-Miranda is slated to star in a 2018 Mary Poppins musical sequel.  And no, not on stage.  On the silver screen.  This, naturally, led to the child_lit listserv postulating over how this could be possible since P.L. Travers had a pretty strong posthumous grip on the rest of the Mary Poppins rights.


 

So I worked for New York Public Library for eleven years.  Eleven years can be a lot of time. During my tenure I observed the very great highs and very low lows of the system.  I like to think I knew it pretty well.  Now here’s a secret about NYPL: They’re bloody awful at telling you about all the cool stuff they have going on.  Always have been.  For example, I’m tooling about the NYPL site the other day when I see this picture.

LibrarianIsIn

I stare at it.  I squint at it.  And finally I cannot help but come to a single solitary conclusion . . . that’s my old boss!  There.  On the left.  Isn’t that Frank Collerius, branch manager of the Jefferson Market Branch in Greenwich Village?  Yup.  The Librarian Is In Podcast seeks to simply talk “about books, culture, and what to read next.”  Frank co-hosts with RA librarian Gwen Glazer and they’re top notch. I haven’t made my way through all of them yet.  I’m particularly interested in the BookOps episode since that’s where I used to work.  And look!  I had no idea that Shola at the Schomburg was on Sesame Street.

SholaMuppets


 

Howdy, libraries.  How’s that STEM programming coming along?  Care for some inspiration?  Then take a gander at the blog STEM in Libraries where “a team of librarians with a passion for creating fun and engaging STEM programs for library patrons of all ages,” have so far created fifty-seven different STEM program ideas.


 

A helpful reader passed this on to me, so I pass it on to you: “The latest New Yorker magazine, dated June 6 and 13, may be of interest to you, if you haven’t yet seen it. It’s the Fiction issue, and in it are some essays by 5 authors, each subtitled “Childhood Reading”…with memories of the books, articles, package labels, events from their childhoods that shaped their idea of what reading is and can be. Having read a couple of these so far, I thought of you, and decided to mention them to you, in case you don’t regularly look at the New Yorker, and might not see them.”  Thanks to Fran Landt for the link.


 

In other NYPL news, I miss desperately being a part of the 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing committee.  Fortunately, the folks on the committee recently confessed to the books they’re finding particularly good.  So many I haven’t see yet.  To the library!


 

Daily Image:

You know who won the Best Bookmark Left in a Library Book Award the other day?  That’s right.  This guy.  Check it out:

GarbagePailKids

Sure beats finding bacon.  I was forbidden to own these guys as a kid, so I’ve placed this little fellow in a prominent place on my desk.  Who wants to bet money that some executive somewhere is trying to figure out how to bring these back?  Let’s see . . . the last time they were made they were illustrated by Art Spiegelman.  So if Pulitzer Prize winners are the only people who can draw them, my vote for the 21st artist goes to  . . . ah . . . wait a minute.  Maus is the only graphic novel to ever win a Pulitzer?!?

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7. Fusenews: The Anti-Effacing Differencer

sleepingpuppy4Morning, folks.  Let’s see, let’s see.  After yesterday maybe it would be a good idea to do a post on rainbows and unicorns and cute little puppy dogs cavorting in the sun.  I’m a little exhausted after yesterday’s post so let’s just do a quickie Fusenews of wonderfullness instead.

  • Do you read Real Simple?  A familiar name might have snuck her way onto one of the pages.
  • Calling Caldecott addresses an issue that has always fascinated me. Why do some illustrators who have amazing illustrating chops never ever get Caldecotts?
  • Maybe 100 Scope Notes has the answer. In terms of publication dates, what month births the most Caldecotts? Travis Jonker finds the figures.  Be sure to read the statistics in the comments.  Truly we are living in the Age of Aquarius.

alma_logo_engIn case you missed it, 215 candidates from 59 countries are currently nominated for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award 2016.  The Yanks are of particular interest.  There are the usual standbys and then there are folks like oral storyteller Anne Pellowski.  Wow!  Well done there.  I’m also going to check out Children’s Literature New England (CLNE) & The Examined Life (EXL), Friends of African Village Libraries (FAVL), and Room to Read. I’m feeling a bit embarrassed that it took this nomination to learn about their work.

  • By the way, a show of hands.  How many of you knew about The Arnold Adoff Poetry Awards, which “seek to recognize excellence in multicultural poetry for youth, for readers at the primary level, middle level, and teens”?  Be honest.  It’s new to me too.  But it’s out there and they could do with some proactive publishing houses, large and small, sending in their nominees.  If you fit the bill, tell your publisher today.  You have until December 1st.
  • An interesting Pew Survey finding that teens are reading more than adults these days.  They do not ascribe any particular reason for the YA surge.  We know it cannot exist in a void, however, so I’m just going to congratulate the YA librarians out there.  You guys are doing a stellar job.  Keep up the good work.
  • “Please Don’t Agree with Me: the Need for Disagreement in Debates About Literature for Young People.”  That talk?  Given by Christopher Myers recently and recapped by Phil Nel.  I’m particularly interested in the part where Chris says that agreement can efface difference, whereas “Disagreement recognizes an actual difference.”  I think we can safely say that no differences were effaced in the last two weeks at this site.
  • Daily Image:

And Shannon Hale goes for the fancy fingernail book release win!

CRT52QsVAAAI0yU

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8. Fusenews: “He’s a person and people don’t eat people”

  • It’s funny how you can start something and never see how that thing might be used in the future.  When I created the Top 100 Picture Books Poll and the Top 100 Children’s Novels Poll back in the day, I figured they could be useful books insofar as they take the pulse of those books that mean the most to readers today.  Bookshare Communications recently alerted me to the fact that in conjunction with SLJ they had adapted the Picture Books list to a format that included image descriptions for the visually impaired.  Why do this?  They explain it this way:

“Imagine for a moment, however, that you can’t see the illustrations, nor can anyone describe them for you. Your reading and listening experience would certainly be incomplete. The Bookshare team decided to remedy this shortfall so young members could visualize the wild rumpus in Where the Wild Things Are and all the food devoured by The Very Hungry Caterpillar. In 2014, we embarked on a special project to create a collection of classic picture books containing original illustrations with complete image descriptions.”

