Nov 15, 2009

Kidlit Cupcakes

KidLit Drink Night in NYC is well established and, though I don't drink, I hope to attend sometime when I'm in New York. Then there was Boston Kid Lit Pie Night and now, as reported by Fuse #8, there will be Pie in Salt Lake. Pie is great -- one of our WLCB mottos is "Eat Pie Now." However -- more time in Austin would definitely mean Kidlit Cupcake Night. Here's where we'd meet -- the incomparable Hey Cupcake!

We've sampled several and there are no bad choices. Choose yours here. Pay close attention to the Whipper Snapper.

Not all locations are in Airsteams, but that's our favorite.

Nov 11, 2009

NYT Best Illustrated

The New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Books for 2009 were announced today. I think they’re great choices – I usually do. But sometimes, while I feel the choices are marvels of illustration, I wonder about real child appeal. Not so with this year. Several of my favorites are listed, including the gem All the World. The only title I don’t know is White Noise, but David Carter is known for some incredible pop-ups.

Nov 7, 2009

Austin Reads!

Austin is a book town -- we see people walking around with books everywhere. We've been to Bookpeople and will be there again and take some photos of the children's area. Haven't been to the library yet, but we'll get there.

Liz Garton Scanlon lives here and I fantasize about running into her.

Oct 28, 2009


We visited a comics shop in Ann Arbor and this sign made us smile.

Review -- The Secret World of Walter Anderson

The Secret World of Walter Anderson
Written by Hester Bass and illustrated by E. B. Lewis
Candlewick Press, 2009
Hardcover Picture Book

Sometimes books strike you in a particularly strong way and you might not know why. That's true for me with The Secret Life of Walter Anderson. I'm so enamored of this book!Yes -- the beach,nature, an artist, on an island -- it makes sense that I would like a book with these elements. But this book is more -- I want to know everything about Walter Anderson and his family, I want to visit the museum that holds his work, I want to see his work "in person". I'm fascinated with his story. I embrace the idea that someone living so simply could be so happy.

The opening lines express the essense of the man --

There once was a man whose love of nature was as wide as the world. There once was an artist who needed to paint as much as he needed to breathe. There once was an islander who lived in a cottage at the edge of the Mississippi, where the sea meets the earth and the sky.

But it's not just about an artist who loved to paint but something more universal -- its about following your heart.

The book focuses on his trips to Horn Island. Packing sparingly and leaving before dawn he'd row 12 miles out off the Mississippi coast and arrive on the island, greeting his animal friends. The uninhabited island had no electricity or buildings; food was scarce and the weather wild. Walter would spend weeks at a time on the island painting, writing and drawing. Though he was happiest here the work he created was kept locked in a cottage room and unseen until after his death. He was recognized for other works of art -- paintings, sculpture, carvings -- but what came from Horn Island was secret.

The illustrations are so atmospheric you can practically smell the salt air. Lewis' loose, impressionistic watercolors pull you right into Walter's solitariness and his intense focus on his subjects. The expressive well-crafted text portrays the character of the man and the natural world he was such a part of. Both art and text vividly capture his uniqueness.

An extensive author's note sheds more light on Anderson -- he was a troubled man and unable to live with his family. His brothers were also artists and founded Shearwater Pottery, though much of that legacy was destoyed by Hurricane Katrina. Horn Island is now protected as part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore.The author spent 7 years in Ocean Springs MS and her love for the area and admiration of Anderson are apparent. A bibliography is included.

These images are taken from the Walter Anderson Museum of Art website.

Thanks to Candlewick Press for providing a review copy.

Oct 7, 2009

Nonfiction Matters

Take a look at this amazing website put together by the authors who are a part of the I.N.K. (Interesting Nonfiction for Kids) blog. Now there's a searchable database of their titles linked to standards -- such a great resource!

Congratulations to our clients who are members of this innovative group of writers: Marfe Ferguson Delano, Deborah Heiligman, and Susanna Reich.

Sep 27, 2009

2009 National Book Festival

photo by Sally Lindsay
My friend Sally and I drove down to Washington yesterday for The National Book Festival.It was our first time at the annual event and even though the rainy day shortened our time there we experienced enough of the flavor of the festival. I love the idea of a national celebration of books and authors and the author line-up included many "big" names.

photo by Sally Lindsay

The highlight of the day was hearing Jacqueline Woodson speak. She is an amazing woman and writer and it was a privilege to listen to her talk about her work and recite from Locomotion, Feathers, Show Way, and Behind You.

