Featured Blogger: Margo Tanenbaum

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For this month’s featured blogger, I asked the Cybils organizing team who they’d like to see. One of the names that came up was Margo Tanenbaum, a long time blogger at The Fourth Musketeer. She was delighted, and took the time to answer our questions.

Tell us a bit about you and your blog.
I am a full-time children’s librarian in the Los Angeles area and mom to 2 college students and a miniature poodle. I’ve been working as a librarian for 2 years; before that I had a number of different jobs, including college fundraiser, children’s photographer, and children’s bookseller! I decided to start a blog about historical fiction because historical fiction has been a favorite of mine since I was a child and I didn’t see anyone else with a similar blog.

When and why did you start blogging?
While I was in library school we were asked to look at different blogs for a class, and I had an “I can do that!” moment. I have always enjoyed writing and reading, so it seemed a natural activity for me. I started blogging in 2010 and have been at it ever since!

How did you come to love historical fiction and non-fiction?
I have been reading ever since I can remember, and in grade school I especially loved to read historical books like Lois Lenski’s Strawberry Girl and also biographies. (Which were not nearly as interesting as they are now!) When I was in middle school my dad recommended The Three Musketeers, and I fell in love with historical fiction. I continue to love the genre, both for children and adults. I also enjoy great nonfiction, particularly for children, since it’s more succinct and I don’t usually have the patience for the 1,000+ page adult biographies and history tomes.

Tell us a bit about Kidlit Women’s History month. What is it? How long has it been going on? How do we get involved?
In 2011, I sent out a query to a children’s blogging group to see if anyone wanted to work with me on something to commemorate women’s history and children’s books. Fellow librarian and book blogger Lisa Taylor of Shelf-Employed stepped forward, and we have been organizing this one-month blogging celebration ever since. It’s a particular joy for me to celebrate the rich resources out there today for young girls on outstanding women role models, having grown up in an era when you’d be lucky to find a few books on women from history in the library (maybe Helen Keller, Harriet Tubman, Florence Nightingale, and a few others would be available). The blog runs new posts only in March but is up all year round as a resource, and includes posts by authors, illustrators, and bloggers on noteworthy children’s and YA books to do with women’s history. 2015 will be our five year “blogoversary.” We still have a few openings for 2015; anyone who’s interested in participating can contact me at margo_tanenbaum@yahoo.com or Lisa at shelf-employed@gmail.com.

What’s your favorite kidlit (MG/Teen/Nonfiction/etc) book you’ve read in the past year? 
That’s a hard one, since I read so many wonderful books this year, particularly as a Cybils Judge! One favorite of mine this past year was the always terrific Candace Fleming’s The Family Romanov, which really brought to life the peculiar lifestyle of the Russian imperial family and the bloody revolution which brought that era to an end. This book is an excellent read for adults as well as tweens and teens.

Thank you, Margo!

If there’s a person you’d like to see as our Featured Blogger, please let us know in the comments!