I wasn't sure what to say in this final Booklights post, so I went to my library and asked my favorite characters for advice.
Mo Willems' pigeon begged me: "Let me WRITE the POST!!!!" but I wanted to do it myself.
David Wiesner's frogs said they'd get back to me on Tuesday.
Richard Scarry's Goldbug told me he'd help, but I couldn't find him.
I tried to collaborate with Doreen Cronin's cows, but I don't have a typewriter.
I almost brokered a deal with Karma Wilson's characters, but the bear wanted more.
Dr. Seuss' sock wearing fox started to dictate but my fingers got tied in knots.
Virginia Lee Burton's Mike Mulligan and Mary Ann tried to dig me out of my writer's block, but they couldn't do it in one day.
I spoke to Gene Zion's dog Harry about cleaning up some parts of the post, but he ran away.
I asked E.B. White's Charlotte for advice, but she was too busy writing for some pig.
I finally came to the conclusion that I'd have to write the ending myself. So, here's a fond farewell from all of us here at Booklights. Happy reading!
As we say goodbye to Booklights, I'd like to share with you three of my favorite memories related to the blog.
In June 2008, I was at the American Library Association Annual Conference in Disneyland and was hosting a dinner at a pizza restaurant for children's literature bloggers. During dinner, Jen Robinson told us all that she had been asked to write a blog for PBS Parents. She had done a guest post several months earlier, and was now being asked to do a regular blog. Excitement flowed around the table as we all congratulated Jen on her wonderful news.
The next night was the Newbery/Caldecott banquet. Jen and I attended together and were interviewed by Betsy Bird, sat next to incomparable and groundbreaking librarian Effie Lee Morris, were wowed by Brian Selznick and mesmerized by Laura Amy Schlitz. Somewhere in the middle of all of that, Jen told me that she hadn't been able to mention it at dinner the night before because the details were still being worked out, but PBS wanted me to write for them too. Of all the amazing events that evening, that's the one that took my breath away.
Fast forward to a much more recent memory. I was at another ALA conference, this time it was the Midwinter Meeting in Boston in January 2010. I was attending a huge Tweet-up for children's literature folks that use Twitter. I had registered late and didn't have a pre-printed tag with my Twitter identity printed on it. I grabbed a marker and a blank nametag and just wrote "Susan" and "Booklights" on it. I found myself in a throng of people and started to introduce myself. A woman I had never met before looked at my name tag, stopped me mid-sentence and said that of course she knew who I was... she was a regular Booklights reader. I said "Really? You read Booklights?" and then blogger Liz Burns who was in the group, turned, looked at me and said "Susan, we all read it." I was amazed and grateful then (and still am) that what was being written on Booklights was being read by so many people.
And lastly, the best memory of all. I was sitting at the reference desk at my library talking to a patron. I had already helped her find the books she was looking for when she mentioned that she thought I looked familiar. Did she know me from the library, I asked? No, it was her first time there. We talked about places we might have in common... my son's elementary school, the pool, etc. And then she realized she recognized my picture from Booklights. She told me that she read the blog all the time, used our advice and recommendations with her kids and that it had helped her a lot. Of all the memories, that one means the most, because it shows that we accomplished our mission helping parents instill a love of reading and books with their children.
Blogs are very public... and yet as writers, we only hear from a very small percentage of people who comment on posts. I hope that Booklights has helped you in some small way and that you've enjoyed reading what we've had to say. We've definitely enjoyed writing it. Thank you for all the memories.
In the beginning, when we talked as a team about what we wanted to share at Booklights, I knew wanted to do straight, short book reviews. It was a format I had used at my other blog, MotherReader, and I liked the structure it gave me in focusing my selections and my write-ups. It also seemed like the perfect fit alongside the broader posts that my colleagues contributed. They could get people thinking, and I'd come in with a few concrete selections. Also, I had to admit that the essay format was not my comfort zone, which tends more to throwing in phrases that I believe to be hip but are more likely so last year. Like that one. Fo'shizzle.
Anyway, with the closing of Booklights, I wanted to look back. While Jen was so sweet in identifying her favorite posts of all of us, I'm not that nice, and will only share mine. Actually it's less about me being ungenerous and more about me being lazy, but either way it leaves me linking to a few of my own favorite posts and self-quotes. Even though I just remarked on the practicality of my book review posts, they don't leave me with enough words of wisdom to sum up over a year of writing here at Booklights. That said, I at least have to mention my Thursday THIRTY: Summer Books, Tot to Tween, because I'm pretty proud of that contribution. But now I'll leave you with my words of wisdom...
1. Reading Resolutions, 12/09
On modeling reading:
I'm telling you to read during the day, perhaps in the actual presence of your child. I know it sounds crazy. But sometimes the dishes - and yes, even your kid - can wait.
2. Reading Help, 9/09
On teaching your child to read:
Other than potty training, I've found nothing that has tested my patience on a continual basis more than the beginning reading stage. There are wonderful successes, often followed by the third laborious rendering of the word then. (P.S. This impatience doesn't mean you're a bad parent.)
3. Summer Reading, Having a Blast, 6/09
On establishing reading time:
I am asked often enough how I find time to read. My answer is more like a mission statement: You don't find time to read, you make time to read.
And as I say goodbye to Booklights, I continue my theme with three quick, personal thanks: to Susan for getting me involved, to Jen for saying the right things, and to Gina for supporting us tirelessly. I'll miss our collaboration which gave us such a wonderful blog.
As one of the founding bloggers here at Booklights, I'm sorry to see the blog shutting down. I've been on hiatus from Booklights for the past 4 1/2 months (since my daughter was born 10 weeks early, and threw my schedule completely out of kilter), but the blog has remained dear to my heart. I've been grateful to Gina, Pam, Susan, and Terry for keeping things going in my absence, and I'm so sorry that external issues have caused us to have to close down the blog.
Booklights began as a place to celebrate children's books and help parents and other caregivers to get those books into the hands of kids. We've had a lot of fun posting over the past year and a half. We've talked about things like: libraries; summer reading; book awards' picture books, board books, and chapter books; outdoor reading; adventurous girls; reading levels; and creative literacy. We've enjoyed comments from parents, teachers, librarians, authors, and other children's literature and literacy fans. We've been highlighted on the PBS Facebook page from time to time, and we've shared many of our posts on Twitter. Most importantly, we've learned from one another, with many of our posts inspired by and adding to ideas that others initiated. (Image credit: photo by taliesin, made available for use at MorgueFile.)
Here are a few of my favorite posts from Booklights:
Many thanks to all of you who have tuned in over the past 18 months. Special thanks to Gina, whose hard work and dedication got this blog going in the first place. And to my Booklights co-authors, I'll miss working with you on Booklights, but I know that we'll find other ways to work together. It's been a great ride!