Today is the fifth anniversary of the day that I started Jen Robinson's Book Page. I remember exactly where I was, sitting on the couch in our old rental duplex (2 moves ago) with the computer on my lap, figuring I'd give this whole blogging thing a try. [Image credit About.com Guide to Web Clip Art]
I never would have though that I'd still be here blogging five years, 1935 posts, and ~470,000 page views later (so says Typepad). But it's funny. When I look back on my early posts, I find that what I'm trying to do with this blog hasn't changed much at all. In the first couple of weeks I published:
- Various links to articles about children's literacy news (this roundup I composed sitting at a friend's house while visiting Boston over the holidays, a testimonial to my early dedication)
- Mini-profiles of First Book and Reach Out and Read, with a hint to remember during the holidays to support programs that give books to kids. I also made a pitch for giving books to your local library (I'm now on the Foundation Board for the library that I mentioned, and Tweet on the board's behalf).
- Highlights from books given and received for Christmas
- 25 Children's Books that Adults will Enjoy and Early Chapter Books that Parents and Kids Enjoy (while I might make a few edits to these lists now, they're still fun to look back on)
- Why You Should Read Children's Books as an Adult
- Three Fundamental Ideas about Books (my intro post, in which I discussed why I was starting the blog)
In January of 2006 I published my first children's book reviews, made lists of "comfort books", and highlighted a range of children's literacy and reading topics. So, yes, I think I've stayed pretty true to my blog's roots over these five years. I still focus on children's literacy news and organizations, children's books, and the joys of reading.
Oh, I've branched out here and there, participating in cross-blog efforts, like the Cybils, Booklights, Kidlitosphere Central, Mother Reader's 48 Hour Book Challenge, Kidlitcon, Share a Story/Shape a Future, and (a while back) the Winter Blog Blast Tours and Readergirlz. I've started working together with Terry Doherty and Carol Rasco on the literacy roundups. I've published quite a few reviews. I've become active on Twitter. I created an email newsletter version of the blog. Etc..
I've found it necessary to refine my focus (this is a recurring activity), deciding that interviews and giveaways weren't my thing, and honing in on the particular sub-categories of books that most interest me. But still, I'm pleased when I see that the things that were important to me when I started the blog remain important to me today.
What's changed the most, in terms of my blog, is that I no longer feel like I'm one person sitting on the couch sharing my thoughts out into the world. I feel instead like I'm part of a community of people who care about children's books and growing bookworms. And I've become a person who has friends (whether I've met them in person or not) all over the world who share these same interests. What an amazing gift!
Not to mention the other gifts that my blog has given me, like:
- The chance to go to Kidlitcon every year.
- The stacks of books.
- The opportunities to meet and chat with authors.
- The chance to make a difference to organizations like RIF and Reach Out and Read.
The blog has been a bit on the back burner for me this year, following the birth of my daughter (10 weeks early) in April. Ironic, that having a child of my own makes me less able to review and discuss children's books, but that's life, and I wouldn't have it any other way. (Growing a bookworm of my own is changing how I blog in other ways, but that's a topic for another post.)
But even when I don't have the time that I would like to spend on my blog, rest assured that it's never far from my heart. And it's comforting to know that the friends that I've made over these five years are still out there, ready to talk books and growing bookworms with me when I'm able to pop in.
My thanks to everyone who has stopped by Jen Robinson's Book Page these past five years (or followed me on Google Reader, or Twitter, or Facebook, or wherever). You've all changed my life for the better, and I am grateful. Wishing you all a joyful holiday season, and lots of great books in 2011.