I’m so pleased to have been a part of this, if only in the sense that I helped put together the list from my readers’ responses.  Thanks to Benetech for the heads up.

  • scarrypigsThough it could easily have devolved into a Buzzfeed list, the Dave Gilson thoughts on Richard Scarry’s odd attitudes towards his pig characters and their predilections for bacon and ham is well worth reading.  Says he, “The separate-and-unequal logic is also reflected in the unspoken taboos that surround meat eating in Busytown. People can only eat animals, and only animals can become meat. In other words, the Kenny Bear’s pigs will become bacon, but Mr. Pig will not. He can walk past the butcher’s counter secure in the knowledge that he won’t suddenly be stuffed into an oven with an apple in his mouth. He’s a person, and people don’t eat people.”  Thanks to Phil Nel for the link.
  • The Bologna Book Fair is in New York City?  Nope, but this might be the next best thing.  Publishers Weekly and the Bologna Children’s Book Fair are pairing together for a Global Kids Connect Conference on December 2nd.  From a publishing standpoint, this is very enticing.  Thanks to Deborah Topolski for the link.
  • Credit Travis Jonker.  I think he’s inadvertently the reason this happened at all.  Not too long ago the Kansas City Public Library and the Toronto Public Library got into an all time spine poetry slapdown Twitter feud . . . in a nice way.  You see, apparently The Kansas City Royals were playing The Toronto Blue Jays in the American League Championship Series and the libraries started tweeting spine poetry at one another.  Here’s an example:

SpinePoetry

You can read two different articles (and see a LOT of smack downs) here and here.  Thanks to Jill Skwerski for the link.

  • Things That I Know: (1) That there is a Children’s Book Guild of Washington D.C. (and they are lovely folks). (2) That there is an author by the name of Tonya Bolden (and she’s a lovely personage).
  • Things That I Did Not Know:  The Children’s Book Build of Washington D.C. is giving to Tonya Bolden their annual nonfiction award.  They have a nonfiction award?  Annually?  Best news I’ve heard all day.
  • Daily Image:

When I was pregnant with my two children I found myself inexplicably drawn to the films Alien and Aliens (which I suppose beats wanting to watch Rosemary’s Baby, but still…).  With these films fresh in my mind, I cannot help but think that this book (which you really can buy) is going to be the hit of the holiday season.  A picture book we can all get behind.

Alien

Alien1

Alien2

Thanks to Stephanie Whelan for the link!

 

 

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9. Fusenews: Reader’s Advisory – Not Just for Librarians Anymore

  • readersadvisorycomicIn my current job I’ve become somewhat fascinated with what could easily be considered the key tool in a librarian’s toolbelt: Reader’s Advisory.  Patron asks you to recommend a book based on a set of preferences and you knock it out of the park.  That’s our job and we do it well.  Booksellers do it too, don’t get me wrong, but we have the advantage of an extensive backlist of out-of-print titles at our fingertips.  It’s taken a little while, but recently I noticed that a LOT of folks are getting in on the Reader’s Advisory game.  Companies like Bookish, Zoobean, SelectReads, certainly, and now?  An actual publishing company itself.  The Penguin Hotline is pretty much what it sounds like: A publishing house doing RA.  Says their site, “Tell us as much as you’d like about the reader you’re buying for this holiday season and our expert staffers will find you just the right books. You’ll get personalized recommendations from real Penguins! Every request is handled individually by one of our in-house editors, marketers, designers, salespeople, publicists, and more.”  And they actually do.  What all this says to me is that libraries need to double down on their RA skills.  Take some tips from Multnomah County’s My Librarian site for starters.  That idea is crazy good.  We could all learn a thing or two from it.
  • Monday, January 11th.  It’s almost a month away.  The happiest day of the year.  The day when they announce the Youth Media Awards, better known to the rest of the world as Newbery/Caldecott Day (and by “rest of the world” I mean “my brain”).  In preparation, I was pleased to see Monica Edinger’s thoughtful appraisal of the Newbery itself in the piece Thoughts on Newbery: The Nature of Distinguished.  In it, Monica talks quite a bit about Laura Amy Schlitz’s The Hired Girl, a book which (coincidentally) also showed up on Marjorie Ingall’s fantabulous Best Jewish Books 2015.  Seriously, if you need Hanukkah gifts for any kid of any age, your prayers have been answers.  For the rest of you, her voice is just so good.  Downright sublime, some might say.  Miss it and you’re missing out. (She also has stellar taste)
  • I’m not the first, second, third, or forty-fifth children’s literature enthusiast to link to this, but nonetheless I think the Atlas Obscura article C.S. Lewis’ Greatest Fiction: Convincing American Kids That They Would Like Turkish Delight is dead on.  I grew up thinking it would be akin to sugar powdered squares of chocolatey confectionary delight.  Then I went to London for foreign study and I and each of my classmates individually had to make the discovery that the stuff ain’t worth betraying much of anyone, let alone your blood kin.  Edmund should have held out for fudge.  Thanks to mom for the link.
  • Bookish (mentioned earlier) had a rather delightful encapsulation of fantastic literary-themed Christmas tree ornaments, just in case you’re scrambling to get something for that reader in your life.  My personal favorite (aside from the library lion a.k.a. Patience which I MUST have):

41OAIfcFqCL

  • In other news, Yahoo News recently announced that a Tintin expert was just named as an official “professor of graphic fiction and comic art.”  Wouldn’t mind having one of these stateside as well.  Perhaps an expert in Pogo.  A gal can dream.
  • The resident 4-year-old is on a picture book biography kick right now, so on Saturday we went to the library’s bio section to find some new fare.  We ended up in the Lincoln section and lo and behold her eyes alit on that old d’Aulaire’s Caldecott Award version of the life of Abraham Lincoln.  I steered her clear, knowing its contents very well indeed.  I never thought of it as the d’Aulaires’ best work, and we took home the Judith St. George/Matt Faulkner Stand Tall, Abe Lincoln instead.  The d’Aulaire version had already been on my mind because of a recent PW announcement that a small publisher is bring the book back to the world.  Mind you, “they made minor modifications to the original art and text to reflect contemporary views about race politics and to reflect historical accuracy.”  Guess I’ll have to reserve judgement until I see it for myself.
  • Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness: Now with more indelible images that will haunt your nightmares until doomsday!  Don’t try to unsee it.  Don’t even bother.
  • Daily Image: 

This week in our popular series Children’s Books from 1907, we take a look at a little number that just makes me inordinately happy.

