Friday, May 30, 2014

Armchair BEA 2014 :: Middle Grade/Young Adult

My most recent Scholastic Book Club Order

I have a confession.

I think I became a teacher because I loved book orders so much and if I were a teacher, I could pass them out to my students... and maybe even order a book, or two, or a few dozen at a time for myself. 

When I first started book blogging, I didn't really have a game plan. I didn't really know where it was going to head. I just knew I wanted to talk about books. Over the course of my first year blogging, I realized a fact that I couldn't ignore anymore. I really, really like reading kid lit. 

Maybe it's because it reminds me of the books I would devour as a kid and the piles of books I'd bring home from the local library. It could very well be because I still feel like a kid at heart. 

Plus, when I read middle grade/young adult fiction, it makes me even more powerful as a teacher (aka book pusher extraordinaire) because when a kid comes to me and wants to read a book about dragons, zombies, animals, girls liking boys, etc., I have a growing list in my head (and shrinking bookshelf space in my classroom) of books that I can share with them to fuel their love of reading.

I also owe a lot to MG/YA fiction. Harry Potter, in particular. Even though I was a voracious reader as a kid, once adolescence hit me, leisure reading went completely out the door. Sometimes I wish I was a young adult during this current/present time because there are now a whole section of bookstores and libraries devoted completely to books for teens. When I was a teen, I read Flowers in the Attic and then the other choices I had that weren't too "childish" were Tom Sawyer and all the classics, which weren't exactly easy to read on your own (at least they weren't for me at that age). This lack of reading continued as I went to college... until, I read Harry Potter

Reading Harry Potter felt like I was transformed back into my 5th grade classroom as a 10-year old, reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory for the first time.

It was magical. #punny ;)

No, really. It was truly magical. For the first time in years, I wanted to read again. I craved the feeling of escaping into other worlds. I read books for fun again. I didn't just read to highlight information to remember for a midterm or to cite and use in a final paper. I actually read, just to read. And it.felt.good.

So, even though I'm a much older Potter-head than most people, I find it interesting and somewhat poetic that it was MG/YA that got me back into reading again. 

Nowadays, I'm proud to be a MG/YA reader. Since we're confessing things, here's another one for you... I read more MG than adult fiction actually. Having two young kids means that free time to read is pretty much nonexistent, so reading MG/YA is usually easier for me because they tend to be shorter and easier to digest in a smaller amount of time. 

So, I guess what I'm really saying is... I really, really love middle-grade/young adult fiction. 

Plus, I still get super excited whenever the Book Box arrives in my classroom. 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Armchair BEA 2014 :: $10 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

For Armchair BEA this year, I'm giving away a $10 gift card to!


The giveaway runs from Thursday May 29th through Saturday May 31st

Giveaway Details:
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Comments are for feedback and questions only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Armchair BEA 2014 :: Expanding Blogging Horizons

I haven't given much thought about expanding my blogging horizons. Right now, like I mentioned in my introduction post, I just want to get back into blogging again. And just like a girl needs a new haircut every now and then to change things up, I decided that this new phase for "the bookish mama" would be a redesign.

Here is what my blog looked like before the change:

And the new redesign below:

I'm excited about this new phase. I hope you will stick along with me on this journey together. :) 

Armchair BEA 2014 :: Author Interaction

One of my favorite author moments as a blogger has been this tweet back from R.L. Stine:

It was a response to a Throwback Thursday post I had done on Goosebumps. Here is the postt:

This week's Throwback Thursday is in honor of R.L. Stine and his series, Goosebumps.

When I was a kid, I was very easily afraid and scared of things. Maybe my parents sheltered me too much, but it didn't take much to scare me. I used to sleep under the covers because my friends told me about night-stalkers (people that watch you when you sleep). Why I believed them, I still don't know, but that was my version of the "monster in the closet" when I was a kid.

That being said, I actually enjoyed the Goosebumps series when I was younger believe it or not. Even though I was such a scaredy-cat, the books were just scary enough to satisfy my curiosity, but not so scary that it would cause nightmares.

My 5th grade students every year without fail DEVOUR my Goosebumps books in my classroom library. Girls AND boys, once one kid starts reading one, the rest of them follow in suit and literally devour them. So much so that now I have two tubs full of Goosebumps books and have had to replace several books because the covers were falling apart because of the wear and tear of being used so many times.

