Meet the Gatekeepers was so much fun and it had an overwhelmingly positive response so I decided to flip the coin and get to know those who read and covet the books! I am aiming for two posts each month!
What better way to start than in a new year with high hopes for a wonderful year of reading, blogging and making connections. This new feature will run every two weeks and will promote the brilliant folk I have met and interacted with since joining the blogging ranks.
This week’s reader is someone who I originally spoke to with my Meet the Gatekeepers feature last year. Fern has the incredible ability to spend time on both sides of the coin. Not only does she work in children’s publishing and offer books to bloggers, she also reads and reviews children’s books. Her website offers so much more than just reviews- she collates brilliant lists, interviews authors and runs a very successful social media presence. I haven’t met her in person but we chat plenty on social media and I know she is lovely! Welcome Fern!
When did you start blogging and what made you begin?
I started out on Instagram originally, at the beginning of 2018 when my mental health was at its worst. I had seen lots of bookstagrams on the platform and loved the beauty of book photography so I set myself the challenge of doing something similar, but with children’s books. At the time I didn’t think it would develop into a blog, it just gave a little more meaning and hope to my day, plus, I really enjoyed sharing my reviews and recommendations. I chose to name my blog Bluebird Reviews as bluebirds are a symbol of happiness and for me children’s books are a great source of that, along with comfort and escapism.
What are the highlights of blogging for you?
Probably the people! The book community is so wonderful and it’s always a joy to meet such likeminded people who love books as much as you do.
What are the challenges of blogging?
Not enough time! My TBR are more like mountains than they are piles, so finding the pleasure to read and write alongside a full-time job and extracurricular activities can be challenging at times. But I’ve always been in this for me and try to never let myself feel pressured or get too weighed down. I blog because it makes me happy and I would never want to lose that.
Tips for Book Bloggers?
Don’t measure success by the number of followers or subscribers you have. You’re successful when a follower reads and loves a book you recommended, or when one of your reviews makes an author’s day. And don’t forget, bloggers who currently have thousands of followers all started with 0 at the beginning.
Also, you don’t have to read everything! There was a point when I would just read anything and everything, but books I really wanted to read were forever at the bottom of my book pile and reading started to feel more like a chore. Now I’m confident enough to read books that I actually want to read. We all invest our time when we read so I always want that reading time to be filled with inspiration, entertainment, learning and laughter.
What are you currently reading?
I’m currently reading a few books for Armadillo Magazine, including two very exciting YA titles – Love is a Revolution by Renée Watson and We Played With Fire by Catherine Barter. I love to read nonfiction too and I’m also reading Lucy Siegle’s Turning the Tide on Plastic.
What is your most eagerly anticipated book this year?
Oh my goodness so many! 2021 is going to be such a special year for kid’s books. I have a particular soft spot for middle grade and I’m really excited about Rumaysa by Radiya Hafiza (Macmillan Children’s Books), Starboard by Nicola Skinner (Harper Collins Children’s Books), The Bewitching of Aveline Jones by Phil Hickes (Usborne) and The Plentiful Darkness by Heather Kassner (Henry Holt & Company).