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1. Fusenews: Properly vicious

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  Today some of this stuff will strike you as a bit out of date, but the bulk is pretty darn fun.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Go!  Play!

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

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

MaxBoat 500x373 Fusenews: Properly vicious

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

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

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

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

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

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

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2 Comments on Fusenews: Properly vicious, last added: 9/28/2014
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2. Fusenews: Private jet, please

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

KidlitCupcakes1 500x375 Fusenews: Private jet, please

KidlitCupcakes2 500x376 Fusenews: Private jet, please

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

Fairest Fusenews: Private jet, please

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

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

ReadBookShelves Fusenews: Private jet, please

Thanks to Aunt Judy for the link.

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4 Comments on Fusenews: Private jet, please, last added: 6/24/2014
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3. Fusenews: In which I cram in a whole mess of resources just for the heck of it

Two authors of children’s books passed away recently, one on the American side of the equation and one across the sea in Britain.  For the Yanks, Bill Wallace has been on our shelves for any number of years.  You can read a lovely SLJ obituary for him here.  As for the other person, that would be Mr. Samuel Youd.  That name, I suspect, raises few flags but if I were to tell you his pen name, John Christopher, that might be a different story.  Practically Paradise offers a great encapsulation of tributes to the man behind the tripod series (periodically we receive announcements that it will be a major motion picture, and then nothing ever occurs). There is also a nice remembrance in Timothy Kreider’s Artist’s Statement (more than halfway down) where he puts Christopher’s writing in context, highlighting its real strengths.

  • Great great, great great great great piece from Marjorie Ingall on the sticky tricky territory of teaching your kids about the Holocaust through books.  The advice offered from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. in the second to last paragraph of the piece should be printed out, laminated, and handed out to every parent there is.  Re: the recommended reading list in the final paragraph, ditto.
  • New Blog Alert: In other news the CBC (Children’s Book Council) recently celebrated their Diversity Committee “dedicated to increasing the diversity of voices and experiences contributing to children’s literature.” The members of this committee are from children’s book publishers across the board. Some great posts currently exist on the committee’s blog, all of which I recommend.  The piece on Felita is particularly noteworthy since the sheer lack of middle grade novels starring Hispanic American children gnaws at my entrails every year.
  • There was a recent article in the most recent American Libraries that got the juices flowing in my gray matter this week. In O Sister Library, Where Art Thou? author April Ritchie asks what it would be like if big public libraries with lots of funds paired with little libraries that need a leg up. “A new model for enhancing library services in these more vulnerable areas is emerging in Kentucky, a state with libraries at both ends of the economic spectrum.”  Awesome piece and an even better idea.  Go check that out.
  • I’m sure I’m not telling you anything new when I inform you that The Brown Bookshelf has again started its yearly initiative 28 Days Later, a celebration of African American authors and illustrators.  It is THE #

    7 Comments on Fusenews: In which I cram in a whole mess of resources just for the heck of it, last added: 2/11/2012
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4. Fusenews: If Henry James says it’s wrong I don’t wanna be right

I swear that every time my computer goes on the fritz I feel like I’m walking underwater for days on end while it’s in the shop.  I can’t do email effectively, I can’t update Goodreads, I can’t do anything without feeling like it’s all fake until that little laptop is returned to my knees where it belongs.  It’s a sickness, man.  Not healthy in the least.  But now that it’s back I can’t help but be thrilled!  Woot and woo-hoo and other “woo” related forms of cheering. Now on to the news . . .

