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Where's Waldo

It’s OK when Waldo disappears. That’s his frickin’ job. I have no excuse.

Readers – if you’re still out there – I’d really like to apologize for the ridiculously long break I’ve taken from posting lately. I realize it’s been almost exactly a month since my last post, which isn’t cool. When you start a blog and build a readership, there’s an expectation that, to thank people for reading your past work, you actually… you know… write new work for them to read. That’s part of the whole blogging ethos, right?

All I can say is: “I apologize.” In my defense – and because I love making excuses so much that I actually have an “excuses” tag in my tag cloud – it’s been a very weird month. I’ve been hit with a crazy work schedule, a minor-yet-annoying sleep disorder, an intense bout of writer’s block, and, most importantly, I’ve had to deal with the borderline insane end-of-the-year activities that accompanied my daughter finishing her very first year of school. She’s now a kindergarten graduate – a fact that makes me both profoundly proud and profoundly sad.

Someone should write a book about that. Well, someone probably has and I’ve just been too lazy to find it recently, so, again, SORRY! I will endeavor to make sure that it doesn’t happen again.

To make up for my posting famine, I’ve scheduled a bit of a feast for next week. Today, I’m going to post the introduction to a new series we’re kicking off titled “What We Took Out From the Library Last Week.” We went to the library this past Friday and next week, every day, from Monday to Friday, I’ll profile one of the books we checked out to give you a taste of what’s on our reading radar at the moment.

I hope you guys enjoy the new series and I hope that there’s even a few of you still reading after my unexpected disappearance. I’m looking forward to ranting about kids’ books in your general direction soon. Thanks for understanding.

Where's Waldo?

Seriously though, can you help me find Waldo? He’s good at his job. (Click to embiggen.)


Was that too obvious a note to start on? Dammit. Well, hopefully, I can set the bar low with this first post and move upwards and onwards from there.

So, what is this blog about? First, check out our “About” page (again, too obvious?) to get my answer to the question – WHAT DOES “BUILDING A LIBRARY” MEAN?

Home libraries are fun

One of several branches of our in-home library

But, beyond that, let me give you the highlights. For the past five years, I’ve been obsessively collecting books for my daughter in the attempt to build her a nicely diverse and engaging library of books that she can read right now and books that (hopefully) she will read one day.

My library project has had its ups and downs, and I want to share my results. Why? Because a). I want to give parents, who are looking for new books for their own children, the benefit of our experience and maybe help recommend some really great books, and b). I just enjoy talking about kids’ books.

How is this going to work? Every week, I’ll profile different books in our library. I’ll give you a skeptical parent overview of the book, let you know if I recommend it as a buy or if I suggest that you pilot it via your local library, and I’ll help up some context around the book too – i.e. recommendations for other similar books, discussions of genre, characters, etc.

On the right, you’ll notice a sidebar called “My Dewey System.” This is my attempt to categorize the different books that you’ll be likely to find in a kid’s library. The categories in the sidebar will expand over the next week or so, but, at the moment, our list of categories includes:

Board Books, Picture Books, Easy Readers, Chapter Books, Young Adult Books, Poetry, Nonfiction, Comic Books, and, my favorite, Books My Kid Will Read in the Future.

Dust Cover Pile-Up

Dust covers roam like tumbleweeds in our house…

(Yeah, yeah, I know there are WAY more actual categories of children’s books, but this is what we’re going to start with.)

You’ll also find posts with original articles and general miscellany about kids books, links to other great resources on the web (check out our blog roll and Twitter sidebar for a very cool collection of links), and anything else I deem relevant. I’ve spent a lot of time collecting different resources in my hunt for the perfect books for my kid and now I want to spread the wealth – hopefully, some of you might actually find it valuable. (No worries, if not.)

And, most importantly, if you have a great book that you want to recommend or that you think any children’s library should not be without, PLEASE send me an email and let me know. There is a very, very selfish side to this project, in that I really want the dialogue to go both ways so I can reap some really excellent new book suggestions for my daughter.

Regardless, thanks for checking out the site and I hope you enjoy the ramblings of a self-obsessed, unlicensed, amateur children’s librarian. (Enjoy, tolerate… I’ll take what I can get.)