Armchair BEA 2013 – Keeping it Real & Children’s/YA Lit

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I haven’t been able to participate much with posts during the week, except to comment (thanks a lot, work), but I am totally all over these Saturday topics! :D

Keeping it Real

  • How do you not only grow an audience, but how do you keep them coming back for more?  If you have been around for years, how do you keep your material fresh?  How do you continue to keep blogging fun?

I am a very new blogger (as of March 8, 2013!), so I’m really curious to hear everyone’s thoughts on this question. Still being new to the blogging thing, its shininess hasn’t worn off for me yet – it’s still super fun! But as I mentioned above, I also work full-time, so it can be really hard to find time for reading, writing reviews, and visiting all the blogs I follow! How do you juggle it all and keep everything fun an exciting?? I’m really looking forward to reading everyone’s answers for this topic.

Children’s & Young Adult Literature

  • Our final genre focuses on the younger crowd:  children’s picture books and young adult literature and everything in between.  What are the top 5 (or more) books that every child should have on his shelf?  If you are an adult who reads YA, why do you keep going back for more?  If you are not a reader of these books, think back to your childhood and share your favorites from your younger years.

I’m definitely a huge fan of YA lit, but before I get into that, here are my top 5 children’s books (well, maybe middle-grade… maybe… oh I don’t know, they’re younger than the average YA, lol). If I ever have kids, and if I do my job correctly, these books will be favorites of theirs. ;)

NIMH PhantomTollbooth Redwall SorcerersStone Narnia

Moving on – I love YA lit. I’m 25, so I’m certainly a bit older than the intended audience, but that doesn’t stop me. ;) I always have a really hard time explaining why I love YA books, and why I read them pretty much to the exclusion of any other “age-range”… But I’ll try to articulate a few of those reasons. *deep breath* Here goes.

Firstly, I love the feeling of “endless possibilities” that permeates much of the YA genre – there’s always this feel of “the world is huge, there’s so much out there worth exploring and experiencing”. Even the more intense books have a sense of hope that I think relates to this feeling as well.

I also really like that a lot of time in YA is devoted to either a) characters who learn to appreciate who they are instead of trying to fit in, or b) characters who take pride in being themselves to begin with. I’m not a young adult, but I still struggle with this, and it’s encouraging to read about characters who do too (even if they are fictional).

I also love that these characters are at a time in their lives when they go through periods of huge emotional growth and change, and they come out the other side of it stronger. Being young, they’re sort of the underdogs, but they have to rise up and meet the challenges they’re presented, with little or no past experience. Those sorts of stories are really inspiring for me.

Finally – YA is allowed to be silly! Maybe silly isn’t the right word, but just… light. And happy. One of my favorite books this year is The Art of Wishing (below), and it’s so adorable and sweet and had me smiling ridiculously the entire time I was reading it (and often when I wasn’t reading it). It’s ok to love those adorable, sweet, fluffy stories! And I feel like you don’t get those in “older” genres, at least from what I’ve experienced.

All that being said, here are some of my recent-favorite YA books that I’ve found especially awesome:

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23 thoughts on “Armchair BEA 2013 – Keeping it Real & Children’s/YA Lit

    • I almost forgot that one myself! I was looking through Goodreads’ classic children’s lit page and when I saw it I had to include it. I haven’t thought about that book in years though! <3

  1. Harry Potter and Narnia are great! I have been wondering about The 5th Wave. It keeps catching my eye, but no one I know has read it. Glad to know you liked it!

  2. I feel like I’m always struggling to juggle my real life obligations, the blog, reading, networking, etc. It’s a lot! I wish I had some real advice to give, but I basically have no idea how I’ve done it so far. I’m hoping to hear from other people who’ve succeeded!

    The way you described YA – that’s exactly how I feel. You put it really eloquently, and I especially love thinking of YA as being full of “endless possibilities”. BTW, I thought The Art of Wishing was SO cute. Just the kind of fluffy I needed at the time I read it. And oh man, Leviathan is the BEST. That’s another I’ve recommended to my friends a million times. Love the girl-dresses-as-boy trope!

    • I just don’t understand how people do it! It’s a huge undertaking – totally fun and worth it, but man, anyone who says blogging isn’t work is crazy!

      Thank you! I always have a hard time explaining YA so I’m glad I explained some things alright at least, lol. And I have no idea why I loved The Art of Wishing so much, but it holds a special place in my heart for some reason. SO cute. And Leviathan is FLAWLESS. Deryn and Alek! <3 I'm definitely going to have to re-read the series again sometime... no idea when, but it WILL happen. ;)

  3. It is often hard to combine blogging, being a good blogger to the community and your own time. I write my posts in advance as much as possible. I usually write drafts during the week for various posts and on Saturday I check the posts that need to go on that week. For example June is now practically all in draft and now I am fine tuning this week. In the evening I take an hour to scroll trough my rss and comment on blogs and reply to emails. If this cannot be done because I am busy with something I do it the next day but never more than an hour. You will get the hang of it eventually :)

    I really love the looks of Levithian and The Art of Wishing. Thanks for sharing your favorite reads :)

    • That is all such great advice, Ciska! I really appreciate you sharing those details. I have gotten into the habit of writing reviews and scheduling them, which is super nice – usually I draft a bunch of reviews on the weekend and then fine-tune each one before it goes live during the week. But I think that’s a really great idea to give yourself an hour to concentrating on other blogs. I find that I can get distracted a lot and end up spending three hours just checking out everyone’s posts, but then I don’t even end up commenting much! Having a timeframe and a goal of “comment for an hour” sounds like a great idea. Thanks Ciska!! :)

  4. “Firstly, I love the feeling of “endless possibilities” that permeates much of the YA genre – there’s always this feel of “the world is huge, there’s so much out there worth exploring and experiencing”. Even the more intense books have a sense of hope that I think relates to this feeling as well.”

    Nailed it! Sorry to quote you back to you, but that paragraph basically sums up the greatest point about YA to me!

    my Chldren’s literature post

  5. Great post. I loved The Phantom Tollbooth and Chronicles of Narnia. Though I haven’t had the chance to read the Redwall of Harry Potter series. I also have The Archived sitting on my shelf waiting to be read. I’m a growing fan of YA, still mostly read adult books but YA is slowly creeping into my regular reading pattern.

    • I’d definitely recommend reading Harry Potter – it’s one of those series that starts out great and just keeps getting better and better. ;) And Redwall may be about talking animals, but it is just fantastic – I’ve been meaning to reread a few books in that series, they’re so good.

  6. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in all the aspects of blogging – I suffered “blog burnout” and stopped blogging for a year. Now, I’m trying to “keep it real” and just write when I want to, comment when it feels right, and have fun. Hope it stays fun for you!

    • That sounds like a great plan, Melissa. I’m glad you found your way back into blogging! I’m trying to not stress myself out too much with things, I hope I can keep that up. :)

  7. I’m also a bit older than the target group (22) but that doesn’t stop me from collecting and devouring these YA books. I don’t think you must place stickers on certain books: reading is about having fun. So it doesn’t matter what you like to read, as long as you enjoy it :)

  8. The blogging shininess hasn’t worn off for me either! I still love it! And I focused on MG over on my post. I love me some HP! I don’t think I’ve read the others. And I like your YA books too! I have the Archived waiting for me to read it still.

  9. I agree with so much of what you said about YA! So much exploration and discovery in YA books! So many lessons learned! Great post!

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