Reflections

So a pandemic happened.

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It’s been almost three months since I was active on WordPress, although I’ve been getting emails (hi new followers!).  Like most Americans, and most people in the world, our family has been affected by this global pandemic.  Although many people are finding lots of time to read and blog and pursue hobbies, it’s been the opposite for me.

The pandemic also put a stop to camera borrowing… so even if I were writing new posts, even those I’ve completed don’t have pictures.

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And I’ve been reflecting a lot on the purpose and intent I want to take with this blog.  When I started writing here, the sole intent was to document all the books our family used with the little kids for a 30 day overview of Black history, because coworkers and friends were asking me about it and I thought that putting everything in one place would be easier (I’d previously used an email chain for some resources).

I look back shaking my head about my naivety.  There was some stuff that I’m still proud of – the tag system and yearly book list pages have been consistent since the beginning.  I floundered a bit on how to structure reviews but was able to standardize the opening by 2017.  Early reviews didn’t consider whether the author was #ownvoices or not, and picture taking was so difficult to incorporate.

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Getting quality pictures in a timely manner continues to be one of my biggest struggles, and the main reason I don’t review more picture books!  I also struggle sometimes with what to review.  These days I don’t count, but based on past years can estimate that I read about 200 books a year (100 in a slow year).  That includes work and school texts, middle grade books, and rereads, but not picture or board books, of which I read at least 2 daily, but often repeat.

Even though I only review at best half of what I read, getting everything done in a timely manner is tough.  These days I’m really cautious about what review copies I’ll accept because of that (looking at you, first ever review copy sent to me, on my shelf making me feel guilty because I don’t like to write bad reviews but did agree to talk about you).  If the synopsis doesn’t excite me then the book probably won’t and I’ll be miserable and guilty about it for literal YEARS.

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Anyway.  Need to focus better because I have half an hour left to compose and edit and post whatever I’m going to say here, and don’t know when I’ll be back.  WordPress changed the layout of the site around too so everything is just slightly different.

Been thinking about the future of this blog.  It’s evolved a lot from my original plan, but in mostly good ways.  Currently over 200 posts are sitting in my drafts folder, some done but for photos, others stalled for years that I just need to delete already, some victims of an older blog habit where I would just start a new post for a running draft on whatever diverse books I happened to be reading.  (These days I take notes on my phone with an app or on bookmarks in the book, and don’t start a post until I have something substantial to say about a book.)

I don’t know when those posts will make it to you.  I plan to probably backdate a lot of them once I finally have photos.  I considered pivoting to do reviews of free books for a while, since those don’t need a camera and have suddenly gotten lots of extra views.  But to be completely honest, I don’t know how or when that would happen.  Everything is changing quickly and the situation is very fluid.

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So many of the blogs I think of as my cohort are gone or no longer updated now.  Naz at Read Diverse Books was hugely influential to me and I’m still proud to display my 2017 badge.  (No link because it goes to a spam site now.)  Reading(As)(I)an(Am)erica is another big popular blog that was on hiatus, although I’m so happy to see new posts hopefully signaling a return!  Shenwei’s epic booklists, in particular, have been very inspirational for me.  Sinead’s Huntress of Diverse Books blog went dormant around this time last year – makes sense as she’s transitioning to a career in publishing, but still a loss for the diverse book blogging community.

There’s others but my time is running out…

Let’s see, what else do I want to reflect on?  I got my first hate comments.  I mean, people have disagreed with me before, that’s fine, but these were full-on hate comments.  You won’t see them because comments are filtered.  Normally it would have upset me but under the circumstances I just laughed at the amount of energy this person had to spare right now, to be writing hate comments at a stranger who liked a book fi didn’t.

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Hmm, in the last four years I ended up making a big career change – not a school librarian anymore.  Our family has seen a lot of change, some sad, some happy (the babies).  There’s a good chance this blog will change a lot beyond just going on an extended pandemic pause.

I’d ask how you’re doing but don’t know when I’ll be able to read responses.  If you made it this far in the long, picture-less post, congratulations!  I hope you are safe and well and able to do as much reading as you wish.

Author: colorfulbookreviews

I work in a library by day and parent the rest of the time. I am passionate about good books representing the full spectrum of human diversity for every age group and reading level. This blog is my attempt to help parents, educators, and librarians find the best children's books authored by or featuring characters of color.

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