BirdsFromFlowers1

BirdsFromFlowers3BirdsFromFlowers2

I think you get the gist.  You may read the book in its entirety here.  Thanks to Mara Rockliff for the link.

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10. Fusenews: The bumps on the tongue just add insult to injury

Good morning, campers!  Are we ironing out the last of the holiday season from our socks?  Are we eyeing our decorations with a jaded eye?  Well, wonderful news!  2016 is on the horizon and I bring you news of the peppy variety.  Packed deep in snow, no less, since I appear to be living in ice storm land at the moment.

  • ReadQuarterlyFirst up, I wrote a piece a year or two ago for a periodical and then never had it published.  All that has changed thanks to the delightful online children’s literature publication, The Read Quarterly.  My piece The Last Taboo: What Interactive Print Says About the Digital Revolution is available for your reading, whenever you’d like to give it a gander.
  • Two awards to celebrate today.  First up, you may be aware that over in Britain they did away with their beloved Roald Dahl Funny Book Prize.  Apparently there will be a new Dahl prize in the near future and they didn’t want to confuse it with this other one.  Fortunately, there’s a new funny lit prize and it’s called The Laugh Out Loud Award or, for short, The Lollies.  Michael Rosen is, as ever, involved.  Attention!  Britain?  The representative from Illinois would like to request that America be allowed Lollies of our own.  We could change the name slightly to The ROFLs, but that sounds slightly perverse when you say it out loud.  In any case, funny awards here, please.
  • The other award is the recent unveiling of the latest winners of the 2015 Arab American Book Award (sponsored by the  Arab American National Museum) given in the Children/Young Adult category.  The winner, I’m happy to say, is The Turtle of Oman by Naomi Shihab Nye (Greenwillow Press).  Honorable Mention was awarded to The Olive Tree by Elsa Marston and illustrated by Claire Ewart (Wisdom Tales Press).  Well done, one and all!
  • Insufficiently happy by today’s news thus far?  Okay.  Try this.  They’ve turned some of the Bad Kitty books into a play and you Bay Area lucky ducks get to see it.  Playwright Min Kahng, who also did a musical adaptation of Where the Mountain Meets the Moon amongst other things, is interviewed here.  As for Bad Kitty herself, I like her looks:

BadKittyBaca

  • Brightly also came up with 2015’s Biggest Moments in Children’s and YA Literature.  A good list, though I would rewrite the title slightly to say instead that it’s more accurately “2015’s Biggest Controversy-Free Moments in Children’s and YA Literature”.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

BottleCapBoysA Rita Williams-Garcia book has people talking, but it may not be the book you first think of.  How many of you read her new picture book Bottle Cap Boys Dancing on Royal Street?  Well a recent article about the actual boys who dance the streets of New Orleans says that Rita’s book has gotten people to talking.  The subheading “Depicting happy children” sounds familiar in light of the conversations surrounding A Fine Dessert as well, though the context is different.

  • Daily Image:

I saw the new Star Wars movie, loved it, and was listening to a recent episode of the podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour when they mentioned the worst Star Wars merchandising in existence.  There are many items that could fit the bill (look up the Slave Leia perfume or the C3PO tape dispenser, if you doubt me) but the unqualified winner was so terrible sounding that I honestly didn’t believe that it existed.  This has nothing to do with children’s literature in any way, shape, or form.  I just wanted to give you a couple new nightmares tonight.  Ladies and gentlemen, the Jar Jar Binks lollipop.  Sharp-eyed spotters may be able to see why it may be considered far and away the worst marketing of all time.

JarJarBinkLollipop

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11. Fusenews: [Space Available for Title Here]

Morning, folks.  Here in the frozen tundra they call the Chicago area (a hot toddy to anyone who can explain to me why the wind blows TO the lake and not from it) we’re huddled in our homes dreaming of spring.  So while you shiver and shake (obviously this does not apply to you tropical climate denizens) warm yourself over some truly goofy links today.

  • Many things changed when I moved from NYC to Evanston.  My commute is shorter.  The air is clearer.  And I’ve actually joined two (count ’em) two online mom groups.  I had sort of heard of them before, but the idea of joining one for NYC moms was too daunting.  With that in mind, this 10 Little Monkeys parody called to me.  It speaks truth.  Thanks to brother-in-law Steve for the link.
  • BookDriveCrop.2e16d0ba.fill-735x490So, uh, what’d you do this week?  Did you start a campaign to collect #1000blackgirlbooks?  A woman by the name of Marley Dias did that.  Marley is also 11.  Marley is clearly going to rule the world someday and I welcome that day when it comes.  In the meantime, those authors and illustrators amongst you that have something to contribute, you might want to learn more.  The address on where to send the books appears at the end of the article. Thanks to mom for the link.
  • There are many places to go if you’re in the mood to see what precisely people are talking about when they discuss A Birthday Cake for George Washington.  I’ve very much enjoyed the comments on Read Roger’s recent post A Bumpy Ride.  Also enjoyable is Mitali Perkins’ blog where she considers what a different biography of Hercules might consist of.  Food for thought.
  • Look what Bob Staake’s next book looks like!! Look familiar?