Now that there is a NEW series, Goosebumps Horrorland, there is a whole new generation of kids that are enjoying reading because they love these scary stories. I have yet to read one on my own, but my students have raved about the new series. According to my students, the back part of the book is an ongoing story that continues in the next book. I think some of them were confused about it, but I think that's because they weren't reading the series in order.

At the LA Times Festival of Books about a month ago, I had the awesome opportunity to listen to R.L. Stine speak and get his autograph. I brought it back to my students and they were SO stoked to see his signature. I think it definitely upped my "cool
teacher factor" for a little while. :) 

He shared one of his favorite poems, "Haunted" by Shel Silverstein, when he spoke at the Target Children's Stage. I loved that he shared with the kids that he reads and enjoys other authors. Authors and writers are real people too!

There was a REALLY long line to get his autograph. All ages of people - old and young were there with copies of his books. Some were old and tattered like the ones in my classroom and others were holding the new Horrorland books. What a honor to have such a wide range of fans!

By the time we got to the line, we were all the way around the corner and didn't think we'd get to the front in time. We waited anyway and I am so glad that we did because we did get to meet him and get an autograph. It was quick and there were no pictures allowed, but that didn't stop my Mom from snapping a few from the line. :)



It was an exciting day for all of us. Thank you R.L. Stine for creating generations and generations of readers with your books.

You can follow R.L. Stine on twitter at @RL_Stine.

I could NOT believe that he actually read my post and RESPONDED! One of my childhood authors, actually read my blog and responded to my tweet. I was completely dumbfounded and also immediately my insecurities hit me because I couldn't stop the urge to go back and make sure everything was grammatically correct.

This was an amazing experience for me and definitely one of the best things about social media.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Armchair BEA 2014 :: Introduction

Hello! Greetings to those of you visiting from Armchair BEA!!!

My poor little blog has been sadly ignored for awhile and the main two reasons why are the two little darling girls in my photo above. I'm hoping this that Armchair BEA will be the reason my blog is no longer ignored though. After becoming a mommy, I feel like I've been stuck in "fog" lately. Kind of like I've been on survival mode, just trying to keep my head above water. Lately though, I'm finally feeling inspired again and I'm ready to breathe new life into my blog. I hope you will stick around to see what's to come.

I'm happy to be helping out with Armchair BEA again this year as their Social Media Coordinator. I'll be moderating TONIGHT's Twitter Party at 4pm PST (7pm EST). I hope you will follow @ArmchairBEA and #ArmchairBEA for lots of fun and giveaways tonight!

Without further ado, here are my answers to the introduction questions:

1) Please tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? How long have you been blogging? Why did you get into blogging? Where in the world are you blogging from? 

My name is Jasmine. (I go by Jasmine Marie on social media.) I'm a full-time elementary school teacher and part-time wedding/portrait photographer. I love reading, board games, traveling in search of good eats and cozy bookstores, doing Project Life and scrapbooking, and binging on shows via Netflix. I'm blogging from sunny San Diego, CA. 

I've been blogging for a long time now. Anyone remember Xanga? However, I started this particular blog in 2011. I got into blogging originally to have some kind of place I could journal and just write out things that were on my mind. "The bookish mama" though came out of the desire to just talk about books and to network with other book bloggers. Armchair BEA has been a huge part of that and I'm very thankful to have found so many great book bloggers to network with. 

2) Describe my blog in one sentence. 

I have a new vision for my blog for 2014 and I hope this will be a place where I can talk about books, crafts, teaching, and mommy-related things.

Connect with me via social media at:

3) Favorite genres

I love to read mostly middle-grade kid-lit, women's fiction (chick-lit), historical fiction (especially regency romance), and Christian fiction.

As an elementary school teacher, I love reading middle-grade fiction. Maybe it's because I'll always be a kid at heart, but it's also so I can connect with my students as readers to instill the love of reading within their hearts. Plus, the more middle-grade I read, the better I am at recommending specific books to my students during reading conferences.

4) A book that I would love to see as a movie...

One of my favorite books from last year (and probably from all time) is Once Upon a Prince by Rachel Hauck. See my blog post here. I would love to see this Kate Middleton-like story come to life on the big screen!

5) Favorite bloggers

Oh man, I have too many. I am a little bit addicted to my Feedly and love catching up on my blogs at the end of a long day. Here are just a FEW of my favorites:

Book blogs:

Crafty blogs:
I am looking forward to this week and getting to know more of you through Armchair BEA! 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Children's Book Week :: 2014

Happy Children's Book Week!

I just love that there's a week dedicated to celebrating children's books and the joy of reading in young people. 

Check out more information at

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