I am sitting at the Wild Oat Bakery in Ottawa, picking away at a tasty lavender honey scone after completing an interview with Mark and Andrea for JustOneMoreBook.com. I have so much nervous energy that needs to be worked off! Fortunately, this area of the city (the Glebe) is perfect for a walking tour. While I felt relaxed during the interview, I still managed to work up a sweat which caused my shirt to be dotted with wet splotches. Eww. I shall blame it on consuming two large cups of hot coffee on a warm morning.
I love talking about reading and writing and having this opportunity was a treat. I could have talked--er, rambled--for hours. (A fun interview would be a walkthrough at a bookstore or library during which I could pull favorites from the shelves and discuss them.)
Andrea and Mark are doing something special in promoting a love of reading. Part of what makes their efforts so powerful is that they are talking together as a mother and father about books they share with their own children. I would love to see more dads actively involved on a regular basis in reading with their kids and talking about books. It seems there are fewer spaces in print for children's books to be reviewed. This is a shame since a love for reading needs to start when people are young. When newspapers devote most/all of their review space to adult books, a chance to promote literacy is missed. And, no, the odd review of the hyped-children's-book-of-the-year--say, a Harry Potter or Stephenie Meyer's Breaking Dawn--doesn't cut it. Not all children are the same. They have reading interests as diverse as adults do. There are books without wizards and vampires that deserve to be reviewed.
That's what makes JustOneMoreBook!! so important. Although my novel, Fouling Out, is for older readers (ages 10-14), Mark and Andrea have created a site that reviews picture books and some easy novels for younger readers. What a wonderful place to discover a few new books to check out from a local library or to order from your local bookstore! It was a privilege to "experience" the beginning of the process in which they post podcasts. Take a look at their website. There are many archived book talks and interviews that you can visit.