November 29, 2015

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Elizabeth Bird

About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird ( 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.

Video Sunday: Monsters, Taxidermy, LeVar and Adele (Though Not Necessarily In That Order)

Morning, folks! Not much in the way of videos caught my eye lately, but the following crew struck me as particularly toothsome. First up, LeVar Burton being LeVar Burton. Next up, libraries that circulate more than books. Things like . . . pelts! Cause where else are you gonna find a beluga vertebrae on such […]

Review of the Day: The Red Hat by David Teague

The Red Hat By David Teague Illustrated by Antoinette Portis Disney Hyperion (an imprint of Disney Book Group) $16.99 ISBN: 9781423134114 Ages 4-7 On shelves December 8th There is a story out there, and I don’t know if it is true, that the great children’s librarian Anne Carroll Moore had such a low opinion of […]

The Diversity List: Picture, Easy, and Early Chapter Books of 2015

So I’m going to confess something to you.  All year long, from January onward, I’ve been keeping track of any picture book, easy book, or early chapter book I’ve seen containing some kind of diversity.  Have I missed books?  Of course I have!  You cannot make a list like this without missing something.  Books from […]

The Strangest Pinocchio I Know

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about illustrated books for children (as opposed to picture books) in all their various forms.  And since I’ve a penchant for nostalgia, I often think of my youth and the illustrated novels I read then.  The mid to late 1980s were an odd time for illustration in general.  For […]

Review of the Day: Emu by Claire Saxby

Emu By Claire Saxby Illustrated by Graham Byrne Candlewick Press $16.99 ISBN: 978-0-7636-7479-3 Ages 4-7 On shelves now. Alas for poor emu. Forever relegated to be consider a second rate ostrich, it encompasses all of the awkwardness and none of the stereotypes. Does anyone ever talk about burying your head in the sand like an […]

Press Release Fun: Picture Book Summit Yields Big Rewards for We Need Diverse Books

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                CONTACT: Emma Walton Hamilton     Picture Book Summit 2015 Raises Over $7000 for We Need Diverse Books   Event Featured Mac Barnett, Peter Brown, Andrea Davis Pinkney and Other Top Children’s Authors   New York, NY – The first annual Picture Book Summit, an international online conference for children’s […]

Fusenews: “He’s a person and people don’t eat people”

It’s funny how you can start something and never see how that thing might be used in the future.  When I created the Top 100 Picture Books Poll and the Top 100 Children’s Novels Poll back in the day, I figured they could be useful books insofar as they take the pulse of those books […]

Something Old, Something New: Reprinting Beyond the “Canon”

It’s that time of year again when Best Of lists start cropping up left and right, front and center.  First Publishers Weekly begins the process and then everyone else follows suit.  It’s a time of year I enjoy, particularly since I’m desperately trying to figure out what I should be reading before the New Year […]

Interview in Cardboard: A Talk with Dana Sheridan

Good morning, everyone, and thank you for attending yet another edition of the A Fuse #8 Production interview series.  I am, as ever, your host Betsy Bird and before we go much further you might have noticed something a little different about me.  Is it my hair?  The fact I have my contacts in?  Or […]

Book Trailer Premiere: The Tiara on the Terrace by Kristen Kittscher

So. Book trailers. I’ve seen my share. They are good. They are bad. Do they sell books? Probably some of them do, and considering how relatively cheap they are to produce it’s no wonder folks are encouraged to make them. But when you face facts, not all of them are winners. Very few, in fact, […]

Press Release Fun: A New Scholarship, Packed Full of Literary Goodness

SIMMONS COLLEGE AND LEE & LOW BOOKS ESTABLISH NEW SCHOLARSHIP   November 1, 2015—New York, NY—The Center for the Study of Children’s Literature at Simmons College and publisher LEE & LOW BOOKS have established a scholarship to increase diversity in the world of children’s literature. The new Lee & Low and Friends Scholarship will provide […]

A Beloved Classic: 95% Less Offensive!

Occasionally I’m sent new editions of various picture books because those titles have managed to maintain their popularity over the decades.  Often when they reach their 10 year anniversaries I feel old.  I mean, seriously.  Fancy Nancy?  A decade?  Really?  Other times it makes sense.  This year, two picture books were released with new editions […]

The Life and Death of the African Folktale in American Publishing

Walk into many a children’s room in a public library and then take a trip to Dewey Decimal number 398.2.  If the room is relatively old and has withstood regular weeding schedules then you may find yourself in a remarkably large folktale and fairytale section.  The titles, however, will probably be a bit on the […]

Even More Unexpected Jolts of Children’s Literature in Very Adult Places

And now it’s time for yet another edition of Unexpected Jolts of Children’s Literature in Very Adult Places.  This is where my job as a Collection Manager comes in handy.  I go through all the new adult titles coming out, and locate the books with a children’s book focus or mention.  And today, I’m starting […]

Asking for a Friend: Hit Me With the Right Non-Profit

Okay, Collective Brain.  You’re smarter than I.  Someone asked me the following question the other day and I found myself positively stumped.  It was this: Can you name a non-profit organization that focuses on “keeping neighborhood libraries open, especially in rural areas but not limited to that…low-income areas too.” The closest thing she had found […]

Review of the Day: Gone Crazy in Alabama by Rita Williams-Garcia

Gone Crazy in Alabama By Rita Williams-Garcia Amistad (an imprint of Harper Collins) $16.99 ISBN: 978-0062215871 Ages 9-12 On shelves now. I’m a conceited enough children’s librarian that I like it when a book wins me over. I don’t want them to make it easy for me. When I sit down to read something I […]

Won’t Somebody PLEASE Think of the Pixels?

The other day I asked my husband, “Am I a Millennial?”  “No,” he said.  “You’re right between the Millennials and the Generation Xers.  You don’t really belong to either.”  That’s about right.  Millennials always feel too young to me (I can’t discuss Boy Meets World with them at all) and Generation Xers are great but […]

Review of the Day: One Day, The End by Rebecca Kai Dotlich

One Day, The End By Rebecca Kai Dotlich Illustrated by Fred Koehler Boyds Mills Press (an imprint of Highlights) $16.95 ISBN: 978-1-62091-451-9 Ages 4-7 On shelves now. Last evening I was reading Quest by Aaron Becker to my daughter for bedtime. It’s a good book. I’ve read it approximately 20 times by now, so I […]

Fusenews: The Anti-Effacing Differencer

Morning, folks.  Let’s see, let’s see.  After yesterday maybe it would be a good idea to do a post on rainbows and unicorns and cute little puppy dogs cavorting in the sun.  I’m a little exhausted after yesterday’s post so let’s just do a quickie Fusenews of wonderfullness instead. First up, The Toast knocks it […]

You Have to Read the Book

I think if you’ve read any of my opinion pieces in the past then you’ll notice that I’ve cultivated over the years a somewhat namby pamby style.  This consists of the following: Step One: Ask a bunch of questions. Step Two: Answer one. Step Three: Ask a bunch of other questions based on that statement. […]