Featured Blogger: Amy at Hope Is the Word

Our first featured blogger is Amy at Hope Is The Word, who hosts the Armchair Cybils every year. She was nominated by Sherry at Semicolon who says: ” Amy reads and reviews lots of Cybils nominees and gives bloggers who are unable to be judges a chance to get in on the Cybils fun. Amy is a teacher and librarian turned stay-at-home, home-educating mother.  Hope Is the Word is also the home of Read Aloud Thursday, which is a monthly meme in which bloggers share their families’ read-alouds on the fourth Thursday of each month. ”

Tell us a bit about yourself and your blog.
I started Hope Is the Word on a whim back in November of 2007. At the time, I had two children, a two year old girl and a three year old girl, and I worked very part time at a community college teaching English. I had begun reading blogs in my spare time and thought it looked like a fun thing to do. My blog started out as a mishmash of ideas–I shared anything I thought was interesting: homemaking ideas, parenting, etc. Finally, I decided that I’d focus on my passion, which is reading and children’s books. Fast forward seven years and now our family is a family of six. Our girls are now ten and almost nine, and we have two little boys, ages four and eighteen months. My interests have expanded a bit to include homeschooling, too, but it all usually comes back to books.

Why did you start blogging?
I usually say it’s because I miss being an elementary librarian. It’s my professional “fix.” I graduated from the School of Library Information Studies at the University of Alabama back in 2002 and worked for a couple of years as an elementary librarian before becoming a SAHM. I miss pushing books on people, I guess.

How/Why did you get involved with the Cybils?
I was really intrigued by this idea of a common man’s book award. I’m always excited for the ALA awards each year, but I get twice as excited about the Cybils because I can actually be involved in the process! (I still remember the rush of excitement I experienced when a book I nominated–Can We Save the Tiger? by Martin Jenkins– was shortlisted in the nonfiction picture book category!) I served as a round two panelist for the 2012 Cybils in the nonfiction picture book category and had a ball!

You host the Armchair Cybils! What is it and how did you get started doing that?
I started the Armchair Cybils in 2011. I intended to read as many of the Cybils nominated titles as I could get my hands on, and I thought it would be a lot of fun to get others to join me. I’m not so great at the social networking aspect of blogging, so it hasn’t taken off as quickly as I hoped, but I enjoy it every year. I’m at it again this year. You can read more about it here, and everyone is welcome to join. (Pretty please? 🙂 )

What’s your favorite kidlit book you’ve read this year?
This year has been a big year for series fiction as far as our read-alouds go. I just finished reading the last book in The Melendy Quartet by Elizabeth Enright to my children the very night I’m completing this interview, and I have to say that I don’t know when I’ve enjoyed a series more. If you’ve never The Melendy Quartet, you’re in for a treat. (See what I mean about pushing books on people?) A close second for me personally is The Wednesdays Wars by Gary D. Schmidt.

Thank you, Amy!