Tuesday, May 31, 2016

May Favorites

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell. Loved this. I love how Rowell can create such a cozy, inviting world in her books. I want to hang out with her characters and still find myself wondering what they’re up to. This book was about real life, two teens who don't fit in anywhere falling in love and trying to see if they can make it work in high school.

The Boy in the Dress by David Walliams. David Walliams is hilarious, and this book is funny and touching. Quick read, highly recommended for middle graders regardless of gender. It's not totally in the realm of transgender issues, more about a boy who likes fashion being teased for that instead of encouraged to explore his passions.

I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios. LOVED this book! The characters and setting were so cozy, I wanted to crawl in and never leave. Touching story, well-written without being overly sappy. Skylar is ready to get out of her tiny town and go away to art school, even if that means leaving her mother, a recovering alcoholic, behind. When Josh, an old coworker, comes back from Afghanistan, Skylar starts re-thinking her place in the world, and where she can do the most good.

Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bergman. If you never read any other book I recommend, please read this one. I love this book SO much, I already want to re-read it. Codes, hidden books, visiting landmarks in an historical city - what’s not to love? Emily has been an active Book Scavenger for years, so she’s excited when her family moves to San Francisco, even though she’s tired of moving once a year. Now she’s in the hometown of the man who created Book Scavenger, and he’s about to release a new game! But when he’s mugged in a subway station, no one knows if the game creator will make it, and Emily is worried her family will move again before she can participate in the game.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling. Yes, I’m just now reading Harry Potter for the first time. I tried to read it when it first came out, but it just wasn’t my thing. Also, my reading interests were narrower, and I had less time to read. I also saw the first two movies and wasn’t blown away, so I just figured I’d never read the book. This year’s summer reading theme made me interested in trying, so I started… and I actually love it so far! Much less fantastical than I thought they would be; I like how everything is explained parallel to “normal” life, which keeps it grounded for me. Eager to finish the series.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Fundraising Part One: yART Sale

Though How I Feel About Books isn't a registered nonprofit, I'm operating it that way, and I want to be as transparent as possible about what's going on with this organization. I've written about the book club for adults with disabilities that I'll be starting this summer, and how that involves training with Next Chapter Book Club on July 15th in Columbus, Ohio. The bulk of my initial fundraising is going towards the training and travel costs, with everything else going for club supplies and books.

I kicked off the book club fundraising on Saturday. My husband was hosting a yART Sale with a few artist friends, and offered me a table. I had some prints of my photography made and dyed some greeting cards, my husband designed and donated bookmarks, and my mom donated some crocheted washcloths. All the funds raised from selling these items would go into the startup costs of the book club.

I'm happy to say we had a great turnout - thank you beautiful, un-May-like weather! Thanks to friends, family, neighbors, and art lovers, we raised $91 for the book club! I also got the word out to several people who know potential participants for the book club!

UPDATE: The yART Sale profits have been donated to the book club's ioby.org fundraising page for accountability.

Interviewed by Ruth Hunt

Ruth F. Hunt, the author of The Single Feather, interviewed me and shared it on her blog. The Single Feather is a great book about an artist with disabilities trying to overcome all the political and social constraints against her. Ruth asked some great questions, and I'm thinking up some equally good ones to ask her, and share an interview with her on this blog soon.

Check out the interview here.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Book Club for Adults with Disabilities

I started volunteering at SRVS in 2011, helping with a weekly art class. Though I’m not a great artist, I loved my time spent getting to know the adults with disabilities who enjoyed painting. In 2013, while still helping with the weekly art class, I started a one-on-one writing workshop. Individuals could write and illustrate their own story, and I helped them only as much as they needed. Later in 2013, I was hired to be the volunteer and activities coordinator at SRVS. I loved sharing my passion for the organization with other volunteers, and created special programs and brought in performers as the activities coordinator.

Even though I don’t work for SRVS anymore, I am still involved with the organization. I have been hosting a monthly library program for two classes at Randolph, a local library branch. We read two picture books and do a related craft. As I approached the date I would graduate with my Master of Library Science, I knew I wanted to do more to provide library services for people with disabilities. I have extensive volunteer and work history in the field, and my two years of study focused exclusively on this population.

The next logical step for me is to start a book club for adults with disabilities. Independent readers are welcome, but it’s not a necessary skill - everyone is welcome! We’ll be reading books aloud, chapter by chapter, every week. The meetings will initially be held at the Central library in Memphis, because that’s where I will be doing a summer internship. Hopefully they library will pick up this program (and hire me!), and it will expand…

For the time being, I am raising money to:

  1. Attend the July 15th training session of Next Chapter Book Club (NCBC). This organization is doing exactly what I wanted to do, and on a larger scale - there are over 300 NCBC book clubs in 31 states, 4 Canadian provinces, and 3 European countries! They have been in action since 2002, and I am eager to learn their best practices for leading a book club. The training costs include the first set of books, and I will be able to train other book club leaders in the future.
  2. Buy books and supplies for the club. I will always promote library use, but sometimes it’s nice to own a copy of a book. Since adults with disabilities are on fixed incomes, I don’t want to ask them to buy books - I’d like to have money to buy bulk sets and distribute them at no cost to club participants.
  3. Keep the club going! I think that the training from and affiliation with NCBC will give this book club the energy to continue on. Periodic fundraising may be implemented to keep the members in books, and for whatever other supplies we may find we need, but based on the initial interest I have already gotten about the club, I am optimistic about its sustainability.

Thank you for reading my story, and thank you for any support you can provide! It is appreciated.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Career Prep for Teens with Disabilities

Employment for teens with disabilities is notoriously low, with 16.6% of teens with disabilities ages 16-19 having jobs. On the other hand, 29.9% of teens with no disabilities are employed (“Youth Employment Rate”). Libraries can help local teens land jobs—for the summer or beyond—by hosting career preparation workshops. These workshops should be open to, and helpful for, teens with disabilities and without, but some of the advice is exclusively for teens with disabilities.
See the whole "debate" at YALSAblog.