PBS Kids had its own tent and it was packed! Chaotic really. My favorite Reading Rockets had a table. photo by Sally Lindsay

All in all I'm glad I went though I was a bit disappointed. I expected more exhibits -- local publishers, literacy organizations, why not the DC Public Library? I think it's wonderful that there were so many authors but what about lessor known and new names?
photo by sally Lindsay

Sep 22, 2009

Review -- Trouble Gum

Trouble Gum
Written and illustrated by Matthew Cordell
Feiwel and Friends, 2009
Hardcover Picture Book

This new picture book is about fun – pink fun, stretchy fun, bubble fun – yes, gum fun. And as the title states it’s a book about trouble too.

On a rainy day, Rueben and his younger brother are playing inside and soon the piglets’ raucous behavior unnerves their mother and visiting grandmother. Grammy offers gum while Mom invokes the three rules, “Don’t swallow your gum. Don’t play with your gum. And don’t blow big, sticky bubbles with your gum.” How long do you think it takes to break those rules? How long before fun becomes trouble? Cordell does a fine job with pacing and juxtaposing art with text so that readers are simultaneously laughing while exclaiming Oh no! The black line cartoon-y art with just small bits of pink, red and gray is perfectly placed against a white background. There’s plenty of room for changing perspectives, lots of action, and text that is both story and art. Some text in hand-lettered font -- SMAK! Stuuuuuuuuuurch Pop! -- creates a soundtrack of the misbehaving brothers. Cleverness and hilarity run throughout the story.

Thanks to Feiwel and Friends for the f & g given at their reception for bloggers during ALA.AND they gave us these terrific promo gifts -- guess what's inside the tiny box?

Click here to go to Matthew Cordell’s website.

Aug 22, 2009

Review -- A Tree for Emmy

A Tree for Emmy
Written by Mary Ann Rodman and illustrated by Tatjana Mai-Wyss
Peachtree, hardcover, March 2009
Picture Book

A simple story about appreciating the wild natural world and the satisfaction of realizing one’s desires.

Emmy loves trees of all kinds, though it’s the mimosa tree at Gramma’s that really grabs her. Her imagination is ignited by the mimosa’s strong low branches, its fuzzy pink blossoms and the rattling seed pods. Best of all the mimosa is “stubborn and strong, and a little bit wild. Just like me.”

Emmy decides a mimosa of her own is a perfect birthday wish and her parents do their best to find her one. But mimosas are considered wild and so they’re not available at garden centers. Disappointed, the family visits Gramma and unexpectedly Emmy finds her own mimosa, a seedling growing wild and free. The last page presenting an older Emmy watering her beloved tree (now taller than her) is a testament to time passing, patience and a nurturing heart.

Lovely designed papers used for just the right amount of collage add whimsy and create visual interest and texture against the watercolor art.

Thanks to Peachtree Publishers for providing a review copy.

Aug 15, 2009

Review for Molly's Bookshelf -- I Want a Dog

I Want a Dog
Written and illustrated by Helga Bansch
North South, hardcover, $16.95
Picture Book

“Lisa loved dogs. Big dogs, small dogs, short dogs, tall dogs, shaggy-haired dogs, curly-haired dogs, any kind of dog. ‘I want a dog,’ she said twenty-one times a day.” Lisa’s entreaties don’t fall on deaf ears but her parents stand firm, “Our apartment is too small for a dog.”

She argues (nicely,) makes promises, threatens tantrums, all to no avail. However, Lisa is a problem-solver and she hatches an ingenious plan to get what she wants. The end result is a happy foursome – her parents, a playful pup named Rollo, Mr. Lewis, Rollo’s elderly owner and of course, Lisa. It’s not easy introducing concepts like creative solutions and taking action to young children, but it’s easily done here.

The artwork is loose with a contemporary feel using bright colors with limited collage. Changing perspectives and layout help move the narrative along. Dogs, real and not, are everywhere, sharing the focus with red-haired Lisa, and both people and dogs are expressive with use of simple lines.

Come meet Lisa, dog-walker extraordinaire and dog’s best friend!

