August 17, 2017

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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.

The Artful Book Display: Getting It Right

The other day I posted my most popular tweet of all time. I didn’t really mean to but, as with most things on the internet, it’s never the tweet or the post that is most important to you that catches on like wildfire. In this particular case I was at Anderson’s Bookstore in Naperville to […]

Surprising Jolts of Children’s Literature: Of Bunnies, Cats, Monsters and More

It continues! As ever, folks just can’t seem to write books without slipping references to children’s books into them, left, right, and center. And while it seems an odd exercise to collect these titles, it’s also oddly informative. I’m still trying to piece together a unified theory about why this happens at all. No answers […]

Surprising Jolts of Children’s Literature: Of Bunnies, Cats, Monsters and More

It continues! As ever, folks just can’t seem to write books without slipping references to children’s books into them, left, right, and center. And while it seems an odd exercise to collect these titles, it’s also oddly informative. I’m still trying to piece together a unified theory about why this happens at all. No answers […]

Book Trailer Premiere: Frida Kahlo and Her Animalitos by Monica Brown, ill. John Parra

Every generation gets the Frida Kahlo picture book biography it deserves.  Now at some point here I’m going to write an article about why some female figures get picture books biographies while others do not, and what trends in the greater pop culture landscape control these choices.  Happily, I am of the opinion that the […]

New Fuse 8 n’ Kate Episode: Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman

Sometimes in the course of running through the classics Kate and I are in danger of looking at books for kids with too clinical an eye. For example, I might easily forget that Are You My Mother by P.D. Eastman is, at its core, a very sad little book. Fortunately Kate’s there to remind me, […]

Review of the Day: Patina by Jason Reynolds

Patina By Jason Reynolds Atheneum, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Books $16.99 ISBN: 978-1481450188 Ages 9-12 On shelves August 29th You cannot be a children’s librarian or an adult children’s book reviewer if you do not constantly remind yourself that you have to read outside your comfort zone on a regular basis. Our current […]

What Color Is the Past? History, Diversity, and Books for Kids

The headline caught my eye. In the Guardian it read Mary Beard abused on Twitter over Roman Britain’s ethnic diversity. Subtitle, “Classicist says her assertion that there was at least some diversity under Roman rule led to ‘torrent of aggressive insults’.” Apparently the BBC recently released a video for schools in which a high-ranking Roman […]

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 […]

Cover Reveal: Fairy Spell by Marc Tyler Nobleman, ill. Eliza Wheeler

Fake news.  It’s not exactly new. From the moment humanity created the idea of news they also saw the vast potential that comes with “tweaking” it, shall we say.  As librarians one of our jobs is to help turn out children into savvy skeptics. You can understand then why I’m always on the watch for […]

Who Killed Louis Slobodkin [‘s Art]? The Case of the Caldecott Award Poster

This is pretty much as low-tech as a mystery can go. More than anything else it’s a celebration of the fact that I’m not actually losing my mind. Half a year ago I got the chance to help moderate this really cool Mock Caldecott program that one of my librarians set up with the kids […]

Review of the Day: What’s My Superpower? by Aviaq Johnston, ill. Tim Mack

What’s My Superpower? By Aviaq Johnston Illustrated by Tim Mack Inhabit Media $16.95 ISBN: 978-1-77227-140-9 Ages 4-7 On shelves August 4th I credit Booger Beard. I will explain. While many children’s librarians will tell you that they have strived to make their book collections diverse and inclusive, they have always been hampered by what was […]

Book Trailer Premiere: How to Make Friends With a Ghost by Rebecca Green

There are book trailer premieres and then there are book trailer premieres. When Tundra Books asked if I might be interested in premiering the trailer for Rebecca Green’s simply adorable How to Make Friends With a Ghost, I thought it might be fun. Still, you know what’s even more fun that a trailer premiere? A […]

Cover Reveal: The Orphan Band of Springdale by Anne Nesbet

Last year I went a little bit gaga over a book that I truly thought was a standout. And while Cloud and Wallfish by Anne Nesbet didn’t get any of the Newbery love I so craved for it, my admiration for Ms. Nesbet’s work is, was, and ever more shall be through the roof.  Fast […]

New Fuse 8 n’ Kate Episode: Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister

We recorded this week’s podcast during Shark Week. What better way to celebrate than to read the shiniest fishy in the sea. This week we experimented with putting me in the left ear and Kate in the right. Is this a good way of handling the problem of our similar voices or deeply annoying to […]

Fusenews: Posthuman Pooh

Today on the Fusenews we begin with a mystery. Help me out here, gentle readers, I need your crowdsourced wisdom to solve a query for the ages. Every week I get my new copy of Publishers Weekly and settle down during my lunch break to read it cover to cover. It is one of my […]

Review of the Day: Let’s Clap, Jump, Sing & Shout; Dance, Spin & Turn It Out! by Patricia C. McKissack, ill. Brian Pinkney

Let’s Clap, Jump, Sing & Shout; Dance, Spin & Turn It Out! Games, Songs & Stories from an African American Childhood By Patricia McKissack Illustrated by Brian Pinkney Schwartz & Wade (an imprint of Penguin Random House) $24.99 ISBN: 978-0-375-87088-0 All ages On shelves now. Would you like to know the last film Orson Welles […]

New Fuse 8 n’ Kate Episode: The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

Oh. We churning them out now. We’ve got a rhythm. We’ve got a beat. And now we’re going to start rip-roaring through our books.  This week’s podcast episode (found here or on iTunes under “Kate n’ Fuse 8″) was a good one too. I decided to finally crack one of the Top Ten books that […]

Video Sunday: Smooth Brains

Over at Read-Aloud Revival they hosted two of my favorite people in conversation. Honestly if you could just give Jeanne Birdsall and N.D. Wilson their own talk show, I would be first in line to be in the studio audience. Here’s how they described this talk at Anderson’s Bookshops: Jeanne and N.D. are good friends, […]

Where Are All the Black Boys? A 2017 Assessment and Comparison

Recently I had a chance to see an upcoming jacket for a 2018 middle grade novel. Check it out: If the name “Varian Johnson” is ringing a bell, it may be because of this cover a couple years ago: His 2018 book, The Parker Inheritance, is billed as having distinct similarities to The Westing Game […]

The Refugee Children’s Books of 2017 and an Ode to The Arrival

Sometimes people turn to children’s literature in an attempt to ignore the goings on in the world today. But books for kids don’t exist in bubbles. A person could spend their entire life examining the many ways in which the world of adults seeps into books for kids. Why is this? Sometimes it’s unconscious. Sometimes […]