YALSA HUB Challenge Update

The YALSA Hub Reading Challenge is one of my favorite reading challenges, and it is time for the first check -in. The goal of the challenge is to read 25 books from a list (available here in sortable spreadsheet form) of the most recent award winner and honor books and YALSA selected lists. 


I just finished book  #8. Each year I try to read 1 book from each category and then go back and read books that look like books of interest. I have generally enjoyed each of  the books I have read so far.

1. Dear Martin (Morris, Quick Books)
2. As the Crow Flies (Stonewall) most problematic/unsatisfying, I'm not a fan of series, hence #8. 
3.Piecing Me Together (Best Fiction, Amelia Bloomer, Coretta Scott King)
4. I am Alfonso Jones (Great Graphic Novels)
5. Saints and Misfits (Morris, Amelia Bloomer)
6. We are Okay  (Printz, Rainbow List)
7. The Stars Beneath Our Feet (Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe)
8. Little & Lion (Stonewall)

Piecing Me Together is my favorite at this time. As a former gifted and talented student in the first International Baccalaureate program at my high school, so much of this book rings true. I was especially impacted by the examination of why so many programs, volunteers, and organizations seek to "support" underrepresented students of color, but never consider the gifts, talents, and passion that these same students of color have to offer the wider community.

If you'd like to join in on this challenge you can sign up here. Happy Reading!


My One Word - A Journey to JOY

Now that January is behind us and most of us who decide to select a word for the year have done so, I wanted to share my journey to my one word for 2018. I purchased My One Word by Mike Ashcraft and Rachel Olsen a few years ago because it has a spiritual focus and I have never really done New Year's Resolutions but wanted a way to bring focus to each year.
My word for 2017 was "enough" and I had a wonderful experience with the word. Around October I began thinking about my word for 2018 and "resist" came to me very quickly. There is much in society and in my workplace that I need to resist. Weeks went by and the word "integrity" came to me. It made sense that I would need to resist with integrity and I absolutely loved the multiple meanings of integrity. The state of being whole and undivided? Yes, please. This was great, but I didn't seem to be finished. Fast forward to Thanksgiving and a young family member announces that she is expecting her first child. "Declutter" was the word that came with the announcement. That did not seem to be a word that would carry me through the year and I didn't know how it would work with "resist" and "integrity", but "declutter" was the next word to be written in my planner. Enter Simon Sinek, author of Start with Why. I was missing my why. I wanted to declutter to create physical, emotional, and spiritual space for JOY. My one word for 2018 is JOY.

But what of the other words? They are all in my mission statement which I write in the front of my planner each year: Resist with integrity, and declutter to create physical, emotional, and spiritual space for JOY.



The Power of Yes, Solo and Kwame Alexander


This post is actually inspired by a TEDxHerndon Talk and not a book, but the book love is all up and through the TEDx Talk. 

The word creates the perception, but the work creates the reality.
There is so much truth for me in this statement. 2017 has been the year of yes for me.  I have said yes to serving on numerous committees and initiative teams in both my professional and faith communities. When I say numerous, I mean well over a dozen. Ironically, my word for the year is "enough." This word is to remind me that I am enough. I am smart enough, good enough, and worthy enough. This word is also to remind me that enough is enough. I have enough and I do enough. I often find myself saying yes to others in order to prove my worth to myself and others. However, saying yes to too many requests and opportunities leaves me exhausted and unable to do my best work, thus proving nothing, at least nothing of worth, to others. Saying yes doesn't make it so, doing the work after saying yes makes it so.

The noes are a part of life. I think we gotta learn to embrace the noes. They're going to happen. It's the way the universe works, but here's the cool thing; once all the noes have come to the party, and they go home and they're exhausted, what's left? The yes. And how many yeses do you need? You just need one.

I have a love hate relationship with writing book reviews. I absolutely love sharing books I love with others. I love giving a reluctant reader a book that may change the way they look at books and reading forever. I hate reviewing books and determining for others whether these books are "good" or "bad." To recap : promoting books = "YAY!" reviewing books = SIGH! One way authors and publishers determine who they should get to promote their books is by reading reviews. Soooooo a call went out for applications to be a part of the Solo Launch Team. I applied. Will they say yes?

The million dollar question : "How do you say yes to yourself and not let other people's noes defines who you are?


Dewey's Readathon - Opening Survey

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?
I am reading in Denver, CO

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?I am most looking forward to reading Asking for It by Louise O'Neill

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?I am most looking forward to enjoying some aromatic Good Earth tea while I settle in to read.

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!I am a public librarian and former classroom teacher. I am also a Christian Friend(Quaker) and a labyrinth walker.

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? This is my first working readathon. In past years I've had the day off from work. I  was able to read for the full 24 hours, or until I fell asleep. Today, I have 3 books in my TBR pile, and I know I probably won't finish them. Also different is that I only plan to read YA books. I am participating in the YALSA Hub Challenge, so today is a 2 birds 1 stone kind of deal.


End of Event Survey

The Vegetarian        6261270  Britt-Marie Was Here

  • Which hour was most daunting for you? Hour 1. I started with a book I had previously been unable to finish. I may need to re-evaluate that strategy in April. Unfinished books are a great idea for the readathon tbr pile. Books that I am unable to finish because reading them is like plodding through the densest forest only to be trapped in quicksand = not a good idea.

  • Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year? The Vegetarian by Han Kang, Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman.

  • Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next season? I like that there are many platforms on which to participate, but it would be very nice if for one hour everyone posted on one platform. The actual website would be nice since everyone doesn't use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Litsy, or Pinterest.

  • What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon? The Facebook group worked very well this year.  Veteran readathoners and first-timers both seemed to enjoy the platform. 

  • How many books did you read? I read two books.

  • What were the names of the books you read? I read The Noticer by Andy Andrews, and Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman.

  • Which book did you enjoy most? Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik BackmanWhich did you enjoy least? The Noticer by Andy Andrews.

  • How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time? I will most likely participate again. I like being a reader and a cheerleader. At some point in my readathon career, I would like to write a warm-up post, and host a mini-challenge.


Mid- Event Survey

1. What are you reading right now? I am reading Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman
2. How many books have you read so far? Two
3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon? Black Panther and A Wind in the Door by Madeleine L'Engle
4. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those? I have today off from work, but I've still had far too many interruptions for my liking. I dealt with the interruptions by  dealing with work "emergencies" as quickly as possible and returning to readathon land.
5. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far? I am most surprised by my slow reading pace this readathon. I am enjoying readathon as always, but I am reading much more slowly.