Today’s Cybils Judge of the Day is Wendy E. Betts. Wendy runs the popular children’s literature blog, Blog from the Windowsill. She also writes and edits Notes from the Windowsill, an e-zine devoted to children’s books. Wendy is serving as a judge for the Poetry category.
To get to know Wendy better, we asked her some questions.
A: I’ve kept personal blogs for about 5 years, but started my professional blog about children’s books 2 years ago.
Q: Why do you blog?
A: Narcissism 😉 And to join in the exciting community that was mushrooming on the Internet, now known as the kidlitosphere.
Q: What is it about children’s books that you like most?
A: The care they take to respect the emotional lives of their readers.
Q: Favorite book that didn’t make the shortlist?
A: There’s a Flower at the End of My Nose Smelling Me. Doesn’t break my heart though. I didn’t really see it as winning.
Q: Do you and your kids, nieces, nephews, grandchildren, or young friends ever disagree on reading choices?
A: I’m having trouble getting my son to listen to chapter books, which makes me pretty sad. We used to read all sorts of great books aloud to him, but now he’s just not interested. And of course, like most kids he sometimes enjoys very tedious books like the Berenstain Bears.
I was also disappointed to find that my niece is not receptive to fantasy at all. I still hope that will change.
Q: If you could have a fictional character visit you for a day, who would it be and how would you spend the time together?
A: I would like Nona from Miss Happiness and Miss Flower to come and bring her Japanese doll house, so we could play with it.
Wendy’s book reviews are excellent. Here’s an excerpt from her review of Jill Paton Walsh’s A Chance Child:
The theme of almost all orphan stories is a child’s journey from loneliness and want to an ideal, true home–and often, the stronger the need, the harder the journey. This unforgettable book finds a new depth in that old theme, telling the story of a boy so far away from a home that he has to find it not just in another place, but in another time.
"The cut goes on, or back, from here," said the man. "I’ll go back," said Creep. But he will never know how true his words were. For Creep, an unwanted and severely abused child, has lived all his short life locked in a closet, and when he escapes and drifts away down a canal he has no way of knowing that he is drifting into the past–or that his brother Christopher is searching desperately for him in the present.