Thanks to North South Books for supplying a review copy.

Aug 13, 2009

Review -- Ollie and Me 1 2 3

Olly and Me 1 2 3
Shirley Hughes
Candlewick, hardcover, July 2009
Picture Book

Shirley Hughes’ familiar illustrations populate this counting book which also serves as a vehicle for young Kate to tell readers all about her family, including younger brother Olly, and friends. “There are four people in our family. When we go out, we usually take our dog, Buster, too, and that makes five. Buster likes to chase birds but he never catches any.”

The page layout places the featured number (1-10) written at the top of the page; next to it are large colored dots with the number of dots matching the number. On a double-page spread are multiple examples of the number in words and illustrations, such as “Three is company.” What I love about Hughes’ art is that it’s messy and expressive and full of motion, showing us happy animals and people in the everyday. It’s kids being kids and her language is just like listening to kids. Following the number 10 she writes
“Some things are too many to count –
Like blossoms falling from a tree
Or raindrops into a puddle . . .
Or flowers in the springtime
Or clouds in the sky going up and up . . .
Numbers go on forever.”

Thanks to Candlewick Press for supplying a review copy.

Aug 11, 2009

Early Library School

I found this image at the bookstore when we visited the Chautauqua Institution in New York state earlier this summer. On the back of the postcard:

Melvil Dewey, at extreme right, who helped found the Chautauqua Library School in 1901, is shown with a class of librarians engaged in continuing education.

Jul 11, 2009

Blogging from Chicago ALA

This afternoon we met some fellow bloggers, as well as librarians and authors, at a bloggers reception hosted by Feiwel and Friends. We were happy to put faces with names and have a chance to reconnect with some folks. We enjoyed talking with Betsy Bird, Sue Kusel, Travis Jonker, Karen Romano Young, Matthew Cordell, (thanks for the bubblegum) Yuyi Morales, Esme Raji Codell, April Halprin Wayland, Wendi Old. And of course the F&F people, who went out of their way to make everyone feel welcome. We really admire Jean Feiwel, Liz Fithian, and their team for what they're doing in publishing.

We looked at many books while there and went home with a few galleys which we'll report on soon.

May 31, 2009

Blogging for LGBT Families Day

Today we’re blogging for a specific purpose; we’re participating in the Blogging for LGBT Families Day, hosted by Mombian on June 1, 2009. And so, We Love Children’s Books fades to background and our sister company, Two Lives Publishing, comes front and center. At Two Lives, it’s all about books for kids in LGBT-headed families, and in addition to publishing, we also distribute titles in our niche. We’re not the only ones publishing these books, as our distribution attests – there are successful self-published and small publisher works out there and some large, mainstream publishers have put out books with an impact, like And Tango Makes Three. But, oh, we wish there were MORE! Our first titles (123: a Family Counting Book and ABC: a Family Alphabet Book were published 10 years ago and today, there’s still just a handful, and those books only begin to tell our families’ many and varied stories.

Recently, Bobbie spoke about the “State of LGBTI Themed Picture Books Today”(NJLA Conference, April 2009) and took part in the Many Voices panel on diversity in publishing at the SCBWI New England Annual Conference. Lots of engaging discussion, lots of support from allies, but the bottom line is change is slow. The percentage of children’s books published that speak directly to non-whites and non-heterosexuals is still quite small and given the current economic climate we don’t think we’ll see publishers doing more of what sells less. So what can we do to ensure that our families are represented – and not as an “issue” but as part of the fabric of our country’s day-to-day? What can you do?

Our thanks to Mombian, and to the Family Equality Council for sponsoring this effort.

May 28, 2009

Profile: Live Oak Media

Last week we visited friends in the beautiful Hudson River Valley. Debra and Arnie Cardillo are the owners of Live Oak Media, known for its amazing and award-winning readalong productions and unabridged audiobooks of first chapter books and middle-grade fiction. No strangers to awards, their production of Jazz written by walter Dean Myers and illustrated by Christopher Myers, won the very first Odyssey Award for excellence in audio production for children.

We snapped a few photos of the offices and warehouse, though they'll soon be outdated becaUSe they're moving into new digs next month!

Here's Debra, Liz and Bobbie.

Pictures of the warehouse.

Check out their website to learn more about their Behind the Scenes Interviews, a great e-newsletter, and my favorites, the Live Oak Music Makers!

