I figured keeping a quarterly update on the reading challenges I’m participating in will be a great way to keep track of my progress!
My Reading Snapshot
315 Books Read (So Far) in 2017
19 Adult Fiction
12 Adult Non-Fiction
34 Graphic Novels
26 Middle Readers
220 Picture Books
2 Young Adult
My #MustReadin2017 list continues to change. I would say I’m close to halfway through it.
I’ve read about 57 Nonfiction Picture Books already. My goal is 104.
Some reading and literary events I attended- as well as what I did for my Commitment to Literacy:
-One of the highlights of this year was getting to see Dan Santat read at the store! Here’s a post about it I’d been meaning to share:
“Dan Santat did a reading at Green Bean Books. Even though I wasn’t scheduled to work, I made sure not to miss it. The Adventures of Beekle is one of my favorite books to recommend. And seeing him read it- and after hearing him share the story behind each page- I love it even more!
He had been doing school visits all day leading up to the event but he still somehow managed to be as lively and entertaining as one can imagine- even if only basing it on his hilarious Instagram posts. The adults in the audience (including myself) may have been more excited than the kids who enjoyed themselves as well.
Dan Santat first read his latest book Rodzilla. He’s such a dynamic reader- very expressive. I felt like I was learning how to be a great storyteller just by watching him!
He followed that with Are We There Yet? and I think it blew people’s minds who hadn’t heard of it before just how creative it was not only with the premise of the story but also the way it had to be read. (His promotion for this book on Instagram was nothing short of genius!)
He then read The Cookie Fiasco and shared he had another Mo Willems collaboration in the works!
The highlight for me was definitely getting to listen to Beekle. It made me appreciate the book even more and I can understand why it deservedly won the Caldecott. (During the Children’s Institute in Portland the month before, I mentioned to a fellow bookseller there that I was a bit nervous meeting Dan Santat because he was such a big name in kidlit. She reassured me he was great. It turned out she was part of the Caldecott committee the year Beekle won!)
We were in for a treat when he read from his upcoming picture book After the Fall. What got me was that his books are basically just love letters to his family. Are We There Yet? for his younger son. Beekle for his first son. After the Fall for his wife.
My favorite part was when a balloon randomly popped during a particularly dramatic scene and it was perfect and improvised.
The last book he read was Dad and the Dinosaur. After that I basically just became a fanboy getting my book signed and having my picture taken with him.
I felt truly inspired.”
-I reached 100 hours of volunteering! My extended goal is 150 by the end of the year. I upped it since I decided to do as much good as I can to help as many people as possible.
-Most of the volunteering has been with the Multnomah County Library. I picked up extra hours helping them get ready for summer reading. This year’s theme is “Build a Better World.” We had a pizza party recently for Volunteer Appreciation and it was such a wonderful surprise!
-I volunteered at the Friends of the Library Spring Book Sale. I did a different task than I was used to the previous years but it was still rewarding. I’m always happy when people buy boxes full of books!
-With The Children’s Book Bank, I was able to co-lead another volunteer session again and I helped out at their annual fundraiser, Tell Me a Story. Local Portland celebrities and literary figures (including Chelsea Cain) shared various stories about how books transformed their lives. It was great fun!
-A non-profit that I was able to be part of again was Write Around Portland and I volunteered with them at one of their readings.
-A couple non-literary related Good Deeds I did was help out at Earth Day and my regular blood donations. And, I don’t share these things to brag (OK, maybe a little) but I just want to show how many opportunities there are for people to help others out. It doesn’t even have to be through some sort of organization or even in an official capacity!
-Last week, I got to help out a parent with an author and illustrator reading at her son’s school. They’re regular customers and wonderful. I practically forced myself into being part of it because I was so impressed by her commitment to literacy! And, I also have to give props to Curtis Manley and Tracy Subisak for agreeing to read their book Shawn Loves Shark. I’m sure it was an experience those kids won’t soon forget! (It was my first time attending a school visit presentation so I was definitely taking notes for when my time comes!)
A few things I may have forgotten to mention in previous updates in regards to my writing:
I did participate and successfully completed StoryStorm!
Book people are the best people; and, I would go so far as to say kidlit folks are the nicest of them all. They’re a supportive bunch willing to help one another out along the entire journey. I wanted to give shout-outs to these programs who had offered some sort of free content to let people like me see if the courses they provided were right. Please click through to learn more about them!
It was actually during one of the Storyteller Academy’s online classes that I ran into Mo Willems at a Starbucks when he was in Portland for a couple events! I was so nervous and I wanted to convey how amazing his books were without coming off as an insane fan!