I’ve started a new feature on my Book Buzz blog this year. (Book Buzz is the children’s book blog I write for students; I post information about books, authors and illustrators, and about special book-related events.) Each week I post the Thursday Theme, where I present three or four books related to a common topic. Themes so far have included Bats, Johnny Appleseed, Little Red Hen stories, and a couple more.
Have you ever noticed how easy it is to begin a project that requires regular input, and how burdensome it becomes to follow through consistently with it?
By the time I think of a theme, search my library catalog for books that fit (all the books I write about are from my collection), save a copy of the covers to use, write the description for each book, and type it all up, I’ve got well over an hour invested each of these posts! (And of course that doesn’t include the time it takes to actually read the books!) Is it really worthwhile to keep doing it week after week?
Yes, I think it is. For one thing, it’s helping me to really discover what’s in my collection. Usually when we receive a shipment of new books, my assistant unpacks them and handles any processing that’s needed, and then they go out to the shelves for students and teachers to check out. Occasionally I have time to sit down and read them first, but not always, particularly with chapter books. In researching these themes, I’m re-discovering titles I’ve ordered for our library, and I’m seeing which books on a given topic are the most current and useful, which ones may need to be weeded, and where the gaps are for future ordering.
I’m also honing a different type of reading and writing skill. I’ve always thought I’d like to do some book reviewing, but it’s hard for me to keep a critical eye on a book that I’m reading for enjoyment, and nearly all the books I read are for enjoyment. (Hmmm, I may have just put into words why so many kids don’t like book reports – it spoils the fun of reading!) So this is an opportunity to take the time to read for the specific purpose of summarizing and sharing what’s special about each of the books I include in a theme post.
I’m still finding my voice with this. I’m trying to aim this blog at kids, but sometimes my summaries sound more like book reviews for adults or book annotations for teachers and librarians, who I hope are also reading Book Buzz, rather than persuasive booktalks for students. But I plan to stick with it, and hopefully it will keep getting better!