Blogger Spotlight: Jen Robinson

Posted: Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013


As part of our Summer Reading mission, we interviewed the blogger Jen Robinson. On her blog, Jen Robinson’s Book Page, she provides great tips and book recommendations. She also recounts personal reading stories, many of which feature her child, affectionately referred to as Baby Bookworm.

There are tons of reasons to love literature. Can you share with our readers what you consider to be the best part of picking up a new book?

For me, it’s the escape into a new world, and the chance to see things from someone else’s perspective.Jen's bookworm

One of my proudest literacy moments is:

When my daughter, then almost three, came bounding in to tell me, triumphant, that she had drawn an “A.” The fact that she had done this on the floor in no way diminished the accomplishment. I also love it when she demands that we immediately open any packages that come in the mail, in case there are any books for her. This tells me that I’m doing something right.

Recent insights you’ve come across in the pages of a book:

“There is one person on Earth upon whom you can always rely. Yourself. Be grateful when others show generosity toward you, but always be prepared to pay your own way, pack your own parachute, or change your own flat tires. Helplessness and greed are not attractive qualities.” — Kiki Strike: The Darkness Dwellers, by Kirsten Miller.

“… there’s no such thing as a part-time family member.” – Underneath, by Sarah Jamila Stevenson

In one of your blog posts you discuss your favorite book, D.E. Stevenson’s Listening Valley. When talking about why you love this book so much, you explain that when the protagonist arrives in the town her family is originally from, you feel as if you too are coming home. Can you talk a little bit about the importance of creating a home for your child in literature?

For me, some of my strongest memories are of “homes” from literature. They provided comfort and solace from the normal trials of an overall happy childhood. From Laura’s Little House in the Big Woods to the Velvet Room in Zilpha Keatley Snyder’s book of the same title to Pippi Longstocking’s Villa Villekulla, I grew up with dozens of homes. I want that for my child, too. One of the wonderful things about homes in books is that you CAN go home again. You just have to find another copy of the book.

I also think that for kids who have unhappy childhoods, safe places in books can provide a real lifeline, and hope for the future. The value of that is immeasurable.

One of the many tips you have for raising a book lover is that at least once in a while, you should let them stay up late to read under the covers. Do you have any more useful pointers for parents who have a voracious reader on their hands?

Keep books everywhere, and never leave home without them. Your child will never complain of boredom, as long as there are books available. For voracious readers, eReaders are your friend on vacation (since you can pack so many titles onto a single reader).

Let your child self-select books and read some of the books that your child is reading. This will open the door to fabulous discussions, and show your child that you value her choices.

What about the kids who don’t seem to enjoy reading as much?

Listen to audiobooks in the car on long trips (or short trips, for that matter).

Try graphic novels. They can often be gateway books for kids who are slower to engage in reading.

Don’t discount nonfiction. Any kind of reading counts, from the comics section of your paper to The Guinness Book of World Records.

If your child has a passion, find books about that passion, whether fiction or not.

Any particular books you are looking forward to reading (or rereading) this summer?

I’m looking forward to reading Hattie Ever After by Kirby Larson (sequel to Hattie Big Sky), and to reading the new 7th edition of The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease (a book that I recommend ALL parents read). I’m also eagerly awaiting The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater, but that won’t be out until September.

Read more about Jen’s adventures in the world of children’s and young adult literature on her blog.

One Response to “Blogger Spotlight: Jen Robinson”

  1. Johanna Sorrentino Says:

    I love this notion: “One of the wonderful things about homes in books is that you CAN go home again. You just have to find another copy of the book.” So true!

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