I admired Bookstravaganza from afar last year. Then I met founding ‘stravaganzer Matthew Stepanic and invited myself to join for 2014. I have zero chance of “winning,” as in, reading more books than the other participants – most of these kids are ten years younger than me and are current or recent English majors, whereas I’m a haggard mom who hasn’t had a decent night’s sleep in five years – but winning isn’t the point. The point is:
- To share a love of reading (follow the Bookstravaganza blog for TONS of daily updates and reviews!)
- To raise money for local literacy causes. This year, we support the wonderful Welcome Baby program at Edmonton Public Library (how to donate.)
Through Welcome Baby, every child in Edmonton has access to a library card, board books, a book bag, a song and rhyme book, and a guide to the best children’s books. This is in addition to the many other things the library provides (for free!) to children and caregivers: drop-in programs (Sing, Sign, Laugh and Learn was a favourite of mine,) computers with age-appropriate games, toys, and of course, all the books you can borrow.
I’m probably the only participant who’s actually used the Welcome Baby program. It’s so great! It gives parents tools and support as they build early literacy in their kids, and gets new parents into the library. Libraries are SO important for new parents! They’re free, easy to get to, and, well, welcoming. No one will give you a side eye when your kid is screaming, or you’re breastfeeding, or whatever. I just remembered this short article I wrote about acts of kindness at the library when I was a new(ish) mom who really needed a break. My kids aren’t babies anymore, but we still visit regularly.
If you want to support me as I read and review ten books in the month of December, follow along on the blog, and if you can, donate whatever amount you are comfortable with to the Welcome Baby program (here’s how.) Stay tuned for my book stack and my strategy for reading ten books when I only average five in a normal month (gulp!)