  • First off, I’m pilfering this next link from the always amusing and informative Jennifer Schultz.  Because I am a member of PEN here in New York I’ve been vaguely aware of the efforts to help New Orleans rebuild post-Katrina (the Children’s/Young Adult Book Authors Committee helped move an elementary school library from St. Joseph’s School in Greenwich Village, New York City, to the Martin Luther King Jr. School in New Orleans and have continued to aid that school ever since).  The New Orleans public libraries themselves haven’t been on my radar as much.  Jennifer filled me in on the matter:

“Yesterday’s Times-Picayune (New Orleans’s newspaper) had an excellent article about the rebirth of the New Orleans Public Library system, which was devastated by Hurricane Katrina. Ever since they started to rebuild the libraries, their motto has been “Building Back Better.” The NOPL libraries were okay—they’ve always had strong community programming, but there was a lot of room for improvement—but drastic improvements were never going to be in the city’s finances, until Katrina came and they had no choice but to literally start over with many of their libraries. They didn’t want to just rebuild what they had—they wanted to take this unusual and tragic opportunity to make a strong and community-oriented system for the city. They wanted to make them public transportation-friendly, since many residents rely on it, technologically savvy,  environmentally-friendly—you name it. This is their website: http://nutrias.org/ (The nutria is a pest —they are great at destroying wetlands-and a source of humor in Louisiana-Louisianians can have a dark sense of humor. They had a rather colorful governor  years ago who suggested that folks should hunt and eat the nutrias in order to cut down on their numbers, and they’ve been sort of a joke ever since. Nutria fur is marketed as “guilt free fur,” etc).”

Thank you, Jennifer!  Fantastic info.  I can’t wait for ALA to return and to get to see the city (and it’s libraries!) firsthand.

5. Fusenews: Mysterious Edges, Heroic Worlds

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Daily Image:

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

398.2 Fusenews: Mysterious Edges, Heroic Worlds

Awesomesauce.  Thanks to Marchek for the link.

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6. Fusenews: Never Forget

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Daily Image:

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

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7. Fusenews: I mean, a fear of tent worms isn’t all THAT ridiculous, right?

I am indebted to Jenny Schwartzberg for bringing to my attention the fact that the BBC’s extensive archives are offering up recordings of some of the great British Novelists of the past.  These are both television and radio programs and they are intoxicating.  You can hear the very voice of Virginia Woolf herself.  And on the children’s side of things, there are folks like T.H. White, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Penelope Lively.  You could get lost in there.  Thank you for bringing it to my attention, Jenny.

  • New Blog Alert: And it’s a doozy too.  If you missed the fact that the magnificent Philip Nel started a blog called Nine Kinds of Pie recently, then now is the time to know.  Mr. Nel is that nice young man who teaches as a Professor of English at Kansas State University and also writes books like The Annotated Cat in the Hat and, my personal favorite, Tales for Little Rebels: A Collection of Radical Children’s Literature (that one was done with co-writer Julia L. Mickenberg, of course).  He updates his blog with frightening regularity as well.  Of course, it’s the summer.  The school year is only just now picking up.  Still, anything he cares to write is well worth your time to read.  Plus he wins an award for Best New Blog Title in our field.
  • All right.  Let me see what I can do with this.  Ahem.  So Beatrix Potter was friends with Anne Carroll Moore.  Anne Carroll Moore was a famous children’s librarian who worked at the main branch of NYPL.  I am a children’s librarian who works in the main branch of NYPL.  I have seen the picture Potter gave to Ms. Moore as a gift.  Ipso facto, I’m going to weigh in on the whole Emma Thompson writing a new Peter Rabbit story news item.  I feel entirely ripped in half too.  On the one hand, I love Emma.  I honestly adore her.  I think she’s a modern marvel.  I want to be her best friend and to just listen to her talk for hours on end.  On the other hand, this marks a very bad precedent: The celebrity picture book sequel to a classic work.  No.  No no, this will not do.  We can’t have Justin Bieber writing conclusive storylines to Stuart Little or Courtney Love putting the last touch on an official return to Wonderland.  Nope.  I love you Emma, but this cannot stand.  I’m sure you’re a perfectly fine writer, but you’re making it look too enticing to the others. Thanks to @PWKidsBookshelf for the link.
  • I envy not the good people charged by ALSC to regularly determine the official Great Websites for Kids as promoted by the librarians.  I’m just grateful they exist and that they’re willing to add some new additions.  Had I the power, I’d place these on my library’s children’s website pronto, if not sooner.  A magnificent resource.
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8. Fusenews: Laika Chow!

