Fusenews: She Has a Name
Well, THAT was exciting! I’ll confess that I had a hard time writing up this Fusenews last night. I kept dipping over to my phone to watch the latest results as they rolled in. To those of you that voted, well done. There is much to celebrate and much to keep fighting for.
Hm. So word on the street has it that they’re filming The Phantom Tollbooth again. I usually don’t pop my head out of the ground for this kind of thing unless a director has been attached. In this case, one has, and it’s Carlos Saldanha who did Rio, lo these many years ago. I’ve no real associations with Rio, or his subsequent film Ferdinand, so we’ll just watch this with a jaundiced eye for now. I might have preferred a director with a bit more of a distinctive vision, but then I start envisioning the Tim Burton or Wes Anderson (which might not be the worst thing) and then give up entirely.
When you’re a snob, you’re a snob all the way, from your first little sneer, to your last dying day (to coin a phrase). And I, my dear sweet darlings, am very good at my snobbery. Is it deserved? No. Not even slightly. But it’s there. Case in point, a friend of mine did a podcast with his brother at Sophomore Lit, where the two of them discussed Ellen Raskin’s The Westing Game. I listened to it, prepared to feel superior, with all my in-depth background knowledge. I was soon to find, instead, that not only did host John McCoy know everything about the book that I knew, he knew much much more. If ever you have loved that book, this is your necessary listening for the day. I am temporarily humbled, which is a momentous occasion in and of itself. Now I need to listen to the follow-up episode on Holes.
“For every smart, brave, adventurous fictional heroine, the author must supply 1.618 boys.” So says Judy Sobeloff in her Electric Lit article The Golden Ratio of Sexism in Children’s Literature. It’s interesting and frustrating by turns, for while I appreciate her points about how girls are often the third wheels in heroic trios, I feel that she’s making some pretty broad statements based on a relatively small selection of books. Take a gander and see what you think.
In the wake of the Pittsburgh shooting at a synagogue, there’s been a couple responses in the children’s literature community worth taking note of. First off, the Association of Jewish Libraries is offering a series of “Love Your Neighbor”-themed booklists, to help educate non-Jewish kids about Jews and Judaism. The first list they produced is called Standing Up for Each Other, and there are some truly great books there. I’ll be looking forward to more in the future. Read Marjorie Ingall’s piece on the lists over at Tablet Magazine and then drop by the Book of Life podcast where Jane Breskin Zalben comes on to talk about stories that model friendships between Jews and non-Jews.
News Article: Google Home will play music and sound effects when you read Disney storybooks
Me: Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. *sticks fingers in ears* Lalalalalalala…. I can’t hear you!
Authors. Illustrators. Take note. You could tap some doofus like myself to do your reveal and I might or might not do it, but let’s face facts. You’re the one who wrote the dang book. Who could do a reveal better than you yourself? Case in point, C.M. Heidicker’s recent reveal of the 2019 title Scary Stories for Young Foxes. Now THAT is how you do a reveal!
Though I do post things on Twitter, I’ve never had anything I’ve ever written go viral. I’m not even sure if you could call this “viral” anyway, but for me this is a rather large response. A co-worker of mine at the library recently put up this display, and librarians everywhere are keen on it. If you can’t make it out, it’s a sign saying “She has a name” where all the books have titles like “The Third Wife” or “The Undertaker’s Daughter”, with Post-It notes of the titular characters names slapped on the fronts.
Feel free to steal it for your own library or bookstore!
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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