Armchair BEA 2012 Introductions (day 1)

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First, let me start off by saying that I am very excited to be participating in Armchair BEA this year. Since this is the first day of the weeklong event, here are my answers to the interview questions:

Who are you? How long have you been blogging? Why did you get into blogging?

Well, the answer the first part of that question, I am a middle school Language Arts teacher in Florida (and probably one of the only people in a coastal city that hates the beach). I’ve been married to my hubby for 10 years and have 2 boys. My house is a constant zoo and I’m turning 30 in a few months. There is a mid-life crisis in my near future, I’m sure, but I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world.

I started blogging in December of 2011 out of necessity. Seriously. My students know how easily I am distracted when they ask me about books (I eventually caught on to their tactics), so I started blogging out of a need for more teaching time. (I should go ahead and mention that I never talked books all day—even though that would have been awesome—because the state of Florida would have had a fit, but I did lose at least 5 minutes of every class and in between class period to book chats.) So, I started the blog during winter break for all the new books I was reading. It’s always been a goal to read every book I put on my classroom bookshelf so I know what the kids are reading, so the blogging made sense. I already wrote review blurbs for the books, I just went digital. When a student would ask “is this any good” or “what’s this about,” I would direct them to our classroom computers and the blog. That’s how The Flashlight Reader was born.

Since then, it’s become more than just a way to get kids to look for books. I really do enjoy the interaction with other bloggers and staying up on all the “events” in the book blogging world. My students think I am some supreme being of knowledge (and I rather like it). I still want my students to use the blog for their own purposes of selecting books to read, but it’s more than that too. I’m being all super ninja-like and sneaking in writing skills when I challenge them to comment or enter a writing contest that I host. I do love the comments because it shows my kiddos the various interactions people can have with books. That’s one of my greatest loves of reading: no two people will experience exactly the same thing from a book.  

What is your favorite book you have read so far in 2012?

Oh, hands down it has to be A Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Chris Healey.  I love fairytale retellings, and this book is the best one yet. It’s quirky, funny, and an absolute blast to read. I am super excited to hear that there is talk of an animated movie version in the near future. It would be epic.

Tell us one non-book-related thing that everyone reading your blog may not know about you.

I am a domestic diva that should make Martha Stewart tremble in her slippers. You name it and I can do it (with a few exceptions). My favorite hobbies include sewing and painting.

If you could eat dinner with any author or character, who would it be and why?

I would never be able to narrow this down to one character, so I’m going to go with my favorite “modern” author: Laurie Halse Anderson. I am a huge fan of her books (no surprise there), and I would just love to pick her brain. Many of her stories are based on real-life situations. I would love to know where she gets her ideas from and how she keeps her sanity when writing about such tough topics.

If Ms. Anderson was busy that night, I would say Neil Shusterman would be my next choice. I really want to know where the idea for Unwind came from… even if it might give me nightmares for life.

What literary location would you most like to visit? Why?

I’m a big ol’ nerd for mermaids, so I’m going to go with an underwater location. I’m not picky; just give me a sparkly tail. I don’t think I would want to visit with Sarah Porter’s mermaids though; they are vicious (even though I love the books).


365_books_a_year said... .

I'm from Hawaii and I hate the beach, too. Surprising, but a lot of people in Hawaii never go to the beach. For me, I hate the sun, the way salt water feels a little slimy, and sand. Oh, I hate sand- I used to scream if any got on me when I was a kid. They used to have to rinse me off in the ocean- away from the zone where the waves break and sand gets stirred up- carry me over the water and into the car. Eventually, people got sick of dragging me to the beach. I'm more of a library/book store kind of girl.

June 4, 2012 at 12:13 PM
365_books_a_year said... .

And I'm following your blog. Hope you get up to your 800 follower goal soon.

June 4, 2012 at 12:15 PM
Bookfool said... .

Ah, you are the kind of teacher my kids adored! My youngest, in particular, was a late reader but when he got going, his comprehension was amazing and his reading speed shocking. He had a few teachers who understood and fed his reading compulsion. They were so precious to us!!

I just marked down the title of your favorite read for the year. It sounds terrific.

I'm nowhere near a beach but I prefer mountains and I'm way the heck too pale to be living in the Deep South.

June 4, 2012 at 12:42 PM
loreleimarsh said... .

Ok, your author picks are awesome! LHA is incredible & I've been trying to get to an event of her's forever! Not to mention Neal has a new book coming out that I've been waiting on for a LONG time. I'm glad you joined ABEA! Tattooed Books

June 4, 2012 at 1:00 PM
Kristin said... .

I love the story of how your blog came to be and that you use it to get the students to write. Very smart!!!

Thanks for stopping by my blog and I hope you have a great week!
Kristin @ Always With a Book

June 4, 2012 at 1:28 PM
Daisy said... .

Lol, I'd pick a somewhat more friendly mermaid community as well ;)
Also, YAY for A Hero's Guide To Saving Your Kingdom! I've heard so many good things about it and am impatiently awaiting my own copy :)
You have the best reason ever for starting a blog!

June 4, 2012 at 1:29 PM
blog said... .

That's a fun reason to start a blog! Enjoy Armchair BEA.

June 4, 2012 at 1:52 PM
.Ambur. said... .