CZRn-7bUEAATT9K

Screen Shot 2016-01-21 at 10.45.54 PMEvery year USBBY (the United States Board on Books for Young People) creates a list of Outstanding International Books.  They recently released their 2016 Outstanding International Books and it’s well worth a gander.  If you feel that your knowledge of international children’s literature is lacking, boy are you in luck! The list is also available in bookmark form and as a Google Map form with annotations and cover art.  Looking at it, you get a real sense of which countries are producing the most interesting children’s book imports. Wouldn’t mind an uptick in the number of African nations and South America is fairing poorly.  I remember from my time visiting the Bologna Book Fair about 5 years ago the lack of South American books.  If I recall, they mostly import and translate titles.

  • They’re turning a YA novel into an opera.  Cool, right?  Let’s just go and see which one it’s gonna beeeeYAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!  THAT one?  They’re turning THAT novel into an opera?  The novel that takes huge bites out of my soul every evening since I read it?  THAT one?

Cool.

Daily Image:

This is for you teachers and parents out there.  The V&A Museum has come up with this amazing design-your-own-wig feature on their website.  Informative and fun and kind of disgusting all at once.  What’s not to love?  Consider this my ode to Seuss.

Screen Shot 2016-01-21 at 10.41.57 PM

Many thanks to Alison Goodman for the link.

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12. Fusenews: “I was at dog church!”

  • First and foremost, this:

KadirNewYorker

That would be Kadir Nelson’s tribute to the Schomburg Library in NYC. A couple things to note about it.  First, in an amazing bit of research you can see that he includes both the old Schomburg Library (now overrun with ivy) and the new Schomburg together at the bottom.  Second, the inclusion of Langston Hughes front and center is particularly clever since Langston is practically the first thing a person sees when they enter the building.  Or rather, Langston’s words which are embedded in the very floor.  I do miss the Schomburg. This brought all that back.

  • In all the talks we’ve heard from people about A FINE DESSERT and A BIRTHDAY CAKE FOR GEORGE WASHINGTON, I sometimes feel like we haven’t heard enough from the teachers about how they teach topics like slavery.  That’s why posts like Monica Edinger’s In the Classroom: Teaching About Slavery are so important.  If you read no other link today, read this one.
  • This one’s for the librarians.  Want to know all the different rates publishers charge libraries for ebooks?  A handy dandy chart explains all.
  • Travis Jonker knew not what he hath wrought when he posted about The Most Annoying Board Book Ever.  I know precisely what book he’s talking about (as does anyone else who has encountered it).  I never get rid of books, as my household will attest, but THAT book I gave away with a flourish when I moved.  I wasn’t going to use precious box space cluttering it up with that monstrosity.  One of the buttons that’s supposed to sound like snoring actually sounds like Darth Vader.  And believe you me, you do NOT want the unsettling feeling that Vader is lurking around your house.

Screen Shot 2016-02-18 at 10.22.02 PMSpeaking of radio, have you guys all heard James Kennedy (of 90-Second Newbery and The Order of Odd Fish fame) on Matthew Winner’s Let’s Get Busy podcast?  If you listen to no other interview on that show (and I include my own when I say that) listen to this one.  The two guys basically hit it out of the park right at the start when James mentions the plethora of The Call stories as they relate to ALA Award committees.  The dog church bit . . . seriously, you just have to listen.  And not just because an Oakland newspaper said of James that, “Between his wardrobe choices and excited mannerisms, he had the familiar air of Professor Gilderoy Lockhart in the Harry Potter film adaptations, only he was not a braggart.”  I always think of him as more a Xenophilius Lovegood type, but maybe that’s just the Rhys Ifans talking.

  • Man. I gotta apologize. Somebody somewhere alerted me to the Booktoss piece Say It With Me: Intersectionality and I’ve forgotten who they are.  Mea culpa.  In any case, this is a great piece of writing.  From Beyonce at the Superbowl to Ben Hatke’s Little Robot.  Not an easy connection, but Laura Jimenez manages it.  Kudos.
  • I think I failed to post this before, but Mike Lewis did a killer rundown of the CTTCB’s Social Media Institute in his piece Exiting the Echo Chamber.  I am, however, a little jealous at the title.  Wish I’d thought of it myself.
  • Why, yes.  I would like to attend a Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry exhibition at the Brooklyn Public Library.  However did you know?  But quick question: When did Wendell Minor illustrate the series?  It makes me happy but I want to see that work.
  • Things I’m Surprised More Publishers Don’t Do With Their Backlist: This. I guess it helps if you have a big recognizable name, but still. Now can we PLEASE discuss doing this with William’s Doll?  You want money?  I have money. (Fun Fact: I don’t have money – I just want to see it brought into the 21st century)
The tattered and faded stuffed animals--Pooh, Tigger, Kanga, Eeyore and Piglet--that inspired the children's tales of A.A. Milne sit in a glass case at a branch of the New York Public Library in New York, Thursday, February 5, 1998. New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani paid a visit to the animals Thurday to show his support for keeping them in the city.(AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

Pooh and friends pre-2008

Though it contains an image of the original Winnie-the-Pooh toys that has to be more than eight years old (Donnell Library!), the Huffington Post article Christopher Robin Was Real, And Other Facts About Winnie-The-Pooh’s Author has some nice items in it.  Particularly point #2.  H.G. Wells?  Really?

  • Here’s another one for the librarians.  Booksellers too, as it happens.  According to a recent Nielsen Report, Social Omnivores And Book Placement Majorly Influence Children’s Book Buyership.  No surprises there.  What is surprising is that when it comes to selecting books, “The shelf has more influence than the promotional table, window display, bargain bin, etc. combined by a very wide margin.”.  Yep.  Your displays may look all kinds of pretty, but nothing beats good old fashioned shelving when it comes to checkouts/sales.  Who knew?  Thanks to Carl Schwanke for the link.
  • Word I Don’t Use Enough: Ostrobogulous. Disagree on peril of defining it (though this may help). Thanks to Phil Nel for the link.
  • “Where are the children’s books that celebrate working-class values and voices?” is not a question being asked by many folks here in America.  It is, however, being asked in The Guardian by Elen Caldecott.  And it is a question I would very much like us to start answering over here as well.
  • Daily Image:

Alison Morris, currently working as the Senior Director of Collection Development & Merchandising at First Book, is the cleverest crafty person I know.  Years ago she showed me how to make F&Gs into birdhouses.  Now she’s making classic children’s characters into marble magnets.

