The Beautiful Blogger Award

The Book of Life just received a Beautiful Blogger Award from the lovely folks at the Jewish Publication Society. Thanks, JPS!

To claim the award, I have to share seven little-known facts about The Book of Life and pass the award on to seven other blogs.

Seven Little-Known Facts. (Actually, if you've been paying dorkily close attention you might already know some of these.)

1. The Book of Life was once used as a vehicle for two 3rd grade girls to get credit for a book report on Marc Chagall! Rather than present to the class, they presented their book report on the podcast.

2. Coolest audio project I've participated in: being one of the five voices in the librarian episode of the QN Podcast.

3. Favorite gig I got as a result of being a podcaster: getting to introduce Markus Zusak, author of The Book Thief, when he spoke at our local indie, Books & Books in Coral Gables, Florida. (You can hear his talk in the episode Meet Markus.)

4. Episode that was the most tsuris to put together: Funny, That Book Doesn't Look Jewish. I used TalkShoe to do a live call-in show in which we discussed Pamela Ehrenberg's Ethan, Suspended and whether it could be called a Jewish book. I spent weeks recruiting people and making them promise to call in, and I was so nervous the whole time that I couldn't properly participate in the conversation.

5. The device with which I record live interviews is an Olympus LS10 digital voice recorder, which I absolutely love for its portability, expandable memory, and sound quality, and for its cute little Mickey Mouse ears.

6. Episode that had most real-world impact (well, in the world of publishing, anyway): 2 Jews, 3 Opinions. The 2 I interviewed were Kathy Bloomfield (ForWords) and author Laurel Snyder. Laurel later told me "you were the person who asked me why I *wasn't* writing Jewish books. I changed the name of the Any Which Wall kids to Levy after that." And then she went on to publish Baxter, The Pig Who Wanted To Be Kosher.

7. When I started The Book of Life, I used the tagline "a show about Jewish people and the books we read" because I thought I'd be interviewing people at Congregation B'nai Israel (where I am the librarian) about their reading lives. However, it quickly became clear that most people would rather be set upon by bears than be interviewed. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise, since it forced me to start interviewing famous authors, musicians, and other movers&shakers instead.

Seven Blogs that Deserve the Beautiful Blogger Award. (Disclaimer: many of these bloggers are friends of mine, but I'm not nominating them to be nice or flatter them. I'm nominating them because I think their blogs are truly worthwhile, and I hope you'll follow the links to see why!)

1. Chasing Ray
Colleen Mondor named her blog after of Ray Bradbury. It's a good fit because, like Bradbury, Colleen is an outside-the-box thinker. She's a fiction writer and reviews books for a number of magazines, so she has a wide variety of bookish thoughts to share. I first noticed her blog because of her series, "What a Girl Wants," in which she invites lots of interesting people to her blog to discuss topics like girl detectives in fiction, female role models, and the "bad girl" label.

2. I'm Here, I'm Queer, What the Hell Do I Read?
Lee Wind blogs about GLBTQ books for youth, which I think provides an important public service. I like his cheerful, positive attitude and his snappy book summaries. I'm intrigued by the description of his own work-in-progress, which has some Jewish content; he says "Over God: A week before his Bar Mitzvah and the celebration of his 13th birthday, Adam comes out as an Atheist. Now he has to figure out what he's going to do...." Lee also has a helpful site for other bloggers called The Zen of Blogging.

3. Books on the Nightstand
Ann Kingman and Michael Kindness (what a great surname, eh?) co-host this blog and podcast for general-interest book lovers. Their enthusiasm is infectious, which is probably the reason they get such great reader/listener response. Fans call in to leave book suggestions, to respond to questions like "Have you ever encountered an author 'in the wild?'" and to sign up for the Books on the Nightstand Weekend Retreat (April 8-10, 2011 in Vermont, if you're wondering). My favorite feature of the show is "Two Books We Can't Wait for You to Read."

4. The Boston Bibliophile
Marie Cloutier blogs about literary fiction, graphic novels, Jewish lit, book-related events, authors, "and whatever else I feel like!" What draws me to her blog is how she shares her own reading life, discussing things like the weeding/restocking of her home library, a book-making class she's taking, and how her own and her husband's reading tastes affect their relationship. I also get a kick out of the many meme's in which she participates, and I respect her diligence in posting multiple times per week.

5. Mark Blevis
Mark and his wife Andrea used to have this amazing blog/podcast called Just One More Book that was a true celebration of children's literature. I would have liked to nominate JOMB for a Beautiful Blogger Award, but it's on an extended hiatus these days. However, Mark's personal blog is also worthy of an award, so I'll nominate that instead. He's a digital public affairs strategist and a podcasting pioneer, so his musings on digital communication and social media are always fascinating.

6. forwordsbooks: kids books that matter
Kathy Bloomfield is well known in the Jewish kidlit world as a former book fair operator and member of the Sydney Taylor Book Award committee. In her blog she shares her passion for secular children's books that reinforce Jewish values. Her posts are always thoughtful and thorough and she pulls no punches!

7. I have to split this nomination between two Barbara's who, between them, are doing a really comprehensive job of blogging the Jewish kidlit scene:

7a. Jewish Books for Children with Author Barbara Bietz
Barbara Bietz blogs interviews with authors of Jewish kidlit, and even with an occasional foray into other genres, this is the only blog I know of with this specific, tight focus. She's a Jewish kidlit author herself, and the current chair of the Sydney Taylor Book Award committee. She really enjoys doing these interviews, and it shows!

7b. The Whole Megillah
The tagline on Barbara Krasner's blog is "The Writer's Resource for Jewish-themed Children's Books." She should know, as she's a writer herself, and one of the organizers behind the annual Jewish children's writer/illustrator conference (formerly held at 92Y). She blogs about literary events, she interviews all sorts of bookpeople from authors to editors, librarians, and agents, and (my favorite) she writes these great, clearly laid-out reviews in which she lists "the good things" and "the not-so-good things."


Barbara Krasner said…
I am truly honored! Thank you, Heidi! The Whole Megillah has only been out there for Jewish children's book writers since May 2010 and it's been getting phenomenal response.
Mark said…
Wow, Heidi. Thank you so much. I'm honoured to be included in your list and to be among names who I similarly admire.

We missed you at PAB2010. Hope to see you, soon.
Marie Cloutier said…
Thank you Heidi :-) I'm honored :-)