In which I have the pleasure of chatting with Sandra from Musings of a Book Addict

Today is Interview Swap Day for Book Blogger Appreciation Week! I threw my name in the hat, and was paired with Sandra who blogs at Musings of a Book Addict. Sandra is my favorite kind of teacher--a teacher of reading. And excitingly, this post of Sandra's, a vent on the fate of reading, has just been mentioned in an article in the Examiner.

Here's a bit more about her and her blog!

1. What made you decide to start a book blog?

I began my blog as a writing site where I put up a question and my students answered. I teach reading and I teach ESOL (English to Speakers of Other Languages ) Unfortunately only my ESOL students were replying. So I started to review books and then I would place them in the chalk tray hoping my students would read them.

2. Has your blog's focus changed since you began? From my browsing through your blog, it seems you write about teaching reading and about books, both children's books and Christian adult books--is the balance shifting one way or another?

When I first started I was only reviewing Middle Grades/Young Adult Books for my students. At the end of the school year I entered my first challenge "Mother Reader's 48 hour Reading Challenge". It started the last day for teachers so I made sure my students could follow me. I agreed to read 10 books minimum for the challenge and then agreed to read 60 or more books from June 5th through August 17th. I hit both goals. It was through this I started getting books to review and branched out into reading adult books as well. I have always loved Christian fiction but didn't know too many authors or series beyond the Left Behind series. I have just become a very eclectic reader. Occasionally I "vent" about the path that reading in schools is taking and it isn't always flattering to the schools system.

3. The book blogosphere seems to be getting bigger every month, and it's hard to keep track of it all! I have my own little part of it, a group called the kidlitosphere (here's its website), but I try to branch out a bit beyond that. I'm curious about the blog world you write and read in. Were there any blogs in particular that inspired you to begin? That you turn to for book reviews? Other teachers blogs you love? Have you heard of the "kidlitosphere," because if you haven't, you might enjoy meeting some of the bloggers who are under that umbrella--there are, for instance lots of teachers. And have you heard of the Cybils Awards?

I actually started getting book ideas from Jen Robinson's Book Page. She introduced me to The Reading Tub, RIF and a few others. Up until that point I purchased books based on Scholastic book clubs, browsing Amazon.com or my local books store. I think I get better books because I read other blogs. I am slightly familiar with Kidlitosphere because of Jen Robinson. I read the book at her recommendation "The Book Whisperer" and things started turning from there. I have heard of the Cybils Awards but don't really know what this is all about. I would like to learn more.

The Cybils are awards given by the children's book blogging community in a variety of categories. The winners are picked based on both the quality of the writing and their appeal to kids--it looks to spotlight those books that will be passed most briskly from hand to hand. This criteria makes the Cybils shortlists a great resource for anyone looking for books for reluctant readers!

And here's the link to Kidlitosphere Central.

4. Do your colleagues at school read your blog? How do they feel about it?

I have two teachers who read my blog. Most of the reading teachers do not. As a matter of fact they think I am kind of strange for the number of books I read. I have several who have read it for a strange reason. I wrote a book and thought I had a publisher for it and my best friend blabbed it at a meeting. The deal fell through but this made several of the teachers check out what I was doing. I am still writing and still putting my manuscript out there.

I've read about that on other blogs--teachers of reading who don't read. I find that strange and sad...

And good luck with the writing!

5.How do you go about finding books for your students?

I go through about 20 different blogs reading reviews to find new books for my students. Until blogging I had never heard of an ARC. I also belong to Goodreads and LibraryThing now and find a lot of good books mentioned there.

6. Do you read children's books for fun yourself?

I have always read children's books for fun. I used to tell everyone it was because I had to keep up to date with books for my students. The real reason was because I just enjoyed it. I got my first adult book in 2 years for my birthday in a genre I seldom read and found I really enjoyed adult books as well as children's books.

7. Have you ever had a chance to meet blogging friends in person?

I have only met one and I worked with her last year. She had already had a blog when I started mine. I didn't know it until I invited her to view mine. I hope to get to some of the events I am finding out about where bloggers get together. Right now it is not real possible as my mother lives with us due to health reasons and travel is very limited. But I look forward to it.

Perhaps someday we'll meet in person then! Thanks so much, Sandra, for being my interview buddy, and thanks to all the organizers of BBAW for giving us participants a chance to make new blogging friends!
(and anyone who wants to know the real reason why I blog is welcome to head over to Sandra's place, where I Tell All...)


  1. Charlotte, this is cool. I am such a dork I kind of hear about things like BBAW and never follow up. I'm impressed with your dedication and really pleased to "meet" new bloggers and let them know about what we do in our little corner of the blog!

  2. Reading teachers who don't read? How sad.

    I agree with Tanita: it IS nice to meet other bloggers, and learn more about them. (Now to go read your end of the interview.)

  3. Thanks for commenting, Tanita and Melissa!

    I have been making an effort to expand my horizens a bit more--and finding it a bit overwhelming. One blog leads to another, like rabbits multiplying...So it's nice to do things like this, more peaceful-like.

  4. Nice to meet you Sandra! I do hope you get a chance to meet some bloggers in person - it is such a thrill to get to know them in real life. :)

  5. Charlotte I enjoyed getting to know you through the interview and your blog. I will continue to send people your way as you have so much to say that needs to be heard. I hope to meet other bloggers in person. I would like to get teachers I work with involved in blogging but I get excuses instead.


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