Marketing yourself.  Yeah, forget the hokey-pokey.  We know what it’s really all about in this game.  You poor authors and illustrators.  Isn’t it enough that you sweat and strain to create the highest quality literature for the generation that will inherit the earth after we are dead and gone . . . and now you’ve gotta go and publicize your own book yourself?!?  Who’s the yahoo who made THAT rule up?  I feel your pain, and so in an effort to help you I shall direct you, today anyway, to someone who shows that the best way to bring attention to yourself is to be creative, low-key, and involve a lot of other folks.  The author of Will Work for Prom Dress, Aimee Ferris (she of many names) has for the past few weeks been “posting daily photos of ‘mystery YA authors’ in their angsty teen best (showcasing a range of tragic teen fashion choices), as well as a few truly surly anti-prom shots on http://willworkforpromdress.com/ in anticipation of my upcoming book release on Feb 8.”  She’s calling it the “Promapalooza” and promises that in the future weeks there will be serious cases of “Man Perm” an “Agent Week” and much much more.  What she has up already is pretty impressive though.  I’m not giving away who the cute gal in this photo I lifted from her site is, but I will say that she has a picture book out this year (and she’s definitely not me).

  • Speaking of Blue Rose Girls, we’ve all heard of authors and illustrators talking about getting “the call” that told them they’d won a Caldecott or a Newbery.  But an agent talking about getting “the call”?  I’ve never heard of that one before.
  • Well, geez.  I was all set to tell you about Ward Jenkins and his crazy contest to convince enough people to “Like” his Facebook profile page for the upcoming picture book Chicks Run Wild.  He said that if 300 people “liked” it he’d wear a chicken suit.  The happy ending?  It hit 333 as of this post.  Didn’t need my help.  Chicken suit-up, Ward my man.
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9. Fusenews: I’m lovin’ it

New York, she is so snowy these days!  I’ve lived in this pleasant burg roundabout six years, by my count, but this is the first winter where the weather decided to bring back memories of my Michiganian (Michigander? Michiganolian?) youth.  Well, a good Fusenews is the perfect solution for any snowy day.  On to the top stories!

  • Some of us know Shaun Tan best because of his remarkable book The Arrival.  Others first became aware of him through his Tales from Outer Suburbia.  Now expect a whole new crew of folks to be introduced to him thanks to . . . his recent Academy Award nomination.  Yup.  I kid you not.  Check out the nominees for Short Film (Animated) and there he is alongside one Andrew Ruhemann for an animated adaptation of The Lost Thing.  It’s based on his picture book of the same name.  Haven’t read it?  Well, you lucky bum, you’re in for a treat.  Perhaps anticipating this Arthur A. Levine is releasing a collection of three Tan picture books in one volume called Lost & Found.  It’s due out on shelves this coming April.  If you can wait that long, of course.  In the meantime you can watch the trailer for the film here.  Thanks to Marjorie Ingall for bringing the nomination to my attention!
  • Say, this is fairly big news that’s making the rounds relatively slowly.  Are you aware that they have hired a new New York Times Book Review editor of children’s books?  Yes, they’ve been a little low-key in the announcement but thanks to this podcast from the National Book Critics Circle we have learned that Pamela Paul has garnered the choice position.  PW confirmed the choice here.  Ms. Paul has a blog of her own, which will give you a better sense of who she is and what she has done.
  • History Question: Has a paperback edition of a work of children’s fiction ever incorporated the awards it won into the design of its new cover?  If you answered, “No, and I doubt it ever will be,” think again.
  • One of my favorite little ole imprints is one that dedicates its time and attention to bringing out some of the strongest graphic novels for kids you will ever lay hands upon.  I hope you will all help me raise a glass and offer many congrats to First Second for celebrating their 5th Anniversary this year.  I’ve read a bit of that Zita the Spacegirl GN due out February 1st and it’s a fine example of what First Second does best.  Cheers to all!
  • Hrm.  The Scribd site is fast becoming the most dangerous one on the web.  I say this because I pretty much could read
    11 Comments on Fusenews: I’m lovin’ it, last added: 1/26/2011
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10. Fusenews: “Compare and contrast Goodnight Moon with The Sun Also Rises”

