Behind the Blog with Unleashing Readers

Welcome to Behind the Blog, a new monthly feature here on the Book Wars where we take you behind the scenes of some of our favourite children’s and YA book blogs! We’ll be kicking off the series with Ricki and Kellee, the fantastic team behind the kids lit blog, Unleashing Readers. Here we go!

Please introduce yourselves!

My name is Kellee Moye, and I am a part-time reading and journalism teacher and part-time reading coach at Hunter’s Creek Middle School in Orlando, FL. I am also currently serving on the ALAN (Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of the NCTE) Board of Directors.

My name is Ricki Ginsberg, and I recently graduated from the University of Connecticut with my PhD in Curriculum and Instruction. I am moving to Colorado this summer because was recently hired as Assistant Professor of English Education at Colorado State University. I have served on the Board of Directors and many committees for ALAN, and I am on the Editorial team for The ALAN Review. I feel lucky to have had all of these great opportunities.

How would you describe Unleashing Readers?

We hope that Unleashing Readers is a place for teachers, parents, and book lovers to find information about great classroom texts (picture books, children’s literature, middle grade books, and young adult literature). We provide teaching materials for each of these texts and focus on how they can be used by teachers in their classrooms or by parents in their homes.

What inspired you to start blogging?

Kellee had become quite active on Goodreads and decided she would like to move to sharing her reviews to a larger audience. She was lucky enough to have a friend offer to let her join an existing blog. After a couple of years, Kellee and this friend parted ways, and Kellee knew she wanted to continue blogging, but she also didn’t want to do it alone. That is when she asked Ricki if she would like to join her on a new blog. We brainstormed for several months about our blog’s focus, name, set up, etc. to make sure it would be enjoyable for us as well as useful to others (we hope!).

What are some of your favourite genres to read? What about to write about?

[Kellee] What a tough question! I am a sucker for a good graphic novel of any genre because I, for whatever reason, have trouble visualizing, so graphic novels help me add a whole new level to reading than a prose novel is for me. I also really like science fiction of most kinds. A good dystopian or gadget-filled spy novel will definitely suck me in. My favorite books to review are ones that, when I read them, I want to begin using immediately in my classroom.

[Ricki] I love to read multicultural young adult literature. This is my research interest and my personal and professional passion. If it’s a book set in a different time and/or place, I am interested in it. Following the birth of my children, I have also become passionate about picture books. To be honest, though, I will read anything. I like books for audiences of all levels. I genuinely believe that a good book is a good book.

How do you balance blogging with work, school, professional development, family and other responsibilities?

[Kellee] The short answer? A really supportive partner, staying organized, and knowing that sometimes you can’t get to everything. These three things are all needed to stay ahead, or it can become overwhelming. Also, I really enjoy all aspects of my life–I love sharing books I enjoyed on the blog & working with Ricki, I love my job and learning about the field of education, my family is amazing, and I truly adore being part of ALAN, so doing only things I love ensures that none of it feels like a chore.

[Ricki] Kellee actually helps me stay balanced, to be honest. We are both very organized, but she is always on the calendar, tweaking posts and times. My life has become very busy in the past eight months (new baby, dissertation, new job with new courses, new move). Kellee can always tell when I am overwhelmed, and she always jumps to help. We can read each other well. When I can tell she is overwhelmed, I try to jump in and take some posts and days. Together, I think we make a great team. I try to organize all of my posts for the week on the Sunday night before the week begins. If I can’t do them all, I just set reminders everywhere, so I don’t miss a post we have scheduled in our calendar. I am currently writing this past midnight because I do most of my work at night (after my children are asleep).

What are some of your favourite book blogs to read, either for fun or for professional development?

We were  introduced to all of our favorite blogs through our It’s Monday! What are you Reading? link up.

Below are a few of our favorites (in alphabetical order):

A Foodie Bibliophile in Wanderlust

Book by Book

Gathering Books

Kid Lit Frenzy

Library Matters

Mrs. Knott’s Book Nook

Ms. Yingling Reads

Nerdy Book Club

Next Best Book

Raincity Librarian

Reading Through Life

Rich in Color

Teacher Dance

The Chronicles of a Children’s Book Writer

The Dirigible Plum

There’s a Book for That

Thank you so much for helping us kick off our Behind the Blog series, Kellee and Ricki! Be sure to follow Unleashing Readers, and check out their social media channels for fantastic children’s literature posts. 

Join us next month as we feature another fantastic book blog here on Behind the Blog!