Two of my favorite things: kids and kid lit. What a dream job!
I started in January of 2017, but we happened to have one of the most extreme Idaho winters in history. My kiddos were excited to have so many snow days, but I was anxious to get out on the bus and start making a difference.
I worked on behind the scenes stuff while I waited for safe driving conditions. This consisted of processing new books and donations, repairing books, and withdrawing books beyond repair. One of my favorite things was reading personal notes on the end pages of donated books. These books were special to the initial reader and would be special once again to young patrons who checked them out.
The purpose of the bookmobile was to offer children access to books and get them excited about reading. Many of these kids did not own books or were unable to visit a library. We did not issue library cards or require fines for late or damaged books. We just wanted them to read!
We distributed snacks, hats and mittens, and backpacks with school supplies. We also ran a reading incentive program in the winter, facilitated STEM activities in the summer, and participated in fun events like Touch a Truck and Trunk or Treat.
Patrons referred to the bookmobile as THE BUS, but we had a more personal name for him. The kids were thrilled when Thomas received his monster makeover, which would not have been possible without a generous grant from the Greater Boise Area Rotary Foundation.
Working on the bookmobile was a perfect fit for me because I only read kid lit! The kids loved that I was able to honestly recommend a wide range of picture books, chapter books, middle grade, and YA novels. We also compiled a wishlist. I searched for requested titles in our office. We would try to purchase them with our budget if we didn’t have them, or if we needed more copies of a popular title. Sometimes I would bring personal books from home that my kids had already read a bazillion times.
My kids were able to visit me every week on the bookmobile because one of the stops was near our house. Their friends thought it was pretty cool that their mom drove the big blue bus.
The most rewarding aspect of this job was getting to know the kids. We were greeted with huge smiles every time we pulled up to a stop. Sometimes the kids would even jump for joy on the sidewalk as soon as they saw Thomas. The kids told me jokes, talked about school, and shared intimate stories about their lives.
One of the most difficult parts of this job was when children moved away. A girl wrote her name on a piece of paper and gave it to me so I would “always remember” her. Kids hugged me, drew me pictures, and even gifted me their favorite stuffed animals.
It was even more difficult when it was my turn to move. My husband accepted an excellent job opportunity in Seattle, so I had to say goodbye to Thomas and the kids. I cried on my last day. Several times.
The library staff threw me a little going away party.
Lucky for me some of my co-workers used to live in the Seattle area. They recommended places to explore with my family. I already couldn’t wait to visit the Seattle Public Library.
At the end of the party, our library director told me that I changed these kids’ lives and they would remember me.
I hope she’s right.
Did you visit a bookmobile when you were a child? Do you have a bookmobile in your community? I’d love to hear about it!
One of my favorite things about writing this post was learning about Idaho authors. I had never heard of Edgar Rice Burroughs or Vardis Fisher. So let’s talk more about authors and books! This is a book blog after all. I am pleased to introduce a variety of books written by Idaho authors.
Two weeks ago the unimaginable happened. Something happened that that we never thought about, and certainly never worried about. Two weeks ago, our sweet Charlie Blue was attacked by an off leash dog.
My husband, Ian, took Charlie for a walk in the evening on the Greenbelt, which is a path that runs along the Boise River. He took her to one of our favorite spots by the river—a spot that we often fish at with our two young children. A jogger came to this spot with her off leash dog. Charlie was on leash. Ian said it happened so fast, and before he knew it the other dog was on Charlie’s back. Charlie didn’t fight back. Ian had to kick the other dog to get it off of her.
It was dark by the time Ian and Charlie returned home. We didn’t realize how serious her injuries were until…
Thinking of a picture book idea every day during November for PiBoIdMo has been a piece of cake so far, but it’s only November 4th and I know the challenge will become more difficult.
My six-year old son is a purple belt in taekwondo and my two-year old daughter loves to hop around pretending she’s a kangaroo. After watching Mason show off his moves and Sophie hop around the house, my friend Robin told me, “Your kids are great. One’s a ninja and the other is a kangaroo. It doesn’t get any better than that!”
I laughed and said, “That’s a great idea for a picture book!”
There’s never a dull moment at our house. We have a ninja, a kangaroo, and a Weimaraner puppy. I think many of my ideas during PiBoIdMo will come from the crazy stuff Charlie Blue does on a daily basis.
She howls when my son plays the harmonica. She brings back stuff to recycle almost every time we walk. She pulls the kiddos on their sled in the winter. She rolls in smelly stuff. She jumps in the back of the bike trailer when she gets tired. She swims in the river, but she’s afraid of sprinklers. She’s a furniture hog. And the queen of stealing hats . . .
One of my favorite Charlie moments happened when my daughter was crying hysterically on my lap. Charlie (the biggest food thief in the world) gently carried a graham cracker in her mouth over to Sophie and pushed the cracker up to Sophie’s hand with her nose. My husband, Ian, and I sat dumbfounded for several seconds. Did that really just happen? Wow!
Charlie is my quiet companion on our daily walks. I often come up with my best writing ideas when I take her to the river near our house.
We find cool stuff together like Idaho rock art.
And for being a big spazzy puppy, she sure is sweet and gentle with Sophie.
I can’t wait to see what kind of mischief Charlie gets into this month. She might come home smelly with a dirty diaper or a dead squirrel in her mouth (yes, this has happened), but who knows . . . she might do something that leads to another PiBoIdMo idea in my notebook!
I am excited AJ’s Children’s Books will have a table at A Taste of the Holidays this Thursday. There will be food from local vendors, wine tasting, coffee tasting, and Christmas caroling. There’s something for everyone!
Come out and enjoy a night of free food and drink tastings, entertainment, holiday shopping, and find out how you can support your local businesses! There will be live entertainment, and a raffle full of great prizes! Bring or buy your Christmas gifts and get them wrapped for a donation to help the Cotton Tree School in Belize.
Join us in support of a family who will be placed in a new home in December by CATCH Meridian – take a tag and donate an item to a family who will be placed in home in time for Christmas.
When: Thursday, December 12th, 2013
5:00 – 9:00 pm
Where: Courtyard by Marriott
1789 S Eagle Rd.
Meridian, ID 83642
THIS SATURDAY! Idaho authors will be signing books at Hyde Park Books from 10-3. There are many subjects and genres to choose from by all sorts of folks! Come meet local authors who will sign their books for you AND you can support the local economy! There will also be light refreshments, including Mediterranean Hummus from Jill Skeem’s book Comfort Food Gets a Vegan Makeover.
AJ received a B.A. in Journalism and Women’s and Gender Studies from the University of Oregon. Her first children’s picture book, Mama’s Purse, has won local and national awards. She lives in Boise, Idaho with her husband, two children, and a Weimaraner named Charlie Blue.
Why buy books from the Idaho Authors’ Community?
– Get books PERSONALLY autographed by the author
– Choose from nearly 200 books from a wide variety of subjects and genres
– Support the local and domestic economies
Check out the wide variety of work from authors across Idaho. Think of this as your online bookstore and peruse the various sections. Come back frequently as we will be adding more books on a regular basis!