Hi! I’m Susan, a wife, a mom and a recently retired elementary school librarian with 22 years of experience. You may be wondering what brought me to the decision to write a blog about kids’ books. It all began about a year ago during a conversation with my brother during our annual reunion at Thanksgiving. We were talking about my upcoming retirement in June of 2015 and I was admitting to feeling a little panicky about what I would do (actually a lot of panic was already setting in!). You see, I’ve always worked with children and books since I graduated from Purdue in 1973 and I’ve always loved seeing the light go on in children’s eyes when they begin to learn to read. I believe a big part of that is making sure the kids have the right book. Because of that belief, 22 years ago I made a decision to accept an elementary school librarian job (my second major at Purdue) in Naperville, IL, and it proved to be one of the best decisions I ever made! Through the years, I was able to help children find a perfect book or author, time and time again and I was always rewarded with big smiles and that light in their eyes. I don’t want to walk away from that joy. I may not be able to see the light in your child’s eyes, but I’m hoping you’ll share their joy with me, if one of my blogs leads them to find the perfect book for them.
Well, it turns out that writing a blog is a little harder than I expected! It has taken lots of thought, lots of support and lots of help from my husband, my two sons, my nieces, my nephews and my siblings. But thanks to all of them, I’m finally doing it! My goal is to write at least one post a week. These postings may include my thoughts about a series you might not be familiar with or had forgotten about, my suggestions about new books, both fiction and nonfiction, as well as low reading level/high interest level fiction books. In addition I hope to share my suggestions about tips and techniques for parents to use as they read aloud or share reading with their children. I want to assure you that I will only include books that are currently available in public libraries and book stores, so I don’t send anyone off on a frustrating quest! And finally, I will include the reading levels of the books I suggest using both the Lexile level and the ALTOS level which is used to determine the Accelerated Reader (AR) level. This will help you determine if the book might work for your child. However, I want to remind you, even if the Lexile level is below your child’s reading level, the content might be perfect for their maturity level and might include some concepts you would like your child exposed to.
Finally, you may be wondering why this is the Red Canoe Reader. As I mentioned earlier, I requested help from my family as I began to create my blog. I received lots of wonderful suggestions for names – thank you everyone – and then my sister, Lisa, who follows many blogs, suggested it needed to be something personal to me. When she mentioned Red Canoe Reader, I knew I had found the perfect title! A red canoe has been a big part of my life since high school. At that time my dad bought a red canoe and we immediately began our adventures. He was a huge fisherman, so we would take the canoe to the local reservoir on many summer evenings and carry it from the car to the water. (I wonder, now, how we ever did that. It’s an extremely heavy fiberglass canoe!) We always had it with us during our annual two week lake vacations and it is now a permanent resident of our Michigan lake house. There have been so many happy and crazy adventures connected with that red canoe through the years, that it seemed like the perfect title for my blog.
If you have any suggestions for blog ideas, or questions about specific books, series or ideas, please make a comment. I look forward to hearing from many of you, as I begin to explore the world of blogging!