MarbleMagnets

Want to make your own?  Instructions can be found here.  Cheers, Alison!

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13. Fusenews: Different cultures. Same battlefield.

  • LeapYearHappy Leap Day!  Unlike Leap Day William here I have no candy to bestow upon the weeping children of the world, but I do have some keen links.  First and foremost, this old newspaper article (possibly The New York Times) courtesy of Andrew Fairweather.  It’s a little difficult to read here but it says, “THE QUESTION: As a librarian, what was the most unusual request ever made of you?” Between the voracious pygmy pig, the nightingale being attacked and the primo embalmer, these are some good reference questions!

AndrewFairweather

Thanks to Andrew Fairweather for the image.

  • Just in case you missed it, on Febrary 24th there was a great piece called “You Will Be Tokenized” in Brooklyn Magazine which moves heaven and earth to correct many misconceptions about working in the publishing industry today (monetary misconceptions amongst others).
  • I’m not one for wallpaper.

What’s that, you say?

You said there’s Carson Ellis wallpaper out there?

EllisWallpaper

I’ll take three houses’ worth, thank you.

Thanks to Alison Morris for the link.

  • Speaking of PW, if you didn’t follow their recent link to this story on publishing children’s literature in Russia, you need to double back and do so. This is the kind of story I’d like to hear about more often.  International publishing is absolutely fascinating to me and we hear so little about it.
  • Read that article and then follow it up with a brief examination of the talk, “Brown Gold: African American Children’s Literature as a Genre of Resistance.”  In one case you have a government cracking down on precisely what children can and cannot read (“Between the ages of 6 and 12, children were allowed to learn about illness but not death”).  On the other you have an examination of children’s books by, “Alice Walker, bell hooks, W.E.B. DuBois, Nikki Giovanni, Maya Angelou and James Baldwin…”  The sole problem with this piece is that it doesn’t delve into Michelle Martin’s speech or link to a transcript.  Still, I love pairing the authoritarianism on the one hand and the resistance on the other. Different cultures.  Same battlefield.  Thanks to Phil Nel for the link.
  • Daily Image:

And finally, Boing Boing recently highlighted these shoes from Irregular Choices.  And though they may require taking out a loan on your home, I wouldn’t say no if you wanted to bequeath them to me in some manner.  I’m a size 9 1/2, in case you’re curious: Alice1Alice2Previous shoe-related posts may be found here.

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14. Fusenews: “Rich. Famous. That’s all I’ve got”

  • We’re diving right in today.  Check out this killer poster:

Censorship

Now if you’re one of the lucky ducks living in NYC, or will be there on the date of 4/16, you now have your marching orders.  This is an event held at Bank Street College of Education and in wracking my brains I can’t think of anything more timely.  You can see the full listing of the events here.  Wish I were there.  Go in my stead, won’t you?


 

  • New Podcast Alert: This one sports a catchy moniker that will strike some of you as familiar.  Kidlit Drink Night (which would also make a good name for a band, a blog, or a dog) is the official podcast of one Amy Kurtz Skelding.  There’s a bit of YA cluttering up the works, but enough children’s stuff is present to make it worth your pretty while.  Do be so good as to check it out.

  • Hey!  Hey hey!  The Eric Carle Honorees were named, did you see?  And did you notice that amongst them Lee & Low Books was named an Angel?  Such fantastic news.  A strong year of nominees.

 

  • So Phil Nel shared something recently that I’d like you to note. There is apparently a Tumblr out there called Setup Wizard which consists of the, “Daily Accounts of a Muggle I.T. Guy working at Hogwarts.” Phil suggests reading them in order. I concur. Thanks to Phil for the link.

 


  • I have lots of favorite blogs, but Pop Goes the Page clearly belongs in the upper echelon.  Two posts by Dana Sheridan (the Education & Outreach Coordinator of the Cotsen Children’s Library at Princeton University) caught my eye recently.  Dana, as you will recall, is responsible for my little toilet paper tube profile picture on Twitter.  Well now she’s used her knowledge of all things cardboard to create the world’s most adorable subway system complete with Broadway posters.  In a different post Dana, in partnership with The Met Museum’s Nolen Library (the one for the kids), shows a killer display on taking care of your books.  It doesn’t necessarily sound interesting, until you see how they magnified a book eating buggy.

  • So the other day I’m talking up Evan Turk and his new book The Storyteller, as per usual, and I mention to a librarian that the guy not too long ago did some killer sketches of Chicago blues musicians.  Naturally she wanted to see what I was talking about.  After all, I practically live in Chicago these days, so if there’s a talented illustrator going about making Chi-town art, it’s well worth promoting.  I took her to Evan’s blog and there, beautiful as all get out, is the art.  Then I thought I might share it with you as well.  This is just a tiny smidgen of what he has up so go to his blog to see more. The sheer talent of it all floors me.

Blues1

Blues2

Blues3


 

  • Do you know who is awesome?  Sharyn November, former Viking editor, is awesome.  So awesome, in fact, that she has her own brand of tea.  You can buy this tea, if you like.  I’ll put its description right here:

“sdn tea was created specifically for the punk goddess of children’s publishing, Sharyn November. This deity, who is all sharp angles, quick wit, and extraordinary fashion, is a fiery force of nature–literally and figuratively. She already has her own time zone, so it’s high time she has her own tea. This blend is strong and highly caffeinated. Almost impossibly fruity on the nose, it tastes of warm spice and goes extremely well with a piece of chocolate and a cigarette.”