Lotso hotso news today, folks.  I hardly know where to begin.  Let’s start with the big news that the illustrious editor Margaret K. McElderry passed away recently.  I had mentioned The McElderry Book of Greek Myths in my Valentine’s Day post earlier this week.  Maybe she was on my mind.  In any case, there’s a great New York Times piece from 1997 on her.  I’m fond of it, not least because Eden Ross Lispon mentions four books McElderry edited right off the bat and they are ”The Borrowers”, ”Ginger Pye”, ”The Dark Is Rising”, and ”The Changeover.”  The Changevoer!!  The book I keep hoping will be reprinted soon so as to leap on the Twilight train while there’s still time!  In any case, I was unaware that Ms. McElderry worked in my own children’s room for years.  Good to know.  Fellow librarian and novelist Sara Ryan offers her own remembrance of Ms. McElderry and The New York Times wrote up one as well.  Dunno that they needed to include the idea that We’re Going on a Bear Hunt is “un-P.C.”  Um . . . maybe if you’re Stephen Colbert, but what precisely is “un-P.C.” about that book again?  It’s not like Oxenbury depicted the kids packing heat, after all.

  • In other news the Cybils Awards (the only awards awarded by bloggers) for children’s and YA literature were announced this week.  The Cybils strive to balance great writing with child-friendliness.  With those in mind I think their selections were top notch.  You can see all the winners here.  This year none of the books I nominated made the final cut, but I see that frequent commenter on this blog Eric Carpenter got TWO of his books on there!  Well played, Eric.  Well played indeed.
  • I like it when my favorite folks end up linking to one another.  I couldn’t have been more shocked, though, with a recent posting by Kate Beaton.  She was writing a comic about Ada Lovelace (and where is the children’s biography on the fact that the first computer programmer was a woman, by the way?) and then mentioned in her notes that there were some Jules Verne illustrations out there that were “definitely worth a look”.  I love me my Verne, and lo and behold who did Kate link to but none other than Ward Jenkins, he of this season’s Chicks Run Wild (by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen).  Ward speaks of Jules Verne: The Man Who Invented the Future by Franz Born, illustrated by Peter P. Plasencia circa 1964.  Worth your time.
  • Carbon dating jackets with headless girls and cupcakes.  The book that proves that kids will buy a hardcover to infinity if they like it (and no, it’s not Wimpy Kid).

    10 Comments on Fusenews: “Compare and contrast Goodnight Moon with The Sun Also Rises”, last added: 2/18/2011
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11. Fusenews: The YA Mafia is dead. Long live the YA Mafia.

Call him the Tupac Shakur of children’s books.  Or maybe that title should go to Margaret Wise Brown.  In any case, it seems that every ten years or so we get a new Shel Silverstein book or collection of poems entirely out of the blue (I’m counting Falling Up, and Runny Babbit when I say that).  At some point this will inevitably lead to an Elvis situation, wherein folks will start claiming that Silverstein never actually died and is currently holed up somewhere in Amherst, MA, biding his time, releasing his books on his own schedule.  This is, of course, wishful thinking on my part since Silverstein is the author who was alive during my lifetime that I would have most liked to have met.  Watch out, Steven Kellogg.  You’re #2.  In any case, here’s the scoop on the newest Silverstein.  The man’s still got it  / had it.