Awe, what a great reason to start blogging! :D I love that you can direct your students to your blog so that they can look up books! That's such a wonderful idea, and I could definitely see how easy it would be to lose 5 minutes every class talking about books. :)

Thanks for sharing a bit about yourself, and I'm glad to see you "at" Armchair BEA, too! :D
My Armchair BEA Introductions Post

June 4, 2012 at 2:22 PM
Sabrina said... .

I love the reason why you started blogging and it's great that you still enjoy it. And it's also great that your students appreciate it.

Have a great week!

June 4, 2012 at 2:29 PM
elena said... .

YES TO MERMAIDS! Love them and have always been fascinated by them. I hope you're enjoying Armchair BEA. It was very nice to meet you x

June 4, 2012 at 2:30 PM
heather said... .

Yeah, those mermaids are scary. I like sparkly tails but not drowning everyone.

June 4, 2012 at 2:49 PM
Emilie said... .

Yay for mermaid nerds! I am such a sucker for anything mermaid. I still have a poster of the Littler Mermaid in my room at my parents' house so I get where you're coming from. Mermaids are simple awesome.

June 4, 2012 at 4:44 PM
The Flashlight Reader said... .

So glad to know I am not the only adult mermaid fanatic out there. I was starting to feel like I might be a little unbalanced.
June 4, 2012 at 5:07 PM

Amanda @ Letters Inside Out said... .

I'd love finding out the story behind Unwind too! Also Anderson would be great to chat know she's got to have some very interesting stories from the types of books she writes. Hard choice. ;)

Hope you have a great week!

June 4, 2012 at 5:25 PM
Smash Attack! said... .

OMG! How freaking awesome that you use your blog to assist with teaching your students and spreading the love of reading. Brilliant!

June 4, 2012 at 8:02 PM
Tanya Patrice said... .

I think an underwater location would be pretty cool too. I have 2 boys too so I can relate to the hectic life!


June 4, 2012 at 8:40 PM
Jennifer @ The Bawdy Book Blog said... .

I love that you use your blog to help your students too. That is so awesome. I wish we had the internet when I was in school...and we sort of did, but it was so fledgling, so it doesn't really count.
I hope you have a great ArmchairBEA week and thanks for stopping by!

June 4, 2012 at 9:21 PM
Aarti said... .

What a cool reason to start blogging! Also, what a pretty blogging template :-) I just finished a great fairy tale retelling, Ella Enchanted. So I'll have to look out for Hero's Guide, too.

June 4, 2012 at 9:30 PM
Introverted Jen said... .

I'm trembling in my slippers! Domestic diva, I am emphatically not. I like the sound of A Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom. I'll keep an eye out for it!

June 4, 2012 at 9:39 PM
Natalie (Mindful Musings) said... .

A Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom is definitely on my to-read list! It just sounds so funny, and I'm always up for some good humor. :)

June 4, 2012 at 10:07 PM
readmore said... .

I love mermaids, too! I think blogging and teaching are a natural fit, and I'm sure your students love it. I read a lot of young adult fiction, and my older granddaughter is starting middle school next year, so I look forward to reading your blog.

June 4, 2012 at 10:30 PM
samantha.1020 said... .

This may be the most awesome reason EVER to start a book blog. Seriously, I just love it! I hope that you have lots of fun participating in Armchair BEA this week :)

June 4, 2012 at 11:04 PM
Tasha B. said... .

When I was in middle school we had an long-term substitute (the full-time teacher was put on leave... long story) whose dream was to be a pro golfer. At the beginning of every class someone would ask him about golf and there went the whole hour. I really think listening to math problems would have been more interesting. :p Sadly, I never had any teachers who would talk for an hour about books.

It's lovely to meet you and I hope you have fun during Armchair BEA!

June 5, 2012 at 12:34 AM
Rie Conley said... .

I'm in love with your blog title. I usually end up reading with my iphone flashlight app next to the hubs!

I love that you include your students into your blog.

Thanks for stopping by!

June 5, 2012 at 1:00 AM
A Backwards Story said... .

HERO'S GUIDE, hooray! I'm sad more kids aren't buying it just yet! I'm super excited about the movie and hope it will really happen! I don't know if I would want to sit down at your dinner table...I might get unwound! Mermaids, yes!!! Did you figure out what you want to do for Splash? Shoot me an email :)

June 5, 2012 at 2:26 AM
Rhonda's Doings said... .

I also taught middle school language arts for several years and then was forced to retire early at age 49 to go on disability. I love love love your blogging for books for your students! awesome!

June 5, 2012 at 3:24 AM
Meg @ A Bookish Affair said... .

I love mermaids too! An underwater location would be perfect as long as I got a set of fins too :)

June 5, 2012 at 6:23 PM
Chrystal said... .

Great choice with mermaids. And I agree with not wanting to hang with Sara Porter's mermaids... might not last long. LOL

June 9, 2012 at 8:19 PM
eng sara said... .

I'm in love with your blog title. I usually end up reading with my iphone flashlight app next to the hubs!
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August 17, 2014 at 3:58 PM
eng sara said... .

So glad to know I am not the only adult mermaid fanatic out there. I was starting to feel like I might be a little unbalanced.
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تخزين اثاث
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نقل أثاث بالمدينة
شركة تنظيف شقق بالرياض

August 17, 2014 at 5:08 PM
alaa nile said... .

I also taught middle school language arts for several years and then was forced to retire early at age 49 to go on disability. I love love love your blogging for books for your students! awesome!
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August 21, 2014 at 2:40 AM

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