New Fuse 8 n’ Kate Episode: Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters by John Steptoe
In this week’s podcast it took me what I consider a bloody long time to realize that all our previous picture books had one glaring thing in common. They were all by white people. And sure, we talked about misappropriation with Tikki Tikki Tembo and flirted with diversity with Heather Has Two Mommies, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that our creators have been pretty darn pale. To begin to correct this I pull out one of my favorite John Steptoe books. I was either going to be this or Baby Says and I wasn’t sure if that little out-of-print board book (the fact that it’s OOP is an industry crime, by the way) could sustain a full podcast. In contrast there is LOTS to talk about with Mufaro.
One of our readers was supremely clever and came up with the idea that we put our show notes into the actual episodes. I will definitely start doing that next week. This week, however, it’s business as usual.
Answer to the Rainbow Fish Question: The book is originally Swiss. Hence the original German title.
- My mom’s point about cocoons vs. chrysalises is backed up by this website for children. She’s not wrong. I wasn’t a biology major.
- This was the Australian classic I was thinking of that I called “long”:
- Reading Rainbow did indeed do this book, but it was later season, which explains why I never saw it (you can tell from the newfangled opening):
- And while we are talking about adaptations of the book, here’s a production of the stage version of Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters done at the Dallas Children’s Theater in 2016.
- I still see no reason Drew can’t make us a Shel Silverstein hologram.
- Here is the boy with the rather remarkable ears in the book:
- And the bird on the left here? That’s the YEAHHHHHH Bird.
- Here is the John Steptoe website, in case you’ve never seen it.
- This book was included on NYPL’s 100 Great Children’s Books, 100 Years which I put together with Jeanne Lamb. And I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
- Here’s Javaka Steptoe’s 2017 Caldecott Award winner Radiant Child:
- You can find information on the John Steptoe New Talent Award here.
- John Steptoe’s obituary ran in the New York Times, though I’m not so sure about that title: John Steptoe, 38, Illustrator, Dies; He Also Wrote Children’s Books.
- Here’s the short film Kate recommended called In a Heartbeat.
- And here is my recommendation. It’s the Radiolab podcast episode Breaking News.
- Thanks for listening!
Filed under: Fuse 8 n' Kate
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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