This week is the 4th Book Blogger Appreciation Week! (Check out all the special events and awards here).
As part of the celebrations, I signed up for BBAW's fantastic interview swap and was lucky enough to be assigned smiley Janelle from Brimful Curiosities as my partner:
This has been a great experience, not only because it has introduced me to Janelle's carefully written blog, brimming with enthusiasm about books and their unending possibilities, but because it has also made me stop and think about my own blog in more detail than I ever had (you can read her interview to me, here).
Brimful Curiosities was new to me, but after the first ten minutes' reading I had already become a fan. How can one not love, just by way of example, her latest book review, of Press Here by Hervé Tullet (a firm favourite in our household), complete with their own 'interactive' book, Sunflower Grow?
|Janelle and her kids' very own interactive book featured in the|
Brimful Curiosities review of Press Here by Hervé Tullet. We love it!
Another great reason for following Janelle's Brimful Curiosities is her excellent Full to the Brim Children's Book Giveaway List.
Read this interview to find out about Janelle's motivations, inspirations, goals, advice for new bloggers and some of her favourite blogs.
Enjoy and feel free to add any of your own questions for Janelle in the comments!
WRLT (Ellen): You have a very useful section in your blog containing information about why you blog, why you chose the name Brimful Curiosities and a bit more about yourself, but that shouldn't stop me from starting with an introductory question: When did you start Brimful Curiosities and what made you start it?
BC (Janelle): I wrote my first Brimful Curiosities blog post in September 2008. I can't cite an exact reason for starting my own blog. Honestly, I didn't begin my blog with any special purpose or goal in mind. It began as more of an experiment, a way to test the waters of technology. As a stay-at-home mom, I wanted to keep current and the advances in social media intrigued me. Plus, blogging seemed like a good way to network and reach out to others with similar interests and life experiences. At the time my daughter was three years old and my son only 6 months old. Blogging gave me the chance to "talk" with other adults and provided the creative outlet I needed.
Additionally, before my son was born, I worked as a children's librarian. I missed learning about the new books before they were released and keeping up with the latest in children's literature. I eventually decided to focus my posts primarily on children's literature and write about books from a mother's viewpoint. I also noticed that although many blogs were hosting children's book giveaways, the contests weren't garnering much attention. I started compiling Full to the Brim Children's Book Giveaway Lists early on, as a way to inform readers of book contests and also to provide other bloggers with a way to announce their contests.
WRLT (Ellen): What do you find hardest and what do you find most rewarding about keeping your Brimful Curiosities blog?
BC (Janelle): For me, there's definitely more pluses than minuses to blogging. Otherwise I wouldn't keep on posting. Blogging provides me with daily inspiration and helps keep my mind active. I also love how I'm always developing new connections and learning all sorts of new things. I'm kind of an information junkie. I try to absorb as much as possible.
Finding the time to write posts is one of the biggest challenges I face in blogging. I try very hard to keep a good balance when it comes to life activities. Sometimes I succeed in juggling it all, other times our life circus gets too chaotic and I need to step away for a moment from Brimful C.
WRLT (Ellen): I really like the way you manage to extend the experience of many of the books you review, by thinking up all sorts of activities to complement them. Does your blog also help you keep up the creativity with your own kids?
BC (Janelle): Blogging opens up new corridors in life. At least it has for me. I don't think that I would intentionally work on as many crafts and activities with my kids if I didn't have my blog as a motivator. I'm so glad I discovered the weekly stArt meme (story + art) at A Mommy's Adventures. It has inspired me to not only read with my kids but work in story stretching activities. More creativity in the home is something I believe all parents should embrace. I think I have as much fun as my kids working on our various projects!
WRLT (Ellen): How much time do you devote to your blog? Do you ever intend to make it a source of income or do you do it simply for the fun of it?
BC (Janelle): Blogging is a hobby for me and comes after my family and other interests. Obviously there are many children's books worthy of attention. I wish I could post about them all as my family reads them. Unfortunately, I only have time to review a small portion of what we read in a week. Each post generally takes me a little over an hour to write and edit. I'm a little overly fussy about quality and won't post unless I feel that my work is up to a certain standard. That tends to slow down my production.
It would take a lot more dedication on my part to make my blog a lucrative business. I'm just not willing to devote any more time to it than I already do. Ultimately I hope that others find my posts helpful and informative. I wouldn't continue to post if I didn't enjoy the experience. :)
WRLT (Ellen): What advice would give to someone thinking of starting up a kids book or product blog?
BC (Janelle): I'm probably not the best person to ask considering I just kind of fell into blogging! I suppose it's important to give the name of your blog some thought. That's the one thing you can't easily change. I'm still happy with my blog's name, although sometimes I wish I had gone with something like "Brimful Book" or "Brimful Life" instead. It seems many people have problems spelling the word "curiosities!" Also, play around with different templates and platforms before committing. Look at other blogs and write a list of "must haves" and "likes." Finally, network with other bloggers, participate in a few memes and ask other bloggers for advice and input if you need help.
WRLT (Ellen): What other children’s book blogs do you recommend to our readers?
BC (Janelle): That is an impossible question to answer. There are just too many good blogs out there, and I discover new ones all the time, like your "We Read It Like This" blog. Earlier this year I wrote a post titled, "Parent's Staying Current - How to find the latest and best in children's books." I suggest a few wonderful children's book blogs in that post.
A thorough list of children’s and young adult literature blogs can be found on the member page of the KidLitosphere Central website.
And don't discount the homeschool or mom/dad blogs. Blogs like Almost Unschoolers, Superheroes and Princesses, Hope is the Word and Mouse Grows, Mouse Learns offer very insightful, interesting book reviews along with a myriad of other inspiring and helpful posts. There are so many more I could list! Like I said, it's too hard to pick favorites.
I hope you have enjoyed reading this interview as much as I enjoyed doing it. If you have any questions for Janelle or me, please comment here or over at her blog!