Expanding Blogging Horizons: #Armchair BEA, Day 3

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What do you think about when you think about going beyond blogging or expanding your horizons? Is it a redesign of your blog? Have you branched out into freelance writing or even published a novel of your very own? Or, have you moved into a different venue like podcasts or vlogging? This is the day to tell us about how you have expanded on blogging in your own unique way.

This blog originally started out with a podcast, actually. But K.L. Glanville and I were living thousands of miles apart, and besides the first podcast we recorded, we just didn’t manage to record anymore. So, currently, the podcast feature of the blog is out, but it’s possible it may one day return.

Before K.L. and I started the blog, I had realized that there really weren’t that many resources for looking at children’s literature in terms of its spiritual dimensions. Though young readers may not be going to the library and asking: “Can you recommend a book that will engage my spirituality in some way?”, I think it’s valuable to look at stories and explore their spiritual dimensions.

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As adults bring books and young readers today (and even as adults pick out literature to read for themselves) considering the spirituality of a text can lead to unique ways to respond to and engage with that story. I know that I can have a positive and aesthetically engaging experience with a book when it touches my spirituality. And that actually happens quite often.

Something else—Spirit of Children’s Literature has a curriculum corner for educators! It’s small, but it will be growing, and it’s where I include lesson plans or discussion guides for using some of the literature we review with real readers. The curriculum works for classes, but also small book clubs or even individual readers. This is something that I am particularly passionate about—developing curriculum for children’s and young adult literature that also engages the spirit of the reader. I’m also really supportive of arts-based response in language arts. There isn’t too much out there that provides arts-based curriculum focused on spirituality (at least that I’ve found) so it’s an area of the blog I hope to expand even more. There will also be an actual book of curriculum one day!

Now, some thoughts about how I would like to expand the blog…

I have been thinking about getting into vlogging. Since I teach online now, but taught live classes before, I am aware of how much longer it takes to communicate information online. I might be able to talk about several novels I think you absolutely must read, but through a vlog—I could say so much more! I think vlogging would be a wonderful way to connect more with readers of the blog. Since I blog about picturebooks as well as books for older readers, being able to hold a picturebook and point out its illustrations would be fabulous!

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No published novel yet, but I’m currently getting feedback on my (upper) middle grade fantasy in a children’s writer’s group that I’m a part of. We meet once a month in the city where I live, and it’s fantastic to get feedback on my work, as well as read the fiction of the rest of the group.

What about you? What are the ways you have already expanded your blogging horizons? What are your dreams for future expansion?

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10 thoughts on “Expanding Blogging Horizons: #Armchair BEA, Day 3

  1. I love the idea of you doing a vlog, Katie – can’t wait to ‘meet you’! I have been looking for a blog about spirituality and children’s stories for a long time and just assumed there weren’t any. I have just started doing the ocassional review of spiritual children’s books on my own blog but you have opened my eyes to a whole new genre and many wonderful authors of young adult fiction not just the classics like The Little Prince and Jonathan Livingstone Seagull.

    Very excited to hear about your own children’s book too. I’m working on my own right now too, also aimed at middle graders. I just got it back from my editor yesterday, in fact, so have some more work to do on it over the next few weeks.

    So when do you think you will start vlogging?
    Best wishes
    Zoe

    • Thanks so much for your kind words, Zoe! By the way, I received The Crystal Mirror and am enjoying it!

      I’m going to check out your reviews on your blog, and am glad to hear someone else is looking at spiritual children’s books. I’m also happy to hear you have discovered some new titles on this blog.

      I am thinking about doing some vlogging in the next month, but we will see. I just need to take that step and do one, and then I’m sure I’ll find out if I love it or hate it!

      That’s very exciting that you are working on a book as well–I think those of us that write should cheer each other on! 🙂

      • So glad you are enjoying the book. I love it’s subtle and metaphorical messages. There are only a couple of reviews on my blog so far – one of which is about The Crystal Mirror! I need to get more organised and create a category to make them easier to find.

        I’m all for cheering on a fellow writer. I just got my last draft back from my editor this week and I’m both excited by her encouraging comments and somewhat overwhelmed by her suggestions – it’s a rollarcoaster ride but I’m determined to get to the finish!

        Feel free to email me with your favourite blogs, please. That would be wonderful – thank you!

  2. By the way, May I ask which blogs you follow? Are there any others like yours out there. I suspect you are unique in your educators corner – another excellent idea/resource I’m looking forward to sharing with my own children when they are a bit older. But for now I will make use of it myself – keep it growing please! 🙂

    • I follow quite a few blogs, but I can share them with you–either through a list on the blog (which I need to compose) or I could email you a few links! I haven’t found any others too much like mine yet, but would love to see more!

  3. I haven’t launched my blogs yet, Kate (soon, I hope!), so I have nothing to expand but actually gettintg them running, BUT— I think I’d really enjoy you vlogging 😀

  4. What a fantastic concept! I love events like Armchair BEA that help us to discover *new to us* blogs! I’m on the advisory board for the Inspy’s and of particular note is the lack of books for young adults {and children} that help them with their spiritual development/discovery.

    • Me too! That’s fantastic–I am always being asked for bibliographies of books with spiritual development themes. I am currently working on those–they are invaluable but do take time to build… 🙂

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