December 12, 2017

The Advocate's Toolbox
Elizabeth Bird

About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird (fusenumber8@gmail.com) is a children’s librarian at the New York Public Library and blogs at “A Fuse #8 Production” on SLJ ’s website. Her last feature for the magazine, “Betsy Goes to Bologna” ( July 2011), offered a bird’s-eye view of the world’s largest kids’ book fair.

31 Days, 31 Lists: Day Twelve – 2017 Translated Picture Books

Initially I think I was going to call this list “2017 Imports” but that was a bit on the vague side. And was I really going to include all the Australian, British, Irish, Canadian, etc. books I admired this year? Seems a bit much. No, let’s instead offer an homage to the delightful translations of […]

31 Days, 31 Lists: Day Eleven – 2017 Bilingual Children’s Books

I wish I had kept better statistics over the course of my children’s librarian career. Maybe if I had I could give you a sense of whether or not the number of bilingual children’s books published in 2017 was higher or lower than normal. As it currently stands, I’m just pleased to see these books […]

Fuse 8 n’ Kate: Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans

If you’ve ever found yourself thinking, “You know, I like the Fuse 8 n’ Kate podcast, but would it kill them to occasionally do terrible French accents for long periods of time?” then have I got a show for you!! This week Kate’s sick, but we plod onward and upward. In the course of things […]

31 Days, 31 Lists: Day Ten – 2017 Math Picture Books

It’s almost unfair that I’m not including math for older readers on today’s list, but for that I think you’ll be best suited turning to the awesome Mathical Awards, given out each year. The Mathical Book Prize (given by a committee of math teachers, working mathematicians, and the occasional librarian like me) celebrates math in […]

31 Days, 31 Lists: Day Nine – 2017 Picture Book Reprints

Reprints! I may as well call this the zombie list for all that they’re celebrated, but celebrated they should be. I am always truly delighted when a picture book rises from the out-of-print dead to engage and delight young readers once more. Steadily throughout the year I’ve kept track of some of the brighter stars […]

31 Days, 31 Lists: Day Eight – 2017 CaldeNotts

They can’t win a darn thing, and that’s the truth. Sorta. Each year picture books are considered and assessed by the Caldecott committee to determine which titles are the “most distinguished” contributions to the field of children’s literature. And every year truly beautiful contenders will fall by the wayside, winning nothing. Why? Because when the […]

31 Days, 31 Lists: Day Seven – 2017 Funny Picture Books

And now, what could arguably be considered our most subjective of lists. As I like to say when I’m on the road with Funny Girl, humor really changes from person to person. What makes me laugh isn’t necessarily going to be what makes you laugh and vice versa. Still, I have this thing about honoring […]

31 Days, 31 Lists: Day Six – 2017 Alphabet Books

There’s always one. One sneaky little abecedarian delight that manages to elude my notice when I type up this list. This year it was almost The Little Red Cat, but I managed to remember it just in time. Still . . . I don’t trust myself. Someone’s not here. Can you figure out who it […]

31 Days, 31 Lists: Day Five – 2017 Rhyming Picture Books

This year something struck me about the rhyming picture book crop that usually eludes my notice. I think it’s easy to assume that because a book rhymes, it’s automatically funny. But some of the books on today’s list, like The Road Home or even The Pomegranate Witch, dare to be touching. This begs the question […]

31 Days, 31 Lists: Day Four – 2017 Picture Book Readalouds

When I became a children’s librarian the most nail-biting aspect of the job was, without a doubt, storytime. Granted, this may have had something to do with the fact that as part of my training meant doing a storytime for adults. Kids, as it turns out, are a completely different ballgame. My earliest attempts at […]

Fuse 8 n’ Kate: Corduroy by Don Freeman

The gift giving season is upon us so it seemed appropriate to foist upon Kate that old tale of copious consumption and old-fashioned department stores (with just a touch of multiculturalism for spice). Yep! Corduroy it is! I find it very very important to begin this podcast by laying down the law on Marry, Kiss, […]

31 Days, 31 Lists: Day Three – 2017 Wordless Picture Books

You know what’s funny? Last year I fully intended to do a wordless picture book list, but wasn’t able to find enough books. This year I was going to do nursery rhymes, and then found a complete and utter lack of them. But wordless? Not a problem! Wordless appears to be back, to the point […]

31 Days, 31 Lists: Day Two – 2017 Board Book Reprints and Adaptations

All right, class. Let’s define our terms. This year board books fell into three distinct categories. First, there are the original publications, such as you might find on yesterday’s 2017 Board Books list. Then there are reprints. These are books that were published originally as board books but went out of print at some point. […]

31 Days, 31 Lists: Day One – 2017 Great Board Books

The lists begin! And as with last year we’re kicking off with the youngest of readers. This is by no means the only list you’ll find out there of best board books of 2017. However, I do like to distinguish between my age groups when I present this list. As far as I’m concerned, board […]

Announcing the Return of 31 Lists, 31 Days!

The time is almost here! Almost here I say! Cast your mind back a year ago when, for whatever reason, I decided it might be a good idea to do 31 days of Best Of lists as they pertain to children’s books. That was then. This is now. And I am prepared to do it […]

Fusenews: “Luminous with the beauty and fragility of life”

Good morning, everyone. To begin today I’d like to note with sadness the passing of Sheila Barry, a publisher at Groundwood Books, who was always very kind to me. We’d often discuss the titles coming out of Groundwood and hers was a face I’d look for at every library conference. You can read the Quill […]

Fuse 8 n’ Kate: Strega Nona by Tomie dePaola

Kate is under the distinct impression that she sounds like Dracula in this episode, but I say she’s Luigi-tastic. She also had to edit the living heck out of this one because I just kept flubbing the lines repeatedly. I have no idea what was going on with my tongue that day. She in turn […]

HIC! by Anushka Ravishankar, ill. Christiane Pieper

HIC! By Anushka Ravishankar Illustrated by Christiane Pieper Tara Books $18.00 ISBN: 9789383145645 Ages 4-7 On shelves now Ladies and gentlemen I ask you, and I ask you truly, can you think of a more international childhood experience than the hiccups? Here we have an unwanted occurrence that comes to every nation in the world. […]

101 Great Books for Kids 2017 (Evanston Public Library Edition)

This week the “Best of” lists just started hopping out of the woodwork like fleas. On the one hand you have Kirkus, slowly releasing their lists in dribs and drabs, and on the other you have NYPL simultaneously dropping its YA and JUV lists with a great big thunk. I hear that even Chicago Public […]

Cover Reveal: Ocean Meets Sky by Terry Fan and Eric Fan

Now it’s no secret that I’m keen on one of this year’s Caldecott contenders, The Antlered Ship. As it turns out, this was just the prelude. Illustrated by The Fan Brothers, the two have shown a distinct liking for naval adventures. The proof?  Today, ladies and gentlemen, we present the cover reveal for their upcoming […]