Friday, May 13, 2016

#ArmchairBEA Day 3: Ten Bookish Things I Do (Besides Blogging)

One of today's topics for Armchair BEA is Beyond the Blog. Though a lot of my book-related work does happen here at Story Time Secrets, I also do plenty of reading, writing, and celebrating books in other ways. To respond to this topic, I want to share ten bookish things I do besides writing this blog.

Rating Books on Goodreads

I have been rating and occasionally reviewing books on Goodreads since 2008, and as time has gone on, I have become more and more precise about how these books are categorized. I have dozens and dozens of shelves, indicating what year I read each book, when it was published, whether I posted a review on my blog, which of my daughters has heard it, and whether it reflects a particular theme, reading level, genre, or format. I am also a Goodreads Librarian, so I spend some of my time correcting errors in the details about books, especially series.

Curating Books on Pinterest

I am also very meticulous about my book-related Pinterest boards. I categorize all my reviews according to their intended audience, and I also have separate boards for special features like Old School Sunday and Fumbling Through Fantasy. Other boards are devoted to children's book lists from other blogs, and themed collections of picture books and related activities.

Participating in Picture Book of the Day 

This is my second year as a member of the Picture Book of the Day team. We used to share picture books on Facebook, but in January, we made the move to Instagram. Under the #PictureBookoftheDay hashtag you can see our creative photographs featuring new and classic picture book favorites. (My most recent contributions were this picture for Rain by Robert Kalan and Donald Crews and this one for The Mouse Who Ate the Moon by Petr Horacek.)

Performing Story Times for Moms Club

I left library work in late 2013 and have been home with first one daughter, and now two, since then. Thankfully, though, my moms group has a fondness for story time, and I usually perform one story time for them per month. It's a great way to give back to a group that makes it easier for me and my kids to make friends, and it keeps my skills sharp. (Click for blog posts about these story times.)

Listening to Nonfiction Audiobooks

Now that my oldest is a busy two-year-old, I don't have a lot time to read during the day. After listening to podcasts, I discovered that I really like to listen to nonfiction content, even though I don't really like to read it on the page. And it turns out that both my kids will tolerate very long stroller walks, so while we stroll, I listen to adult nonfiction books. The first two books I completed this way were Top of the Rock: Inside the Rise and Fall of Must See TV, by Warren Littlefield and T. R. Pearson and Street Gang: The Complete History of Sesame Street by Michael Davis (narrated by Carol Spinney, who plays Big Bird!)

Judging and Organizing Cybils

Since I started this blog, I have often been involved with the Cybils: Children's and Young Adult Bloggers Literary Awards. I was a judge for the category of easy readers and early chapter books in 2011 and 2012, and then after taking a break to have my older daughter, I returned as chair of the category in 2014 and 2015. My favorite part is having discussions with other readers about why a book works or does not work. I wish I had more opportunities to talk about books like that year-round!

Talking About Books on Facebook

I am a member of two great Facebook groups for talking about kids' books: a children's book bloggers support group (which is private), and Read Aloud Resources. Many of the members of Read Aloud Resources are homeschoolers, and also have Christian/conservative views about what their kids read, which really meshes well with my parenting style. I enjoy trading recommendations and learning more about how non-library people view the library. I also maintain a Facebook page connected with this blog, but most of what I post there is not "beyond the blog" but directly from it.

Visiting Used Bookstores and Sales 

As a family, we often go on weekend adventures to used bookstores and book sales. We have a list of books we are looking to buy, but we also enjoy browsing and finding unexpected treasures. My favorite book sale find so far has been The Secret Language, the only novel of  HarperCollins editor, Ursula Nordstrom, who worked with so many famous authors, including Maurice Sendak and Charlotte Zolotow.

Reading to my Kids

Though I have a monthly feature here talking about reading to my daughters, Little Miss Muffet and Little Bo Peep, I read to them more than what is mentioned here. Both my kids heard novels as newborns, and they continue to enjoy a wide variety of material. I sometimes even read blog posts aloud as I'm proofreading them!

Writing A Book 

Finally, the most bookish thing I did over the past year was write a book! Story Time Success: A Practical Guide for Librarians comes out in July. It is a step-by-step guide for learning how to perform story times, and also a refresher for veteran performers.

For more on how and why I read, check out this post from the archives: Five Reasons I Became a Reader.


  1. OMG all the book sales!

  2. I love your answer. Great idea.

    Nice blog.

    Thanks for sharing, and enjoy your day.

    Silver's Reviews


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