In 2011 We Resolve … by jhnri4Yeah! I am READY for a new year. I love the holidays – and was getting used to being disconnected – but I’m glad December is done. We had contractors here most of the month and if you’ve ever gone through that experience … ‘Nuf said. I’ve got quite a pile to clean off my desk, but it’s all organized, so we’re good to go.

It wouldn’t be the new year without a new list, so here goes. The first lists to read are the 2010 Cybils finalists. When I opened my Setting the Benchmarks post in 2010, I said “I come to the year with a mix of sadness and relief that I am cutting back on what I/we do.” Looking back, though, I have no guilt about the decision.

Goal(s) achieved! We did streamline some things, but not always in expected ways.

  • To make the Author Showcase more flexible for guests, we shifted away from quarterly interviews to an ongoing feature. Unfortunately, that has resulted in fewer interviews (read: fewer donations).  I’m going to keep the open schedule but up the advertising. In 2011 we’ll be celebrating the fifth year of the Showcase and I want it to be fabulous.
  • The Children’s Literacy and Reading News Roundups moved from a weekly feature that Jen Robinson and I shared to a newsletter that Jen, Carol Rasco, and I now write together, with each of us doing one “column” a month.
  • I had anticipated writing more about literacy and reading in 2010 on this blog and at Book(re)Marks … instead, I had an extended stint at Booklights while Jen was enjoying her first months as Mom to Baby Bookworm, and I had the honor of guest posts talking about a reading life at Carol’s blog Rasco from RIF and not one but two features at Dawn Little’s Literacy Toolbox.

The Sorta-Kinda achieved Goal: book reviews

One of my goals for 2010 was to focus more on reviewing books that were at least a year old. We lost a major middle grade/YA reviewer, so that did slow down our reviews of those titles. However …

The other sorta-kinda goal we met was “no challenges.” The intentions were right, but there were a couple of challenges that were too important to me as a reader. First it was MotherReader (Pam Coughlan) and Lee Wind’s 2010 Comment Challenge. Then it was the People of Color Reading Challenge. One of these years we WILL do Natasha Maw’s Bloggiesta … goodness knows my blog housekeeping list is long enough.

Still, we missed the mark on a few goals …

  • I wanted to read more middle grade nonfiction. Didn’t happen. I did read some incredible historical fiction, but that wasn’t the goal.
  • I wanted to spend more time writing – “pen in hand” – and modeling writing for Catherine (who melts down at the idea). I had a journal, made some entries. By March it was sporadic, by August it was kapoot. The only thing I seem to write consistently is a list.

by free vector clip artSo what journey are we planning for 2011? The KISS model is working well for us and I don’t plan to change it. One carryover I do want to change is commenting. Last year I skimmed more than I read and didn’t comment a lot. This year I am going to read and visit more and skim less. I’ll be trimming the reader list to make that happen. Here are some of our other benchmarks.

  • We’ll continue to streamline processes. For example, I am funding a transition to a PHP backbone for the website. That will let me scan a book’s ISBN and fill in a lot of the basic info I currently have to fat finger. HUGE time savings. I’m sure there will be plenty to do getting the site and macros “just right.”
  • I am going to dust off that journal and try again. Catherine came in just this morning and I was sitting here typing. I need to do some “old school” writing, too.
  • Here on the blog we’ll be doing a few more guest posts. First up: I intend to reciprocate and ask those who invited me to write to be featured here. We’ll have a few more guests [but NOT the people who keep submitting suggestions on those *educational* websites!]
  • Last year I missed KidLitCon 2010. I don’t want to do that again, so I’ve already started dropping pennies in my jar!

Speaking of community … this year I also want to be a more consistent participant in Nonfiction Monday and Poetry Friday. At some point I want to learn how to participate in some of the Twitter chats like YAlitChat or TitleTalk. We will also continue to spearhead a couple of community events, too.

easy reader book carnivalThe I Can Read Carnival, a monthly celebration of books for new and developing readers, begins its second year this month. I am excited about the growing interest in reaching developing readers and look forward to celebrating with our hosts. If you’re interested in a June through December slot,  just send me an email [thereadingtub -at- gmail – dot – com]

Elizabeth O DulembaFrom 7 to 11 March, we’ll celebrate literacy and exchange reading ideas with Share a Story – Shape a Future. This is our third annual blog tour for literacy. We recently got our own URL for Share a Story and have launched a Share a Story Twitter portal. It is so thrilling to see the interest growing in this event.  We currently have a contest going to create 2011-specific logos for our theme: Unwrapping the Gift of Literacy. Only 12 days left to submit entries!! Read more about it on the website.

WebClipart.about.comSo to sum up, our mantra for the year will be conversation.

Chatting about books …
sharing reading/book memories and inspiring stories …
talking about reading ideas and raising readers …

those are what make the kidlitosphere community so remarkable. My goal is to be a good steward and an even better neighbor.

Salud! Cheers! Ching-Ching! Here’s to a great 2011.

Image Credits

Happy New Year by jhnr4 on

2011 from

I Can Read! created by Terry Doherty

Share a Story – Shape a Future button created by Elizabeth O. Dulemba. Used with permission; all rights reserved.

Happy New Year computer from’s Web ClipArt collection

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