May 21, 2009


The Cuckoo’s Haiku
written by Michael J. Rosen
illus. by Stan Fellows
Candlewick Press, 2009
Hardcover, 978-0-7636-30492

I’ve never been much of a birder; I just didn’t ‘get’ it. But over the last year my interest has sparked, probably because our traveling has meant I’ve seen many more types of birds, and now I just notice them more. This week I’ve seen my first red-winged blackbird, orchard oriole and rose-breasted grosbeak. If I had read books like The Cuckoo’s Haiku: and other birding poems, maybe my enthusiasm about bird-watching would have taken at an earlier age. I first saw Fellow’s art in Kathryn Lasky’s John Muir: America’s First Environmentalist, and I turned those pages over and over. What I like about his art here is how free and fluid the watercolors are, as if you’re viewing a sketchbook. Alongside the illustrations are notes about the birds and their habitat, written in script and so adding to the field book feeling. The book feeld good in your hands -- not too small, not too large. Twenty-four birds in all are profiled, arranged by season, and all are common to the author’s home in central Ohio. One of my favorites (for sentimental reasons) is about the crow.
American Crow

blooming apple tree
Round and white as one peeled fruit
Crow-seed at its core

The illustration of white lacy blossoms covering the branches where crows perch, angled one on top of each other, is a lovely image for the spare words. The love and respect for nature of both the artist and the poet is clearly evident.

May 19, 2009

A LGBTQ Roundup

I didn't intend to do a little roundup; it just sort of evolved on its own. It all began with a visit to the Northshire Bookstore in Manchester VT. One of several timely displays in the children's book area caught my eye -- weddings. There among Miss Spider's Wedding, Frog Bride, and Junie B. Jones is (almost) a Flower Girl was a copy of Uncle Bobbie's Wedding by Sarah Brannen. Yea!!! I love Vermont! This is just what I like to see -- being a part of and not singled out as different or an issue. (An aside -- wearing her Two Lives Publishing hat, Bobbie recently presented at SCBWI New England where Sarah was also a faculty presenter and at the New Jersey Library Association Conference they both presented on a panel about LGBT publishing for children. They were quite a team.)

Elizabeth Bluemle did a fine post about new titles for young children with LGBT parents on Shelftalker. (Another aside -- during our recent stay in Vermont, we planned to visit the Flying Pig Bookstore on our drive to Burlington but it was closed for Mother's Day.)

Elizabeth reviewed Mommy, Mama and Me and Daddy, Papa and Me, two delightful board books with two moms and two dads families written by Leslea Newman. Those titles are also the Cooperative Children's Book Center (CCBC) Book of the Week.

I received an update about HRC Family Project’s Welcoming Schools program. You can download An Introduction to Welcoming Schools,a primer version of the Welcoming Schools Guide, a guide designed for use in elementary schools with tools, resources and lessons on family diversity, name-calling and gender stereotyping. Included is a list of LGBT-inclusive children’s books.

Last week I worked on some reviews for the Philadelphia Family Pride Newsletter. One of the titles I reviewed was 10,000 Dresses, a title I learned about from in-the-know Fuse #8. Thanks Betsy! Sorry I couldn't find the post to make a direct link
Here's my review:

10, 000 Dresses
Written by Marcus Ewert and Illustrated by Rex Ray
Seven Stories Press, 2008
Hardcover, $14.95
Ages 4-7

This is the first picture book we know of with a transgender child as the main character. While some reactions might be “Whoa! Why a trans book for so young?” we’ve heard that there is a need – kids can and do identify with gender at young ages.

Bailey happily dreams of dresses every night – gorgeous, original dresses made of “crystals that flashed rainbows in the sun,” “lilies and roses with honeysuckle sleeves,” and “windows which showed the Great Wall of China and the Pyramids.” But when she tries to tell her parents about the dreams and her desire to own dresses like the ones she dreams about, their negative reaction fills her with despair. “You’re a boy. Boys don’t wear dresses! . . . don’t mention dresses again!” Luckily Bailey meets Laurel who thinks Bailey’s designs are “awesome” and together they make beautiful dresses for themselves. Laurel’s understanding and acceptance of Bailey are a huge gift to her, as this empowering book will be for many children. Artist and graphic designer Rex Ray’s paper collages provide a colorful, retro-futuristic backdrop for Bailey’s story.

