This is the digest version of The Wash Rag, the Reading Tub's quarterly newsletter. If you prefer, you can read the newsletter edition. It has a lot more links and tidbits, like this one ...
Thanks to Mother Nature, the Swans Island (Maine) public library has burned to the ground. The library lost all of its holdings and needs your help.
Chapter One ... General Tub Stuff
In the Spring Edition, I was packing for BookExpo America. Even though BEA is "just" three days, its effects last a very long time. Now, a month later, I am re-energized, refocused, and drowning in books … all good things.
The Reading Ahead posts for May/June at Scrub-a-Dub-Tub; the Reading Tub® blog is filled with many of the titles we received at BookExpo America. I cannot thank the publishers enough for their generosity in giving us the opportunity to read their book and donate it to an at-risk child. We are looking forward taking these contacts beyond BEA to long-term relationships.
Thanks to everyone who took our surveys. The information is very helpful for us as we begin to plot our direction and focus for the coming year. You can read the complete findings in the Survey Results post on the blog.
Before I go any further, I want to offer a very special thanks to Ashley B. who has valiantly tracked down missing library URLs and started adding new library links to the Reading Tub® website. We now have more than 1,000 public libraries in our directory. The only US states not listed are Montana and New Mexico. We just have not had any registered users from those locations.
Huge thanks also goes to Shelly T, our high school intern this summer. In addition to helping us build our database of literacy facts and ideas, Shelly prepared our interview with Jennifer Fosberry. The questions are hers, so I want to give her full credit! Before summer is out, Shelly has promised to write an article about her observations about reading and offer some ideas about how to reach that upper-high school audience.The fall 2008 edition of the Wash Rag will come out just about the time we reach our fifth anniversary. To celebrate this milestone, we are going to help promote book purchases for libraries and schools in need. I got the idea from the Kids Need to Read Foundation. So, if your school or library has a wish list on a bookseller site, please let me know about it. I will add it to a list of potential gift recipients when we celebrate later this year.
The Author Showcase
There is something magical when five authors – who do not know each other – become connected by their ability to create timeless stories. As young girls, our featured guests loved fairy tales and mysteries. They brought that love to their writing. Each of these women drew on their love of reading to create modern stories in styles and with plots reminiscent (but not duplicate) of the books and genres that inspired them.
Dr. Mosetta Penick Phillips-Cermak remembers the fairy tales her mother read to her as a child. When she decided to create a book to celebrate the birth of a grandniece, she knew a fairy tale would be just right! Meet Dr. Mosetta Penick Phillips-Cermak.
Hannah Stahlhut walked away from a 400-page manuscript to enter the Tweener Ministries International Reading Competition, where teens write a book for the Tweener (8 to 12) audience. Hannah took her unwritten idea and created an award-winning fantasy for pre-teens. Meet Hannah Stahlhut
Jennifer Swanson watched as her dog Penny dug all of the dirt out of a planter and then proceeded to sit there and study the world. That event propelled Jennifer to explore writing children's books. She has created Penny and Rio, a picture-book mystery series featuring two doggy detectives. Pull out your magnifying glass to meet Jennifer.
Thora Gabriel cherished those moments when she could leave the farm behind and enter the fairy elf kingdom she created in the woods nearby. Now am avid hiker, she knows the elf kingdom is there, somewhere, among the caverns of the Southwest United States. She is counting on Chessie Bligh, the hero of her award-winning fantasy, to help her discover the truth. Come explore the elf realm with Thora Gabriel.
For Jennifer Fosberry writing is the inevitable result of having science in her blood. Library science, that is. She started Monkey Barrel Press as a way to create books that move beyond repackaged "princess stuff." Her picture book, My Name is Not Isabella, introduces children to six women of great accomplishment. Meet (self-described) Top Banana, Jennifer Fosberry.
The Final Rinse
As we cross the halfway point for 2008, I look back and remain amazed at all that we have accomplished. You won't find it in the number of books we review (although it is a lot) or the number of requests we get (that's a lot, too). It is in the connections we have made with authors, publishers, parents, teachers, librarians –and others – who believe so passionately about creating a generation of successful readers that they give up their free time to share ideas, lead workshops, or just chat.
No one should have to pay extra to find a good book, and all of these folks make that possible. Literacy and raising readers should not be a competitive endeavor. There is no one, "perfect" solution to encouraging and promoting reading. Each child is different … and thankfully, there are people and tools that just might get her/him to open a book and turn the page!