Fusenews: Nothing but death, deer, and Zionism as far as the eye can see
- Top of the morning to you, froggies! I had one heckuva weekend, I tell you. Actually it was just one heckuva Saturday. First there was the opening of the new Bank Street Bookstore location here in NYC. I was one of the local authors in attendance and, as you can see from this photograph taken that morning, I was in good company.
At one point I found myself at a signing table between Deborah Heiligman and Rebecca Stead with Susan Kuklin, Chris Raschka, and Peter Lerangis on either side. I picked up the name tag that Jerry Pinkney had left behind so that I could at least claim a Caldecott by association. Of course that meant I left my own nametag behind and a certain someone did find it later in the day . . .
Then that afternoon, after wolfing down an Upper West Side avocado sandwich that had aspirations for greatness (aspirations that remained unfulfilled) I was at NYPL’s central library for the panel Blurred Lines?: Accuracy and Illustration in Nonfiction. This title of silliness I acknowledge mine. In any case, the line-up was Sophie Blackall, Brian Floca, Mara Rockliff, and her Candlewick editor Nicole Raymond. It was brilliant. There will perhaps be a write-up at some point that I’ll link to. I just wanted to tip my hat to the folks involved. We were slated to go from 2-3 and we pretty much went from 2-4. We could have gone longer.
- I’ve often said that small publishers fill the gaps left by their larger brethren. Folktales and fairy tales are often best served in this way. Graphic novels are beginning to go the same route. One type of book that the smaller publishers should really look into, though, is poetry. We really don’t see a lot of it published in a given year, and I’d love to see more. The new Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award may help the cause. It was recently announced and the award is looking for folks who are SCBWI members and that published their books between 2013-2015. It makes us just one step closer to an ALA poetry award. One step.
- How did I miss this when it was published? It’s a New Yorker piece entitled Eloise: An Update. It had me at “The absolute first thing I do in the morning is make coffee in the bathroom and check to see what’s on pay-per-view / Then I have to go to the health club to see if they’ve gotten any new kettlebells and then stop at the business center to Google a few foreign swear words.” Thanks to Sharyn November for the link.
- Y’all know I worship at the alter of Frances Hardinge and believe her to be one of the greatest living British novelists working today, right? Well, this just in from the interwebs! Specifically, from agent Barry Goldblatt’s Facebook page:
BSFA and Carnegie Medal longlister Frances Hardinge’s debut adult novel THE KNOWLEDGE, about a London cab driver with a special license to travel between multiple alternative Londons, who, after rescuing a long-missing fellow driver, finds herself caught up in a widening conspiracy to control the pathways between worlds, to Navah Wolfe at Saga Press, in a two-book deal, for publication in Summer 2017, by Barry Goldblatt at Barry Goldblatt Literary on behalf of Nancy Miles at Miles Stott Literary Agency (NA).
Mind you, this means I’ll have to read an adult novel now. I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.
- Speaking of England, I’m tired of them being cooler than us. For example, did you know that they have a Federation of Children’s Book Groups? A federation! Why don’t we have a federation? I’ll tell you why. Because we haven’t earned it yet. Grrr.
- Ooo! A new Spanish language children’s bookstore has just opened up in Los Angeles. And here we can’t get a single bookstore other than Barnes & Noble to open up in the Bronx in English, let alone another language. This is so cool. Methinks publishers looking to expand into the Latino market would do well to court the people working at this shop, if only to find new translatable material.
- Fancy fancy dancy dancy Leo Lionni shirts are now being sold by UNIQLO. Some samples:
- Roxanne Feldman is one of those women that has been in the business of getting books into the hands of young ‘uns for years and years and years. Online you may recognize her by her username “fairrosa”. Well, now she has a blog of her very own and it’s worth visiting. Called the Fairrosa Cyber Library, it’s the place to go. However – Be Warned. This is not a site to merely dabble in. If you go you must be prepared to sit down and read and read. Her recent posts about diversity make for exciting blogging.