 

  • Do school librarians yield higher test scores?  You may have always suspected that was the case but a recent study out of South Carolina now has some facts so that you can put your money where your mouth is.  Are you a school librarian in need of justifying your existence to your employer?  You can’t afford not to read this SLJ piece.

 

  • I dunno.  I get Neil Patrick Harris playing Count Olaf in the new Netflix series of A Series of Unfortunate Events.  That makes sense to me.  It’s Dr. Horrible without the songs.  Sure.  But Patrick Warburton as Snicket?  Last time we had Jude Law, and I’m pretty sure that was the right move to make.  Puddy as Lemony Snicket seems to lack the right panache.

 

  • In America we have our Newbery and Caldecott Medals.  In England it’s all about the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Awards.  And unlike the States, they create shortlists.  Those shortlists have just been released for 2016 and (also unlike the States) they nominate books outside their nation.  So Canadians like Jon Klassen and Sydney Smith have a fighting chance.  I agree with Travis Jonker, though.  The alternate title for Sidewalk Flowers was a surprise.

 

  • On the old To Do list: Meet Jan Susina, the Illinois State English Professor who also happens to be an expert on children’s literature.  In a recent interview he produced this marvelous mention of Beatrix Potter: “Potter once said, ‘Although nature is not consciously wicked, it is always ruthless.’ Peter Rabbit is a survival story, not a cute bunny story.”  How perfectly that quote could have worked in Wild Things.  Ah well.  The entire interview is well worth your time, particularly his answer to the question, “What is the greatest secret in children’s literature?”  The answer will surprise you.  Thanks to Phil Nel for the link.

 

  • This Saturday I’ve a Children’s Literary Salon at 2:00.  Yet a couple months ago I hosted Jeff Garrett who spoke about his work with the Reforma Children in Crisis Project.  You can imagine how pleased I was to hear that ALSC will be donating $5,000 to the project as well.  Fantastic news.

 

  • Daily Image:

I was dumpster diving in the donation bin this week when an old book caught my eye.  Hate to say it, but this thing seriously disturbs me.  They just don’t make ’em like this anymore (phew!).

YourWonderfulBody

Run, girl, run!!  Or rather . . . skate, girl, skate!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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17. Fusenews: Gravel in the bed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Thanks to Stephanie Whelan for the link.

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

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

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

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

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

Need I say more?

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

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19. Fusenews: Sweet Uncanny Valley High

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks to Stephanie Whelan for the link.

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

EvanstonFalcon

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

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

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

Like I say.  Jaw-dropping.

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Daily Image: 

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

GiantDanceSummerList

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

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

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

margaret

So did this, actually.

WaldoGag

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

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

CrossoverFloat

Thanks to Junko for the image.

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22. Fusenews: And the tree was moderately amused

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

bookfaceNelson

I think the Libba Bray one is particularly inspired too.

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

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

0109_poster_B1_右下統一

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23. Fusenews: Anagnorisis, Masks of the Oculate Being, and More . . .

  • DearMrPotterMorning, folks. I’ve been looking to expand my knowledge beyond just children’s literature, so I figured a good podcast would be the best way to go.  After reading Bustle’s 11 literary podcasts to get your bookish fix throughout the day I settled on Books on the Nightstand as the closest thing out there to a Pop Culture Happy Hour of books alone.  Yet even at that moment I couldn’t escape the world of kidlit.  The aforementioned Bustle piece also recommended a podcast called Dear Mr. Potter, described as “an extremely close read of J. K. Rowling’s series, starting with book number one. Host Alistair invites comments and thoughts from readers as he dissects each chapter, (there are live YouTube and Twitter chats before the audio is archived for the podcast) and is able to do some bang-up accents of beloved characters like Professor McGonagall and Hagrid.”  Well, shoot.  That sounds good too.
  • Speaking of podcasts, you heard about The Yarn, right?  That would be the podcast started by Travis Jonker and Colby Sharp that follows a single book through its creators and helpers.  Having finished Season One, our intrepid heroes had a Kickstarter, met their goal, and are now soliciting ideas for Season Two.  Might want to toss in your two cents or so.  Such an opportunity may not arise again.
  • So I say “Proust Questionnaire: Kidlit Edition“, and you say, “Come again?” And I repeat, “Proust Questionnaire: Kidlit Edition”, and you say, “I’m sorry, but you’re just putting a bunch of random words and names together higglety-pigglety.” At which point I direct you to Marc Tyler Nobleman and his interview series. The questions are not too dissimilar from the 7-Impossible Things interview questions, which in turn were cribbed from Inside the Actor’s Studio, (though I forget where they got them before that). For my part, I read the ones up so far and I am now entranced by Jonathan Auxier’s use of the word, “anagnorisis”. Proust would approve.
  • The Bloggess likes us, we the librarians.  We could have guessed that but it’s nice to have your suspicions confirmed from time to time.
  • Kidlit TV: It’s not just videos!  Case in point, a recent interview with my beloved co-author Jules Danielson in which she says very kind things about myself and my fellow Niblings.  She is a bit too kind when she says that, “Betsy never whines or feels sorry for herself.”  This is the advantage, dear children, of co-writing a book with someone in another state.  They will not see you whine or kvetch in person, thereby leading them to believe that you are better than you are.  Learn from my example.
  • As ever, Pop Goes the Page takes the concept of activities in a children’s library (or, in some cases, a museum) to an entirely new level.  Good for getting the creative juices flowing.
  • And now it’s time for another edition of Cool Stuff on the Internet You Didn’t Know and Weren’t Likely to Find By Browsing.  Today, the Kerlan Collection!  You may have heard of it.  It’s that enormously cool children’s book collection hosted by the University of Minnesota.  Cool, right?  You may even have known that the doyenne of the collection is Lisa Von Drasek, who cut her teeth at the Bank Street College of Education’s children’s library for years n’ years.  Now she’s given us a pretty dang cool online exhibit series tie-in and if you happen to know a teacher in need of, oh say, primary sources and picture book nonfiction titles, direct them to the Balloons Over Broadway site.  Explore the links on the left-hand side of the page.  You won’t regret the decision.
  • Here in Evanston, October will bring The First Annual Storytelling Festival.  A too little lauded art that can be sublime or painful beyond belief, the festival will be quite a bit of the former, and very little of the latter.  If you’re in the area, come by!
  • We all know from Mister Seahorse by Eric Carle that it’s the daddy seahorses that shoulders the bulk of the parenting responsibilities in the wild.  Now travel with me over to Portland, Oregon where the husband of a buddy of mine just started Seahorses, “Portland’s first dad and baby store.”  I helped them come up with some of the good daddy/kid picture books they’re selling there.  If you’re an author in the area with a daddy/child title to your name, consider contacting them.  They’re good people.
  • Lucky, Baltimorians.  You get to host Kidlitcon this year.  I would go but my October is pure insanity, travel-wise.  You go and write it up for me, so I don’t feel like I’m missing anything.  I don’t mind.  Really.
  •  Daily Image:

