Fusenews: Some remedies are worse than the disease itself
Happy day after the day after Thanksgiving. Today I’m going to start you off on serious news story and that will pretty much set the tone for the day.
I live in Evanston, IL. It’s home to Northwestern University and like a lot of college towns it’s a pretty liberal place. We sit just north of Chicago. We’re are ethnically and economically diverse. We like to think we live apart from the rest of the world in a little bubble. We don’t and it behooves us to remember that. Unfortunately, we can be reminded in rather horrible ways sometimes. Last Monday evening one of my librarians discovered that a number of books on Muslim topics had been defaced with hate speech, swastikas, and offensive comments. Seven were specific to Islam. One of them was Glenn Beck’s It Is About Islam. The community responded swiftly and wonderfully, but it’s become a very big story. I’m replacing the books now.
It’s almost here! New York Public Library’s list of 100 children’s books is about to be officially released. Recently renamed 100 Best Books for Kids (an unfortunate moniker but NYPL is very keen on the word “Best” these days) it has an interesting selection. Odd choices too, like the fact that some of the nonfiction picture books in with the picture books section and some are in the nonfiction section. Some titles I haven’t heard of too, so I’m super excited to look into those. I did that list for something around 5-6 years, so my love for it is strong. Additionally, there’s a new list of 50 YA books on there as well. Win-win!
The Term “Graphic Novel” Has Had a Good Run. We Don’t Need It Anymore. I have no horse in this race. Glen fails to mention libraries in the piece, which I don’t think is his fault. He’s just ill-informed. Getting comics into the mainstream meant getting libraries on board, and the term “graphic novel” was very useful when it came to justifying such a book on our shelves. We still use it. Maybe it’s outdated. I dunno. I could go any which way. Still, until comics are used regularly in schools without massive quantities of eyebrow raising, I’ll not believe that comics have “arrived” quite yet.
The Undies are here! The Undies are here! If you haven’t voted over at 100 Scope Notes for the best case cover of a picture book in 2016, now is the time.
691. That’s how many children’s authors and illustrators signed The Brown Bookshelf’s Declaration in Support of Children. In it, it states, “we will create stories that offer authentic and recognizable reflections of themselves, as well as relatable insight into experiences which on the surface appear markedly different.” On the librarian side of the equation, bloggers like Roxanne Feldmann have published things like A Commitment to Social Justices and Compassion. In the comment section Bob Kanegis posted the 1955 dedication written by the United Nations Women’s Guild in their book Ride With the Sun: An Anthology of Folk Tales and Stories from the United Nations. It read:
The Children’s Charter
“There shall be peace on earth; but not until
Each child shall daily eat his fill;
Go warmly clad against the winter wind
And learn his lessons with a tranquil mind.
And thus released from hunger, fear, and need
Regardless of his color, race or creed,
Look upwards, smiling to the skies, His faith in man reflected in his eyes.”
Related. A not-really-a-children’s-book children’s book is coming out from Abrams called Bad Little Children’s Books by Arthur C. Gackley. You’ve seen this kind of thing online before. They take Little Golden Book styled illustrations and covers and then put some snarky comment with them. This just collects a whole bunch of them. No doubt some of you will receive it this holiday seasons from relatives who think, “You like children’s books therefore you will find this hilarious.” And it wouldn’t even be worth mentioning except for one cover in there that sort of moves it from mildly amusing to not amusing at all. One of the parody covers is called Happy Burkaday, Timmy. Accompanying it is a picture of a little girl in a burka holding a bomb. So. That. Now you know. Thanks to Sharon Levin for the info.
Let us turn our eyes to happier news. When the Wichita, Kansas chapter of Black Lives Matter and the Wichita Police Department held a mutual cookout, this captured the attention of the publisher Tanglewood. So moved, they decided to partner with libraries in some fashion. They donated 250 copies of The Kissing Hand to libraries that agreed to host an event in a community where gun violence had occurred. Then library partners were encouraged to work with a local chapter of Black Lives Matter (or similar organization) and the local law enforcement so both groups would have an equal part in delivering the donated books into the community. “Library partners were encouraged to work with a local chapter of Black Lives Matter (or similar organization) and the local law enforcement so both groups would have an equal part in delivering the donated books into the community.” Curious? More information here.
Vicky Smith recently alerted us to an interesting topic. While at the Maine Library Association conference she attended a workshop about the, “critlib movement in Maine. If you’re not familiar with critlib, it’s an attempt to marry critical race theory with librarianship in a pretty fascinating way. It encourages librarians to examine the ways the discipline privileges the dominant culture – for instance, Library of Congress cataloging places queer topics, consensual kink, and child sexual predation in the same conceptual bucket.” FYI.
I couldn’t say it better than Cameron Suey did. “Damn, Aesop is subtweeting America, hard.”
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.
SLJ Blog Network