  • Sometimes you want to unlearn something you have learned.  Beware then, my readers.  Once you read this you can never go through life not knowing about it.
  • Now that is how it is done!  Over the Atlantic the British blog Playing by the book has posted a quite remarkable little piece on an exhibit currently showing at the Imperial War Museum in Britain (where I once bought this poster).  In the blog post How to explore war with children?, we are told that, “Once Upon a Wartime, an exhibition which opened earlier this month at London’s Imperial War Museum, takes five children’s novels about war and conflict and uses them as a starting point to explore what war can mean for children.”  The five books in question include War Horse by Michael Morpurgo, Carrie’s War by Nina Bawden, The Silver Sword by Ian Serraillier, The Machine Gunners by Robert Westall and Little Soldier by Bernard Ashley.  Of these I am ashamed to say I have only read Carrie’s War (which is brilliant).  The post then goes on to talk about the exhibits and shows copious photographs.  It’s enough to make you pine, once again, for England.  Thanks to Sara Lewis Holmes for the link.
  • I have this fantasy that someday I’ll conduct a video conversation with Travis Jonker where we converse entirely by holding up the titles of children’s books (after all, we know he’s ace with a video cam).  I think of such things when he makes similar projects look easy.  Take, for example, his latest book spine cento.  It’s all in preparation to get you guys excited about making your own book spine poems for Poetry Month.  I know I’m tempted.  Spine it up!
  • The Ancient Editor Rejects a Manuscript and in the process offers some very fine props to Mr. Dan Gutman.  Thanks to @medinger for th

    11 Comments on Fusenews: The YA Mafia is dead. Long live the YA Mafia., last added: 3/6/2011
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12. Fusenews: What’s wrong with this picture?

With Book Expo going full-blast in town and my library celebrating its Centennial all at the same time, blogging is possible but slightly more difficult than usual.  I am amused to find that when I skip a day some folks worry that I might be in labor.  Fear not.  I’ll find a way to update the blog with that news, come hell or high water.  Tonight, meanwhile, is also my final Kidlit Drink Night (at least for a while) so if you’d like to view my largess (or, rather, largeness) here are the details.  Meanwhile, back at the ranch . . .

  • So I go into the administrative office the other day to pick up my room’s checks and WHAM!  Two gigantic Lego statues of Patience and Fortitude (the library lions) are just sitting there, chewing their cuds (or whatever it is Lego lions chew).  I showed them to a class of second graders on a tour a day or so later (they’re on display in our main hall, if you’re curious) and one kid said that looking at them was like looking at a computer screen.  He had a point.  They’re mighty pixilated.
  • Wow.  That’s pretty cool.  The organization Keshet (“a national organization working for the full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Jews in Jewish life”) is releasing posters of LGBT Jewish Heroes.  One of the posters available?  Leslea Newman of Heather Has Two Mommies and my favorite LGBT board books Mommy, Mama and Me and Daddy, Papa, and Me.  Thanks to Marjorie Ingall for the link.
  • Do you have what it takes to take on the Sixth Annual 48 Hour Book Challenge?  I don’t want to hear your excuses!  I want to see you reading.  You’ve some time to prep so get those eyeball stalks limbered up.
  • Recently I attended SLJ’s Day of Dialog (slooooow emerging blog post to come on the subject).  The keynote speech was delivered by Katherine Paterson who began, much to my delight, with some praise of New Zealand children’s book superstar Margaret Mahy (who would be a superstar here if they just friggin’ republished The Changeover *coughcough*).  Anyway, it seems she recently won in the picture book category of the 2011 New Zealand Children’s Book Awards.  What would you like to bet me that someday they’ll rename those awards “The Mahys”?  I give it ten years, tops.
  • Speaking of aw

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13. Fusenews: Back to work, everybody!

Top o’ the Tuesday to you, gentle readers!  After a delightful Memorial Day Weekend of doing very little (aside from watching somewhat strangely high statistics for my dinky little Saturday review) I am now working my final week at NYPL before the imminent arrival of a brand new Baby Bird.  So let’s pack in the news items while we may, eh?

First off, big time thanks to everyone who showed up for the BEA Kidlit Drink Night.  We raised excellent money for Reading is Fundamental and Rasco from RIF provided her own sweet thanks as well.  Y’all are sweet and good and I appreciate you thoroughly.

