Reflecting on 2018

Image result for new year imageThe idea for this blog came to me when I was driving home from work with my three-year-old who was telling me stories about his day from the backseat of my Mazda CX5 (nicknamed “The Mom Mobile”). I was distractedly listening while thinking about the limitations of sharing my research about children’s literature only with an academic audience. I’d presented my work about LGBTQ children’s literature at the Children’s Literature Association conference the previous month, and had published a book chapter and a journal article on the subject, but I knew the conversation about kid’s lit was happening beyond academic conferences and publications. I wanted to participate in it.

I have found so many brilliant and generous kid lit scholars through this blog and my Twitter account. Of course, people have been developing lists and reviews of diverse children’s literature to share with parents, educators, and librarians. And, of course, many of these people are parents, educators, and librarians! It’s been wonderful to connect with people who have different experiences and reasons for engaging children’s literature. I’ve had awesome conversations with writers, librarians, and other bloggers. Thank you! I hope folks continue to reach out. I’m always happy to consider books for review and talk about children’s literature with other passionate readers!

I posted my first review, of Jessica Love’s Julián Is a Mermaid, on July 28th. Since then, I have posted dozens of reviews. Most of these reviews focus on books that explore race, gender, sexuality, class, and ability.

I am so excited about how quickly my followers have grown! I think I’ll reach 1500 blog and 1500 Twitter followers by my six month blogaversary on January 28!! I’m also slowly but steadily building a following on GoodReads and Facebook!

One of my most exciting 2018 accomplishments was judging the Cybils Awards. I was a round one judge for easy readers and early chapter books. This meant reading, evaluating, and sometimes reviewing 100 really great books! I appreciated the opportunity and hope to participate in the future!

In 2019, I will be adding middle grade and young adult book reviews to my blog. It’s a natural extension of the work I am already doing. I’ll publish my first YA review tomorrow – Ruth Lehrer’s Being Fishkill. I’ll follow this with my first middle grade review later this week. I love Zetta Elliot’s children’s picture books and have reviewed a couple. It makes sense that Dragons in a Bag will be the first middle grade book I review.

I am also participating in Multicultural Children’s Book Day January 25th and am very excited about it!

A BIG thank you to everyone following me, reading my reviews, and making good book choices! We need children’s literature that is inclusive, socially relevant, and beautifully written and illustrated.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Jennifer Miller, PhD

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