The analogy of a window and mirror is often used when talking about diversity in children’s books – the books provide both a mirror for self- recognition and a window to viewing the world outside. The author’s use of dresses made of mirrors and windows may be coincidence but It’s a nice touch.

May 15, 2009

Journeys in Nature

Bird, Butterfly, Eel
Story and paintings by James Prosek
Simon & Schuster, hardcover

I hadn’t read the author’s first book for children, A Good Day’s Fishing, but I did read his YA novel, The Day My Mother Left. I loved the gentle language of that book, the deep emotion, and the way that both art and nature were integral parts of Jeremy’s life. Prosek returns to the picture book format in his new title, a story of migration as exemplified by a barn swallow, monarch butterfly, and an American eel. The language here is simple and direct, perfect as an introduction to migration for young readers. “Bird lives in the barn at the end of the meadow, in nests she made of mud and straw. She loves being safe, high up in the rafters, away from the barn cats.” Rich watercolors fill the pages with realistic detail and color, showing us the bird, fish and insect habitats and journeys individually, as well as the three simultaneously on pages spilt in thirds. The cycle begins in summer. “With the cool winds of autumn, Bird, Butterfly, and Eel sense a change, feel restless, and know that this means it is time to leave the farm.” From their farm in New England they soon reach the ocean and then go their separate ways; a map displays the different routes each follows to reach South America, Mexico and the Sargasso Sea. The skillful use of language and pictures allow children to grasp the miracle and mysteries of migration. The creatures’ return is documented as spring turns to summer, “(A)nd the cycle begins again.” A section titled “Real Facts About the Bird, the Butterfly, and the Eel” provides more information including the need for conservation efforts. Really a lovely book. (And the endpapers too are lovely – black ink drawings resembling stamped art, of swallows, butterflies, eels, water lilies, and spidery milkweed puffs.)

May 14, 2009

It's All About the Backlist

A Drowned Maiden’s Hair: A Melodrama
by Laura Amy Schlitz
Candlewick Press, 9780763638122

We try so hard to keep up with all of the new children’s books being published that it really surprises me when one slips through. Somehow that happened with this book, published in 2006. I had never read it until Elise from Candlewick (one of my favorite people in the industry!) told me I should give it a try. Then, of course, it sat on my “to read” pile for a few months – but I am so glad it finally made its way to the top!
I admit to a certain predisposition for orphans, and bad girls, and the main character of this book is both. When Maud Flynn gets adopted from the Barbary Asylum for Female Orphans by two elderly sisters, I was very happy for her, until I found out that they wanted her to join the family business – spiritualism. Maud is trained to help the sisters hoodwink a wealthy woman whose daughter has died.

At first she is happy to be included, and she is certainly clever enough to do the work, but as time goes on and it becomes evident that the sisters are using her, I was very pleased when she started making some friends who eventually help rescue her from her situation.

I am in awe of those authors who can weave together many small elements and end up with a big, glorious finish that will make you cheer and cry (but the good kind of cry). Laura Amy Schlitz is in that exclusive group – but of course last year’s Newbery committee figured that out too, didn’t they?

Sigh. I SO dislike it when I’m not on the cutting edge.

Mar 7, 2009

Launch on the Spacecoast

The spacecraft Kepler was launched last night at 10:49pm and we were there. We watched from a park on the water with a direct sight line to the launch pad about 5 miles away and listened to the countdown on a hand-held receiver. First we saw a huge light that grew and rose, and then we heard the sound that was bigger than the sky. We could follow the plume and when the rocket was almost out of our sight we could see the boosters fall off like fireworks falling. It was already hundreds of miles away. It was exciting to see all the people gathering -- lots of kids -- it felt like people were in a hurry for a festive, important event. Which it was. The Kepler will look for habitable planets, studying a patch of space for 3.5 years. I was kind of blase about going and much more thrilled than I thought I'd be when it actually happened. A keeping moment for sure.

Seems only right that we received our review copy of Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream yesterday. I'll review it when I get back from vacation.

