Fusenews: Sifting the Nifty
From sopping wet New York City here is your philosophical question of the day: If April showers bring May flowers, what the heck do May showers bring? Ponder that while I hand you a piping hot plate o’ Fusenews.
- My library branch is turning 100 next week (you may have noticed the pretty New Yorker cover that referenced this) but it’s acting pretty spry for a centennial. For one thing, NYPL is coming out left and right with fancy dancy apps! Here’s one for the researchers. Here’s another that’s a game. Here’s a third that lets you reserve books. Insanity!
- This week’s Best Post Ever: Travis Jonker is a genius. A full-blown, certified genius. He’s come up with a Middle Grade Title Generator that leaps on the current trend of titles that sound like “The (insert word ending in -ion) of (insert slightly off kilter first and last name for girls)”. He came up with a couple examples like “The Gentrification of Geraldine Frankenbloom” but his commenters really picked up the gist of the idea and ran with it. Rockinlibrarian’s “The Zombification of Apple McGillicutty” (which I would read in a red hot minute) may be my favorite but a close second was Lisa’s “The Excommunication of Willow Diddledeedee.” I got nothing so cool. The best I could come up with was “The Computerization of Sarasota McNerdly.” I doubt it would sell.
- Adam Rex recently penned a post that works as An Open Letter to Everyone Who Thinks It Must Be Easy, Writing Children’s Books. It’s in response to Paula Poundstone (whom I also like) and her recent faux pas on Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me when she told Brenda Bowen that she thought it would be easy to write a picture book. Note, if you will, that Poundstone has not actually attempted to do so. In fact, the only stand-up comedian picture books that immediately come to mind are those by Whoopie Goldberg, Jay Leno, Jerry Seinfeld, and Jeff Foxworthy. And weren’t those memorable! Not in a good way, of course. Particularly the Leno. *shudder*
- She wrote it back in 2006 but it still applies today (particularly in conjunction with Adam Rex’s post). Meghan McCarthy asks the age old question What makes us qualified to write for children? I believe Anne Carroll Moore once asked Ursula Nordstrom the same question about editing for children (a cookie for everyone who remembers Nordstrom’s response). Yet another reason why we need to follow-up on Peter Sieruta’s suggestion to create an Anne Carroll Moore/Ursula Nordstrom crime solver series. I envision Moore as the Bert to Nordstrom’s Ernie, don’t you?
- Speaking of Peter (my co-writer on a book we’re creating with Jules from Seven Impossible Things), recently Collecting Children’s Books did a great round-up of great authors Gone Before Their Time. I didn’t know any of the writers he mentions personally, but it’s not hard to feel frustrated when you learn that Louise Fitzhugh, as one example, died at 46. Gah!
Ow. Banged my head there for a second. On the one hand it hurts. On the other, I suddenly had a glimpse into the future. It’s the year 2111 and in a small school district in America Phyllis Reynolds Naylor’s Alice books are being challenged in a school library. Of course that’s happening right now (yet again) but I’ve no doubt that one hundred years from now folks will keep on keeping on. Hopefully I’m wrong. Sidenote: I wonder if those new Alice covers with the Julia Denos illustrations being published this year will make the books more bannable or less bannable in the future? Hmmm. Thanks to @ProfessorNana for the link.
It’s YA, but I think it’s worth checking out the Reading Rants review of Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone, just in case you want to see what one of the potential book jackets for the book looks like. I dare say it’s one of the most eclectic and original jackets I’ve seen this year. Hope it makes the cut in the end (it won’t).
- Looky! It appears that we have ourselves a brand new, bright and sparkly, Children’s Poet Laureate! That honor would fall upon J. Patrick Lewis. See, now I feel bad that the only books of his that I’ve reviewed were Blackbeard: The Pirate King and Skywriting: Poems to Fly. Not that they weren’t good books, but that still seems low for Laureate levels.
- I had a discussion with a librarian friend the other day (hi, Lori!) about the books we’ve been reading lately that needed to be edited down. More than one book this year has struck me as way too long and in need of a fine pair of pruning shears. That’s why it’s so gratifying to hear an author like Jonathan Auxier recount a moment when his editor wanted him to cut out a beloved paragraph. Editors: They can make books good. Special thanks also to Jonathan for taking my recent post on The Oz Quest Theory and turning it into a truly insightful consideration of the difference between poetics and hermeneutics. Something to feed that hungry brain of yours.
- Alice and Dorothy. Dorothy and Alice. Two classic children’s book heroines with vastly different modus operandi. That’s why it’s so cool that blogger/author/teacher Monica Edinger had her fourth graders compare and contrast the two heroines. She reads them Alice, they read Oz on their own, and then the two are compared. Would that all our fourth graders could have this chance, eh?
- We have Nonfiction Mondays, Poetry Fridays, and my own Video Sundays. So why not Book Talk Tuesdays? That’s the idea behind The Lemme Library’s newest feature, and it’s a bloody good idea. A well-written book talk is (to a children’s or YA librarian) worth its weight in gold. Check out the newest links gathered this week and get some ideas for book talks of your own.
- I love hearing about great children’s books from other countries so the post Put yourself in the shoes of your child learning to read about the French title Tibois Fait Son Musee by Ashlid Kanstad Johnsen. I can relate. I recently broke out my old high school French knowledge in an attempt to read the French graphic novel Akissi: Attaque de Chats by Marguerite Abouet (which, for the record, is a lot of fun) and probably missed more than I got. Thank goodness for the pictures, then!
- There’s a title for you. Super Obvious Secrets That I Wish They’d Teach in Art School. Know an up-and-coming illustrator? Or, for that matter, are you one yourself? Care to consider some pretty dang good advice? Have at it.
- Hey! Congrats to author James Kennedy on the birth of a beautiful bouncing baby girl! The heart-shaped birthmark is a nice touch. I have one on my right shin, so I can attest that they are definitely in vogue.
- I keep thinking about moving to L.A. and I keep being prevented. And now I hear that the city has been grilling its school librarians in an attempt to oust them completely? For crying out loud, what is going ON over there?!?
- Daily Image:
In case you’re in the market for a new bookmark. This was created by an artist who was reading Gregory Maguire’s Wicked.
Many thanks to bookshelves of doom for the link!
Filed under: Fusenews
About Betsy Bird
Betsy Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.
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