Why I Blog About Books: Guest Post by Jo Clarke

I started blogging about Children’s Books about seven months ago in response to regularly being asked to recommend books by parents, children and teachers at the school. Working as a school librarian gives me access to lots of children and parents but I began to wonder how I could best share my love of books with as many people as possible. I don’t get the opportunity to talk to every parent who may be looking for ways to inspire a love of reading, so hopefully my blog offers some ideas of new and different books to suggest to their children.

I write specifically about books suitable for Primary Aged Children from 4 – 11 which covers a large scope of books from picture books, to early fiction moving on to Middle Grade and Young Teen. The most exciting thing about blogging is that it encourages me to pick up and read books which I wouldn’t have normally considered and as a result I have discovered a wide range of truly brilliant books. This means that when children ask me to recommend books to them at school I can genuinely offer them selections based on what I have actually read. This does often lead to my favourite question, “Mrs Clarke, have you read every book in the library.” Well if I had a time turner like Hermione Granger I might be able to do that one day!

If I could offer any words of advice when starting blogging is to try and stay true to yourself and learn to say No! When you first embark on blogging you may quite quickly find yourself inundated with requests to review books for people. At first it is can be flattering but there is nothing worse than finding you have an out of control review pile which contains very few books you actually want to read. Blogging does take up a lot of your time so it’s best to decide from the beginning how long you want to spend writing each week. I tend to blog twice a week on my day off and at a weekend but sometimes I look at my review pile and I want to scream as it never seems to get any smaller. Try and be realistic it is meant to be enjoyable and not be a chore. There is nothing worse than promising to meet a deadline and panicking that you are not going to meet it.

I can honestly say I love blogging it has given me the opportunity to start writing again something I loved doing a long time ago before life got in the way and I allowed it to get totally sidelined. In my crazy busy life writing my blog means that I am choosing to carve myself some time to do something I absolutely love, which is a real sanity saver. It’s a privilege to be able to share my passion with others and every time somebody chooses a book based on my

recommendation it gives me an enormous sense of joyfulness. There has been some amazing highlights way too many to mention. Interviewing the brilliant Phil Earle, attending book launches and meeting truly brilliant authors and other book obsessive types have been has been a totally unexpected result of my blog. I have been lucky to meet so many people on Twitter and in real life who have generously welcomed me into this fabulous book community. With blogging I genuinely feel I have found my niche and it has become an integral part of who I am. When people ask what I do I always tell them I’m a school librarian and that I blog about children’s books.

The response from those who have taken the time to read my blog has been overwhelmingly positive and supportive which helps combat the doubting voices in my head who question everything I write. So if you want to give blogging a try and you have something in your life you’re ridiculously passionate about then why not give it a try!

Jo blogs here and tweets as @bookloverJo

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