Mar 4, 2009

Cigars, Casitas and Children's Books

We took a trip to Ybor City, once the cigar capital of the world,where Cubans, Spaniards and Italians lived and worked. The Ybor City State Museum, a Florida State Park, is housed in an old bakery. Along with exhibits detailing life in the late 1800's, there's a small representation of the room where workers rolled cigars, and it includes a raised area where a reader, El Lector, would read aloud the newspaper and literature such as Anna Karenina. Listening to the ranger's talk, I had a foggy memory of a related children's book, and sure enough, when I looked it up back home found El Lector by William Durbin.

Mar 2, 2009

A Carousel Tale

I've loved Elisa Kleven's work for sometime now but have never reviewed one of her books. It would be easy to go right into gush mode but let me try and write something a little more substantial. A Carousel Tale begins "Ernst, a young blue crocodile, loved the carousel in the park. Every day he would say hello to the wooden animals. His favorite was the honey-colored dog." (Yes, sweet Ernst and his brother Sol are back.) On the day the carousel closes for the season Ernst finds the honey-colored dog's tail on the ground but it's too late to return it for all the animals are tucked away. The carousel keeper asks Ernst to take care of the tail until it's warm again. He decides it looks lonely just sitting on the shelf and so he decorates it, transforming it into a beautiful bird that becomes his winter playmate and enters his dreams.When spring arrives, Ernst hesitantly returns the tail and the keeper wholeheartedly agrees "This is a wonderful bird you've made. As lovely as any carousel animal!" And to make everything perfectly right again, Ernst finds the perfect piece of wood to form another tail for his favorite honey-colored dog. All the different pieces to this story -- creativity and artistic expression, honesty, friendship, positive solutions -- come together so organically. Kleven's detailed collages with watercolors and pastels are so bright and full of light and just seem to shout "all is right with the world." And the endpapers are great too.

The Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast blog has a fine, fine interview with Elisa Kleven with many photos.

A Carousel Tale by Elisa Kleven
Tricycle Press, hardcover (9781582462394) $15.99
ages 3-7

Mar 1, 2009

Campers we're particularly fond of . . .

on the back of a lovely Airsteam in Christmas, Florida (Nope, I'm not kidding!)

Blue Spring State Park in Florida

Jan 24, 2009

ALA Midwinter or Keeping Warm in Denver

I had a very pleasant flight to Denver yesterday and was relieved I didn't require snowgear but happy I brought along gloves. I had a meeting this morning, then walked over the convention center and spent the afternoon walking exhibits, collecting galleys. I don't think I've seen half the children's and ya publishers but I collected enough galleys to fill a bag and a half. I sorted through them tonight and 3 titles have risen to the top of my pile: Fetch by Laura Whitcomb (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt); Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork (Arthur A. Levine/Scholastic); and Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev (Feiwel and Friends.)

I read samples of many picture book titles I hope to get review copies of:
Button Up!(Petra Mathers has long been one of my favorite artists)
When Its 6 o'Clock in San Francisco
The Travel Game
Steady Hands
Bubble Trouble
Red Sings From the Treetops
Little Panda
Only a Witch Can Fly
Big Cat Pepper
A Chair for Always
All in a Day
Hello Baby
Gertrude is Gertrude is Gertrude
Song of Middle C

A fine year is ahead of us!

Jan 23, 2009

Wholesalers and Publishers Meet

Last week we were in Del Ray Beach Florida for the Annual Meeting of the Educational Paperback Association, whose members are wholesalers and publishers. I’ve been involved with “that other EPA” for 15 years and it continues to be one of my favorite associations because of what I learn, the work that gets done, and the overall camaraderie. This year some old friends were missing and there was lots of talk about the economic crisis and the reflective industry layoffs and changes.

I was one of the worker bees, helping with pre-meeting prep and smooth sailing during the meeting, so I enjoyed a couple of days of sun and warmth before the EPA weather curse took hold and a chill descended. But cold is relative, right? and since the majority of attendees were from New York and the Midwest, most were just happy not struggling with boots and coats.

One of the programs was particularly interesting to me. A panel of higher ups in children's publishing spoke to current state of the industry and the future, answering questions from the wholesaling community.

more later. . .

Jan 9, 2009

Back Again (Again)

It's been a long silent time but I wanted to recommit to making time for this blog and I'm jumping right in while letting go of expectations. I joined the Kidlitosphere listserv today as one way of staying focused. I've been reading blogs for a while now and this universe of people writing about their own particular passion for children's books is a great universe to be a part of.