58. My Mom

This year I was a judge for the Cybils Awards, in the category of Fiction Picture Books.  Publishers sent me many picture books to consider (the ones my library didn’t have).

The majority of those are going to the library.  But I selected the best to send to my two toddler nieces — and to my Mom.  My Mom has Alzheimer’s.  My sister, who helps my Dad care for her, requested board books or very simple picture books for Mom.  Apparently she can still read those.

I’m not sure the ones I sent are simple enough.  But I hope so.  I hope they will bring her some joy.

And that got me reflecting.

My Mom was the one who taught me to read.  Long before teachers got hold of me.  (I can still remember when I could read a particular set of word cards she’d made for me.  And her delight.  One of the words was yellow.)

My Mom was the one who taught me, by example, to read aloud to small children with expression, with joy, and with love.

I am sure I still slip into her cadences when reading aloud to children at the library.

It was my Mom’s idea to have all her kids take naps for an hour every day — but we could read during that time; we didn’t have to sleep.  Thus she got me in the habit of reading for at least an hour each day.

My Mom always wrote in each book she read the date she finished reading it.  (At least books she owned!)  Whenever she gave a book, she wrote to the giftee in the front, and insisted we do the same when we gave books to her.  So each book chosen last night was inscribed to her.

Yes, parents can instill a love of reading in their kids.  My Mom sure did!

And now, I hope that reading these simple, lovely books I’m sending will give her some joy.

And I have to also say that I’m so thankful for my Dad, who takes tender loving care of her, even though she’s definitely not the woman he married any longer.  And I’m thankful for my sister who lives there and helps.

Merry Christmas, Mom!  Thank you for the positive way you shaped my life.

44. KidLitCon 2015

I spent Friday and Saturday at KidLitCon in Baltimore!

KidLitCon is a yearly conference for children’s book bloggers.  The location rotates, so this year with it in driving distance — I had to go!  This was my fourth KidLitCon, and again it was such a treat to be with “my people” — people who love children’s books as much as I do!

38. I’m a Cybils Judge!

Cybils-Logo-2015-Web-LgFor my fourth year, I get to be a Cybils Panelist!

The Cybils, for those who are sadly unaware, are book awards for children’s and young adult books which are chosen by KidLit bloggers.

One of the cool things about the Cybils is that they work in two rounds.  And the First Round Panelists get to choose lists of the best books in their categories.  These are some great lists of the best books of the year.  The Second Round Judges choose one winner from each of these finalists.

In the past I’ve twice been a First Round Panelist for Elementary and Middle Grade Speculative Fiction, and once a Second Round Judge for the same category.  This year, I’m first round again, but I changed categories to Fiction Picture Books.  I feel like this year I took a year off from keeping up with new children’s novels — but I have kept up with picture books pretty well.

And I love being a Cybils Panelist!  It’s so much fun to read widely and then get to promote the outstanding books you read.  And discuss them with the other Panelists.

I’m also proud of the great work we do.  The Cybils Finalists are outstanding!  Cybils Awards try to find a balance between literary value and kid appeal.  We don’t want to choose books that only critics would like, but books that are not only excellent, but also ones that kids will love.

Oh, and the Cybils reading season for First Round lasts from October to December.  Nominations open October 1st, and we will start reading!  Read some good children’s books lately?  Nominate some for the Cybils Awards!

30. Connecting People with Good Books

I was just reminding myself of bright spots in my day — and remembered a huge blessing.  A woman walked up to me at the information desk and asked me for recommendations for something to read next.  My favorite question!  And it sounded like we have fairly similar taste.  It was very fun to get to give her recommendations.  I suggested a wide variety, with such titles as Daughter of the Forest, by Juliet Marillier, The Marriage Bureau for Rich People, by Farahad Zama, and Q & A, by Vikas Swarup.  It was a joy just to get to talk about good books.