February 24, 2018

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.

Cover Reveal: Thirty Minutes Over Oregon: A Japanese Pilot’s World War II Story by Marc Tyler Nobleman

I’m getting pickier. The more that I’m asked to do cover reveals for books, the more I want to make sure that the books in question are up to snuff. It’s a pity how rare it is that I’m asked to reveal a book that I’ve already read. But you know what? Sometimes it happens. […]

Review of the Day: Can I Touch Your Hair? by Irene Latham & Charles Waters

Can I Touch Your Hair? Poems of Race, Mistakes and Friendship By Irene Latham & Charles Waters Illustrated by Sean Qualls & Selina Alko Carolrhoda Books (a division of Lerner) $17.99 ISBN: 978-1-5124-0442-5 Ages 6 and up On shelves now For a long time, maybe as long as children’s books have been published in America, […]

Like a Cover Reveal But Wordier: An Excerpt from Susan Cooper’s The Boggart Fights Back

Looking back at the recent slate of award winners, I view them through the lens of someone that has lived in Trump’s America for a little more than a year. As a result, I see things a bit differently. Taken a certain way, every book becomes a kind of protest. Consider the Caldecott. I’ve mentioned […]

Fuse 8 n’ Kate: The Story of Babar, the Little Elephant by Jean de Brunhoff

Our theme of problematic picture books that deal indirectly with colonialism continue with this natural companion to Curious George. Today’s book is notable if only because it is the first “classic” we’ve discussed that I read as a child. Will that make me more inclined to like the book or not? You’ll just have to […]

Guest Post: A New Consideration of Elena Ferrante’s The Beach at Night by Dr. Ellen Handler Spitz

You guys know my penchant for children’s books that fall outside the usual norms. And nothing strikes fear in the good American heart faster than picture books from other countries. I’ve seen even the most sophisticated of readers wrinkle their noses at translations they deemed “weird”. And nothing caused such wrinkling better than the 2016 […]

Press Release Fun: 90-Second Newbery Screenings Are Heading To Your Burg

It’s that time again! No sooner have the real Newberys been announced than the 90-second versions of them start cropping up. In Film Festival form! Yep, the utterly charming 90-Second Newbery is on the road, and I have your complete schedule here today. Find the big city nearest you and come on in. It’s a […]

Sexual Harassment and Post-ALA YMA 2018 Thoughts (not necessarily at the same time)

Before we begin discussing yesterday’s Youth Media Award announcements, it would be positively ludicrous if I were to say anything on this blog without first directing your attention to an event that almost eclipsed the Award announcements altogether. If you have missed the current #metoo movement within the children’s and young adult literature industry, then […]

Fuse 8 n’ Kate: Curious George by Margret and H.A. Rey

Take two! About two weeks ago Kate and I recorded this killer episode where we discussed the classic status (or lack thereof) of Curious George. Naturally, the computer ate the whole dang thing. So we’re doing something a little different this week. Kate’s already read the book so we’re changing things up a little. We […]

Cover Reveal: The Alcatraz Escape by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman

Oh, the weather outside is frightful! Some of you are headed to Midwinter right now in the midst of horrible, terrible snows. I salute you, one and all. To take your minds off your cancelled flights, let us pause a moment and consider Jennifer Chambliss Bertman’s clever and charming Book Scavenger series. When the folks […]

Review of the Day: The Mad Wolf’s Daughter by Diane Magras

The Mad Wolf’s Daughter By Diane Magras Kathy Dawson Books (an imprint of Penguin) $16.99 ISBN: 978-0-525-53134-0 Ages 9-12 On shelves March 6th Sometimes you just want to read a book that knows how to run. There are many way to define the term “great writing” as it applies to children’s literature. Eloquent. Ennobling. Distinguished. […]

In Memoriam: Dr. William H. Teale

In August of 2015 I took two small children and got on a plane leaving LaGuardia Airport in NYC, now headed for the Midwest. After dropping my kids off with my parents, I took my mom and dad’s car and drove to Evanston, IL for my first day of work. My husband was following with […]

Cover Reveal and Interview: Pearl by Molly Idle

I’ve heard you. I’ve heard you when you slip into bed at night and stare with wide insomniac-laden eyes at the ceiling thinking, thinking, thinking to yourself, “Why hasn’t Molly Idle ever done a mermaid book?” I hear you, man. I understand where you’re coming from. You figure that since she knocks it out of […]

Fuse 8 n’ Kate: Super Special Caldecott Contender Edition

I’m so excited! Kate and I are taking a little break from our usual schtick this week because a week from today is the most exciting day of the year. You know the one I mean. It’s a week until the ALA Youth Media Awards where they’ll be announcing the Newbery and Caldecott Awards!!! I’m […]

Review of the Day: Hazelnut Days by Emmanuel Bourdier, ill. ZAÜ

Hazelnut Days By Emmanuel Bourdier Illustrated by ZAÜ minedition (an imprint of Michael Neugebauer Publishing Ltd.) $17.99 ISBN: 978-988-8341-54-2 For ages 6 and up On shelves May 1st I’m on a children’s book committee right now with an interesting mix of members. Some folks are old hands that have read more picture books in their […]

Not In Any History Books: Digging Deep Into the Past of the New York Times Best Illustrated List

Leave it to the experts, that’s what I always say. Some time ago I was contacted by librarian Cecilia Horn, currently the Juvenile Collection Development Librarian for the Kenton County Public Library in Northern Kentucky. Cecilia was researching the New York Times Best Illustrated List, which is presented yearly to ten different picture books. It’s […]

Cover Reveal and Excerpt: Rosetown by Cynthia Rylant

Okay, we’re going to do something a little different with today’s cover reveal. Apparently in 2018 the publishers all put their heads together and said “Cover reveals on blogs are fine, but you know what the people really want? Excerpts from the books themselves.” I can hardly argue. As such I’ve had two such offers […]

Weeding the Formerly Famous

Is it wrong to wait patiently, patiently, patiently, for a popular series you loathe to die? I’ve always been very interested in the longevity of children’s books. The other day I had a conversation with someone who told me that word on the street has it that many of the committee members on the Newbery […]

Everything Old Is New Again: Fantastic Picture Book Bios You May Have Forgotten

Folks, I’ve been in this game a long time. Not as long as some, but if you take into account my blogging years I’m a verifiable crone. I started back in 2003 and it’s been nothing but typing ever since. Now this year, in 2018, I’ve been very encouraged. A lot of the picture book […]

The Inexpensive Way to Keep Up With the Oscar Contenders

Yesterday, on Tuesday, January 23rd, the Oscar nominations were officially released. There was good news (yay, Get Out!), bad (boo, Three Billboards!), and everything in-between, but all in all it was a lot of the films folks had already been discussing as award contenders. If you’re anything like me, it can be hard to keep […]

Review of the Day: Nothing Stopped Sophie by Cheryl Bardoe and Barbara McClintock

Nothing Stopped Sophie: The Story of Unshakable Mathematician Sophie Germain By Cheryl Bardoe Illustrated by Barbara McClintock Little, Brown and Co. $17.99 ISBN: 978-0316278201 On shelves June 12th I think we’ve done it. I think we’ve finally moved completely into a new era of biographical picture books. High time, says I! Gone are the days […]