Spirit of Children’s Literature Is Moving + Giveaway!

Happy New Year, everyone!

It’s FINALLY time for my Blog Announcement! The blog is moving—and I’m really excited because I’ve moved to a site hosted by the fantastic Ashley from Creative Whim.

For awhile now, I’ve been thinking about moving the blog so that I have a bit more freedom creatively. I’ve found that with Creative Whim, and am even more happy (break out the tea!) because I’m also changing the title of the blog to something different. (Cue: dramatic music) The new blog name is….BOOKISH ILLUMINATIONS!

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There are a few reasons for this. First, I don’t just review children’s literature on the blog, though I do read and talk about a lot in this genre. In addition to picturebooks and middle grade literature, I read A LOT of Young Adult, as well as Adult. And, many of you know I love to bake, so there are a lot of cookbooks on my shelves. That’s another genre I’ve considered sharing on the blog. That will be on the horizon for 2015 with the new blog.

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Of course, I’ll still emphasize spirituality in the books I read (Illuminations) because that’s something I don’t want to get away from, but renaming the blog is just a broadening of the Books Horizon for Spirit of Children’s Literature. I hope you’re excited as I am!

To celebrate the move, I’m hosting a giveaway that will go through the month of January. In fact, there are TWO giveaways—one to celebrate the Blog Move, and one to celebrate my first Author Interview of the year on the new blog with Anne Blankman, author of Prisoner of Night and Fog. You all know this was one of my favorite debuts for 2014, and I love a good historical fiction read. I can’t recommend this one strongly enough.

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Consider it a party all month long at Bookish Illuminations! One winner will receive a book of their choice from The Book Depository (up to $15 in value) and one of my favorites from 2014! Another winner will a book of their choice from The Book Depository (up to $10 in value). You’ll have to head over to the blog to see the giveaway.

You’ll find all the details for my second giveaway over at my Author Interview with Anne Blankman. (Hint: There are some cool goodies to win over there too.)

I would love to know what you think about the new design of the blog. So pour yourself a cup of tea, sit down, and let’s chat!

See you over at Bookish Illuminations!

 

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Summer Books n’ Bloggers Show-Off!

Today I’m FINALLY sharing the wonderful package I received in the mail from my Books n’ Bloggers swap partner, Beverly. She blogs over at Booklady’s Booknotes so definitely pay her a visit. It was fantastic to discover Beverly’s blog and get to know her a little more. Her reviews of mysteries reminded me of how much I once read mysteries myself–and though I still love this genre, I don’t think I read nearly as many as I once did. Perhaps it’s time to revisit some of my favorites.

The three books she chose for me were perfect!

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One that she has read and loves: Finn Finnegan by Darby Karchut

One that she’s interested in: The Lost by Sarah Durst

One from my wishlist: The Secret Hum of a Daisy by Tracy Holczer

Some of you may remember that The Secret Hum of a Daisy was on my top ten anticipated reads for 2014, so I’m very excited to have a copy!

She also sent me a mug she decorated herself, as well as some lovely tea and chocolate.

This is my second Books n’ Bloggers swap, and I highly recommend Chaotic Goddess Swaps for those of you that love getting surprises in the mail and making new friends!

Things have been busy since the summer began, and so this is why you haven’t seen as many posts on the blog recently. However, I expect to share some news soon regarding books to read, vlog possibilities, and branching out…

Happy Summer & Happy Reading!

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?