And finally, this is precisely what you think it is.

GoodnightConstructionPJs

Yep. Goodnight Goodnight, Construction Site PJs.  Awesome?  You betcha.

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24. Fusenews: Saving the Second Penny

The problem with this Fusenews feature is that if I don’t do them regularly then the news out there builds up, builds up, builds up, until there’s so much of it out there that I’m almost embarrassed to do anything with it.  Such is the case today!  And, as per usual, I’ll say that I’m just going to type these pieces up very fast, when in truth it’s pretty much going to be the same kind of thing I always do.  Truth!  Let’s do it.

  • I highly recommend that each and every last one of you guys move to Illinois.  The people here are so freakishly nice it’s amazing!  Case in point, SCBWI-IL and The Center of Teaching Through Children’s Books are pairing up to have me talk to a whole bunch o’ folks on the evening of October 7th.  Isn’t that kind of them?  If you live in the area, please come by.  I like to blather and while doing it in my own head is fine, it’s much nicer when there’s a healthy number of other people out there to absorb the blow.

 

  • SoulOctopusIn case you missed it the National Book Awards Longlist for Young People’s Literature was released last week.  A very YA-centric list indeed with only two clear cut books for kids.  Yet look in other categories and you’ll find that children’s authors do not relegate themselves solely to the children’s category.  For example, in the adult nonfiction section you’ll see that our beloved Sy Montgomery has been nominated for The Soul of an Octopus.

 

  • New Blog Alert: Reading While White.  You might argue that that is the unspoken title of most children’s literature blogs, but in this case they’re acknowledging the fact freely and commenting on what that means all the while.  There are some fascinating pieces on there already, so if you’re anything like me you’re checking it daily.  Ooo, I just love folks that aren’t afraid to touch on potentially controversial topics for the sake of making the conversation at large a richer experience.

 

  • In a particularly unfunny move, The Roald Dahl Estate has closed down the beloved Roald Dahl Funny Prize that was the brainchild of Michael Rosen.  Why?  There are hems and haws to sort through here but I think the key lies in the part where they say that in conjunction with next year’s centenary celebration, “the estate would be focusing on a new children’s book prize to be launched in the US.”  So clearly they didn’t want two Roald Dahl prizes out there.  One wonders if this mysterious prize in the US will also be for humor.  I suspect not, but I’d be awfully interested if any of you have further details on the mater.

 

  • If you were once again faithfully checking your Iowa Review this season (ho ho) you might have seen three interesting things.  #1 – It contains a “portfolio” all about children’s books this month.  #2 – The cover is by Shaun Tan.  #3 – Phil Nel’s piece A Manifesto of Children’s Literature; or Reading Harold as a Teenager is free for viewing online.  I should note that the actual issue also has pieces by Jeanne Birdsall (yay!), Mr. Tan, and Kevin Brockmeier, so get thee to an academic library!  Stat!

 

  • I don’t do much in the way of Instagram myself, but even without knowing it I can acknowledge that this Buzzfeed piece on what would happen if Hogwarts characters had it was rather inspired.  Thanks to Travis Jonker for the link.

 

  • my-friend-rabbit-tattooYou ever hear the one about the bookseller who would get artists to draw their best beloved picture book characters on her arms and then she’d tattoo them there?  Yes?  Well, I hadn’t heard about her for a couple of years so I decided to check in.  And lo and behold, one of my new neighbors here in the Chicago area, Eric Rohmann, was the creator of her latest tat.

 

  • If someone asked you to suggest a children’s book that they hadn’t read but should, what would you choose?  It helps if the person asking is British and wasn’t practically required by law, like those of us here in the States, to read certain books in the U.S. kidlit cannon.  My suggestion was actually Half Magic by Edward Eager.  See some of the others here.

 

  • Wowzer. Children’s authors have power. Don’t believe me?  See what Marc Tyler Nobleman pulled off with DC Entertainment. Well done, sir!

 

  • Speaking of superheroes, two years ago Ingrid Sundberg drew a whole host of children’s and YA authors as spandex-wearing, high-flying, incredibles.  It’s still fun to look at today here.

 

  • Me Stuff (Part Deux): It’s a little old but I was interviewed by Joanna Marple not too long ago.  There’s some good stuff there, like shots of the dream office I aspire towards (hat tip to Junko Yokota, though).

 

  • I feel a bit sad that I never read Lois Lowry’s Anastasia books when I was a kid.  I think I would have related to them (or at least to her glasses which originally rivaled mine in terms of width and girth).  How I missed these books I’ll never know.  Now I’m reading all about the changes being made to the newly re-released series.  Some make sense but others (changing Anastasia, Ask Your Analyst to Anastasia Off Her Rocker) don’t make a lick of sense.  I get that “analyst” is not a common term these days. I care not.  The term “off your rocker” is, after all, no less dated.