And now the sad news.  I’m sure that some of you may have heard that librarian, blogger, and 2012 debut author Bridget Zinn died of colon cancer at the age of 33.  Tributes to her have been springing up all over the web and Liz at Tea Cozy has created a very impressive rundown on all the best Zinn links.  I was sorry not to have known her better.

  • I mentioned everything in my Day of Dialog rundown except the new books coming out.  Until I get around to typing that up, why don’t you head on over to the PW post BEA 2011: A Bountiful Fall for Children’s Books.  I’ve read some of those books, but a lot are unfamiliar to me.  Get a glimpse of what the publishers think will be big (warning: may differ wildly from what librarians think will be big).
  • I just can’t stop mentioning Candyland these days.  One minute I’m talking about the Candyland movie.  The next I’m insisting that you head over to The Scop where Jonathan Auxier talks up his favorite board game of all time: The Settlers of Catan. Sounds a bit like Risk except, as Jonathan says, “Risk is Candy Land in wingtips and a smoking jacket — a game of luck pretending to be a game of skill.”  I’m just amazed that no one’s done a Risk movie yet.  I mean, come on!  We’re already shooting most of our films in New Zealand/Australia anyway.  Clearly that’s where you’d have to set it.
  • Sounds pretty standard at first.  The online children’s book magazine Books for Keeps puts out a piece called Ten of the Best Dystopian Novels.  You probably are, like myself, expecting them to cover the usual.  Your Eva.  Your Z for Zachariah.  So it was with great pleasure that I noticed the #1 was The Wolves of Willoughby Chase.  Wait . . . oh!  Dystopian.  Not post-apocalyptic.  The other choices are just as fascinating (I always liked The Wind Singer).
  • Saying that there is go

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14. Fusenews: She could be Fuse #8.1

Okey-doke. So today we begin with an addendum.  I believe that it was not long ago that with the announcement of the new Printz Award blog Someday My Printz Will Come I mentioned its existence without acknowledging that there may have been another and previously existing Printz Award blog out there.  Well slap my sides and call me sally, my fellow co-author on an upcoming Candlewick book Peter Sieruta (who’s post delves deep into that moment when as an adult reader you discover that you are older than the parents in a children’s book) points out that there was already a Printz blog out there of venerable character and infinite wit called Printz Picks.  I can only claim ignorance, not being particularly familiar with the world of YA . . . but I think we all know that’s a bit of a cop out on my part.  Mea culpa, Peter.  I shall now read every entry on that blog to make suitable amends.

  • I do know enough about YA to concede that this news is big news, though.  Also, how amazing is it that her editor told her to rewrite it from scratch?  Now THAT is editing, my friends!  Well played, Kathy Dawson.  Well played, indeed.
  • Trend Alert: Well, it had to happen eventually.  I’ve been rendered obsolete.  Back in the day when I started visiting publisher previews and blogging about them I admit that I felt pretty clever about the whole thing.  No one else was blogging them, after all.  Here we had a brand new untapped resource for interesting blog fodder.  And from 2006 until today I was still one of the very few bloggers to do this.  It took roughly five years before a publisher thought to themselves, “Hey . . . Betsy’s not the only blogger in town, is she?”  No she is not.  So it is that Simon & Schuster has taken what I am regarding as the logical next step.  They’ve engaged the group Buzzing Bloggers (seen here:  http://twitter.com/#!/buzzingbloggers) to round up a group of NYC parental, toy, and gift bloggers for their very own preview, sans librarians.  I was invited to both the blogger preview (complete with childcare services) and the librarian preview (not so much) this season.  I am unable to go to either of them, sadly.  That’s okay, though.  I suspect that this is one preview that will be getting plenty o’ coverage.  Don’t be surprised if other publishers begin to follow suit.
  • Speaking of which, I attended a Penguin preview the other day that I need to write up.  Until then, some of you may be interested to know that there will be a new edition of that old Tam Lin takeoff Fire & Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones on the horizon. As editor Sharyn November tweets, “Yes — Spring 2012, along w/ A TALE OF TIME CITY and DOGSBODY, all w/ stellar introductions. These will be the definitive editions.”  You heard it here.
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