- Phil Nel has compiled the greatest Dr. Seuss blog post of all time. I said it. I stand by it. Doubt me if you dare.
- Me Stuff: Because apparently the whole opening of this blog post didn’t count. Now Dan Blank is one of those guys you just hope and pray you’ll meet at some point in your life. He’s the kind of fellow who is infinitely intensely knowledgeable about how one’s career can progress over time and he’s followed my own practically since the birth of my blogging career. If I appeared in Forbes, it was because of Dan. Recently he interviewed me at length and the post is up. It’s called Betsy Bird: From “Invisible” Introvert to Author, Critic, Blogger and Librarian. I feel like that kid in Boyhood with Dan. Really I do.
- It was Adam Gidwitz who alerted me to a theatrical production going on in town right now that holds my interest in its hot little hand. He says the company is fantastic and that the show is entirely worth it. Though, with a name like BAMBIF*CKER/KAFFEHAUS: A caffeinated ride through sex, death, deer, and Zionism how could it not be?
- Fact: The Cotsen Children’s Library of Princeton has been interviewing great authors and illustrators since at least 2010.
- Fact: Access to these interviews has always been available, but not through iTunes.
- Fact: Now it is. And it’s amazing. Atinuke. Gary Schmidt. Rebecca Stead. Philip Pullman. It’s free, it’s out there, so fill up your iPod like I am right now and go crazy! Thanks to Dana Sheridan for the info!
The other day I linked to a piece on the term “racebent” and how it applies to characters like Hermione in Harry Potter. It’s not really a new idea, though, is it? Folks have always reinterpreted fictional characters in light of their own cultures. This year the publisher Tara Books is releasing The Patua Pinocchio. Now I’ve been a bit Pinocchio obsessed ever since my 3-year-old daughter took Kate McMullen’s version to heart (it was the first chapter book she had the patience to sit through). With that in mind I am VERY interested in this version of the little wooden boy. Very.
- Ever been a children’s nonfiction conference? Want to? The 21st Century Children’s Nonfiction Conference has moved to NYC this year and it’s going to be a lot of fun. I’ll be speaking alongside my colleague / partner-in-crime Amie Wright, but there are a host of other speakers and it’s a delightful roster. If ever this has ever been your passion, now’s thWe time to go.
- Diverse books for kids don’t sell? To this, Elizabeth Bluemle, a bookseller, points out something so glaringly obvious that I’m surprised nobody else has mentioned it before. I’m sure that someone has, but rarely so succinctly. Good title too: An Overlooked Fallacy About Sales of Diverse Books.
- And speaking of diverse books, here’s something that was published last year but that I, in the throes of the whole giving birth thing, missed. The We Need Diverse Books website regularly posted some of the loveliest book recommendations I’ve ever seen. We’ve all seen lists that say things like “Like This? Then Try This!” but rarely do they ever explain why the person would like that book (I’m guilty of this in my own reviews’ readalikes and shall endeavor to be better in the future). On their site, the WNDB folks not only offered diverse readalikes to popular titles, but gave excellent reasons as to why a fan of David Wiesner’s Tuesday might like Bill Thomson’s Chalk. The pairing of Lucy Christopher’s Stolen with Sharon Draper’s Panic is particularly inspired. The covers even match.
I am ever alert to any appropriation of my workplace that might be taking place. Recently I learned that in the Rockettes’ upcoming holiday show there will be this set in one of the numbers. Apparently Patience and Fortitude (the library lions) will be voiced by (the recorded voices of) Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. I kid you not.
Years ago when I worked in the old Donnell Library I looked out the window of the Central Children’s Room to see three camels standing there chewing their cud or whatever it is that camels chew. They were with their trainer, taking a walk before their big number in the Rockettes’ show. The crazy thing was watching the people on the street. The New Yorkers were walking past like the it was the most natural thing in the world. This is because New Yorkers are crazy. When camels strike you as everyday, something has gone wrong with your life.
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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