 

  • Daily Image:

There are fans and then there are fans.  And best beloved is the author or illustrator who meets a fan who knows, really knows, how to quilt.  Ms. Sibby Elizabeth Falk showed this to Jane Yolen recently.  It’s Owl Moon like you’ve never seen it before:

SibbyElizabethFalk

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25. Fusenews: In and out of the loop I go

  • PeanutsTributeI mention to folks that in my new job I actually don’t work day-to-day with children’s books all that often anymore and they wonder how I’m coping.  As it happens, I’m just ducky.  Since my spare hours are just as chock full of kidlit as before, I honestly don’t feel like I’m missing too much.  I still read my reviews and get my galleys.  But occasionally something will be published and I’ll be hit by an overpowering wave of self-pity.  This week’s, “Why Didn’t I See That?!” kvetch-fest?  Peanuts: A Tribute to Charles M. Schulz by Charles M. Schulz, illustrated by Matt Groening, Raina Telgemeier, and Jeffrey Brown amongst MANY others. And it’s a 2015 title at that.  Waaaaaaaant.
  • Meanwhile, another very cool looking book was recently released.  Jules at the Kirkus version of 7-Imp has the skinny on The Complete Alice a.k.a. what you can get me for Christmas.
  • I think I could be happy if I just spent the rest of my life reading snarky reviews of that darn rabbit book. First there was Travis.  Then Roger.  And yes, I know that the more we talk about the bunny monstrosity the more time it will take before it goes away.  But we have such a lovely literary community there of mutual appreciation that when we are actually allowed to dislike something, it has a tendency to go to our heads.  Wascally wabbit.
  • Sure, they’re a mammoth publishing entity of massive production and countless staff but . . . awww. Look what Harper Collins did for Harold’s birthday.  Ain’t it sweet?

LforLibrarianHmm. Sounds good at first. The headline reads, “Tired of stereotypical characters in books for girls, this dad wrote his own.”  Then it shows a book of various professions helmed by women in an abecedarian fashion.  It’s no Rad American Women A to Z but it’ll do.  Except . . . when you get to “L”.  I don’t generally get all hot under the collar when folks stereotype my profession, but COME ON, MAN.  Shoot, it’s images like that that kept me out of the profession in the first place.

  • File this one away in the It Isn’t Just Me drawer.  Some of you may be aware that before I post an episode of Fuse #8 TV, a series where I interview authors and illustrators in a free and easy manner, I always begin with a bit of “Reading (Too Much Into) Picture Books”.  This is a series where I acknowledge (without actually saying outright) that when a parent reads a picture book too many times to a small child, they start to conjure up some pretty crazy theories about the text.  Well, thanks in large part to a recent New Yorker profile of Sandra Boynton by Ian Bogost, I see that I am not alone.  I’m actually in awe of his take on But Not the Hippopotamus.  The North America vs. Africa vs. Central America theory?  Brilliant!  By the way, my most ambitious re-interpretation will preface my Fuse #8 TV episode this coming Thursday.  Be prepared for a truly wacky one.
  • Okay. That’s it. No one’s allowed to quit their blogs anymore.  I like the blogs that I like.  I may not check them every day but I like the reliability of visiting them and seeing something new.  And I get very sad indeed when the best ones fall by the wayside.  I mean, let’s say someone walked up to you and asked, “What’s the best children’s literature blog where real kids review real books . . . and it’s fun to read?”  You would answer without hesitation (if you were me, that is), “Aaron Zenz’s Bookie Woogie blog, of course!”  Well, here’s the thing.  The blog?  It’s had a nice run.  Seven years worth, in fact.  And now it’s done.  Over.  Kaputski.  And we’re all just a little bit sadder today. *sigh*
  • Me Stuff: First off, I want to bow down low and thank profusely all the folks who came out for my joint SCBWI-IL/Center for Teaching through Children’s Books welcoming party last week.  It was, without a doubt, the BEST welcome party I have ever had, bar none.  I even signed someone’s cookie (that’s a first!).  If you live in the Chicago area and missed it, never fear.  You could come on out to EPL and see me present on the topic of picture books rather soon.  Yes, the very kind and talented Brian Wilson has allowed me to join him on his annual Best Picture Books Presentation.  I’ll get to talk about some of my too little lauded favorites of 2015, which is just a joy.  Finally, Chicago Magazine interviewed me recently.  They’re using the same photo from my Chicago Tribune interview, which is confusing, but the talk is entirely different.  It was awfully fun to do too.
  • FarmerWill1In my interview I actually mention The Guinness Book of World Records a fair amount.  Rather appropriate since I recently learned that the book Farmer Will Allen and the Growing Table has been selected by the Points of Light Foundation as the book to break Guinness World Record for the number of children being read to in a 24-hour period. Part of the Foundation’s “Read Across the Globe” initiative to raise awareness on the global literacy crisis, volunteers all over the world will read the book next Monday, October 19. Here’s a news article and a tv news report that say more about it.  Thanks to Philip Lee for the links.
  • Did you see?  They’re releasing Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman.  Wouldn’t be particularly notable aside from the fact that it’s always nice to see diverse books back in print . . . except something’s a bit different from the last time it was printed.  Did you notice what it was?  Debbie Reese most certainly did.
  • In case you missed it (like me) there was a new brouhaha last week.  This time it involved author Meg Rosoff.  There’s a recap over at Reading While White which breaks it down.  Aren’t recaps great?  There should be more of them out there these days.
  • Each year I try to write a review of at least one self-published book.  It can be a tricky affair since so many of them make common missteps.  That’s why I really appreciated the ShelfTalker piece When a Self-Published Book Is Done Right.  There really are some great ones out there.  Finding them is often the struggle, but when they work, they work.
  • By the way, I just want to give a shout out to The Curious Reader Store over in Glen Rock, NJ.  My buddy Tucker Stone was recently there and he mentioned that they had a particular love for Wild Things there.  Thanks, guys (but particularly Sally)! We do appreciate it.
  • Daily Image:

The title of this piece is 15+ Book-Inspired Pieces Of Jewelry For Bookworms, which you’ll see is a bit of a stretch. Still and all, I do like these Labyrinth earrings:

LabyrinthEarrings

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