The Wash Rag, Spring 2006

Sorry to be delayed with this edition of the Wash Rag. We’ve been wrapped up in launching some new initiatives … including upgrading The Reading Tub™ Web site … and balancing that with some not-so-run-of-the-mill “speed bumps of life.” Check out the site. It looks and works fabulously. (Keep reading to learn more.)

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you have a web site that has links to Reading Tub™ profiles, you will want to find your book and update the hyperlink. Click here. If you need help with retrieving the link, just send us an email.

Given the number of unsolicited requests you get in your mailbox, you know that non-profits survive only as long as they have the financial support to continue. We get just as many solicitations as you do, so we are working hard to minimize the intrusions and integrate our fundraising into the things that are routine parts of your life. Here are our two most recent initiatives:

GoodSearch is a Yahoo!-powered search engine that helps charities. When you use GoodSearch, every search you make will send a penny to the charity of your choice. We all use the Internet to find things, so why not give those searches some value? There’s no sign up, no member lists, no subscriptions, just access to the great search resulsts you’re used to. Be sure to download the toolbar and designate the Reading Tub™ as your charity.

Authors Parties 4 Literacy. We all have something to celebrate! Among our favorite events are those we spend with family and friends. When you’re getting ready to create that perfect celebration, come visit our Authors Parties 4 Literacy site. You can order a ready-made or customize a Perfect Party Pack to meet your needs. When you do, you are supporting children’s literacy.

By supporting The Reading Tub™ through these initiatives you are helping us bring literacy to families and kids. Improving literacy rates in our country can’t work if only people who can afford to pay for the information have the access. Our mantra is that no one should have to pay extra to help their child learn to read. The information on our web site is available for free. We need your help to keep it that way. One penny can bring literacy to 100 people … so why not help someone with something you do every day?

Thanks to Beth, the Reading Tub™ web site is now a more robust, dynamic resource for anyone interested in literacy. First and foremost, you can now see EVERYTHING we have in the Book Bag, including the titles in review and awaiting a profile. Parents, teachers, and librarians will find it easier to navigate the indices and use our other tools. Authors and publishers can now see the status of their title at any time. Beginning in July, I will be changing the format of my personal note confirming we received your book. It will include the URL for the title so that you can check on it any time.

Speaking of all of the titles in the Book Bag. It has been one year since Jan @ PMA posted our interest in reviewing children’s books. The books started rolling in (and haven’t stopped) By September 2005, we were up to 500 books on the shelves! We are now holding at about 200 titles still to review. At any given time we have about 50 titles in circulation being reviewed, and we are reviewing about as many books as we receive in a given month.

For those of you still waiting for reviews, we thank you for your patience. A Reading Tub™ profile isn’t your normal book review. All of the books are shared with a child in the target range. We work very hard to match a title’s theme with a child’s/family’s interests. Our goal is to engender a love of reading and learning, and an easy way to do that is to introduce books that are complementary to a child’s/family’s interests. That means that we don’t place books based on the date they were received, we place them when there is the first opportunity for a good match. In the summer we make big strides in tackling the collection because we’re no longer competing with homework!

Regular Wash Rag readers know that we normally announce the Author Showcase in “Chapter One.” But this quarter, I’m going to change things around. The Soap Dish is the section for the things we’re excited about, and this quarter we are very excited about having Jane Kirkland and Tana Goertz in the Tub! Both of our Featured Authors are world-recognized women with powerful, incredible stories to tell. We are thrilled to feature them in the Showcase.

Jane Kirkland’s passion for nature started in the parking lot of her local grocery store. The simple event of seeing a Bald Eagle fly overhead propelled her curiosity to learn more, and ultimately became the Take a Walk® book series. The series has won innumerable awards in any number of organizations, ranging from science and nature, to publishers, educators and parenting groups. If you don’t recognize the Award-winning books, you might recognize Jane from her work on the Jeff Corwin Experience (Animal Planet), heard her on National Public Radio, or the articles she’s written for any number of magazines. Come spend some time with Jane. Click here to read our interview with Jane.

You may recognize Tana Goertz as the energetic finalist, Tana, on NBC’s The Apprentice. But did you know she’s also a children’s book author? I’m Bigger than This! is Tana’s first book. Watching her children proved to be the inspiration for this story about being true to yourself and having big dreams. To read more about Tana and the things she’s doing now, click here.

ADVERTISEMENT FOR AUTHORS: There is room for you in the Fall Author Showcase. Click here to learn more about becoming one of our Featured Authors.

Everyone loves summer. Some people like it because the pace is a little more relaxed, and it means vacation and a break from the routine. More often than not, though, we love summer because it seems every day there’s an opportunity to do or see or share something fun.

If you’re looking for something fun and meaningful to do with your kids, why not turn their lemonade stand into an opportunity to help the public school libraries STILL devastated by Hurricane Katrina? Click this link to learn more: NEA Books Across America

What about letting the kids start a book club? Keeping them reading during the summer is just as important as reminding them to slather on the sunscreen. Need more assurance? Click here for a recent article that came to our attention via the Salt Lake Tribune.

And, last but not least, if you’re looking for some new books to read, be sure to check out our most recent Book Bags. We’ve purposely loaded them with books that reflect summer and offer fun things to do.