Sunday, November 06, 2016

Ten Years Old! A Blogiversary Retrospective

Today I am celebrating 10 years in the blogosphere, and more specifically, the Kidlitosphere. It's been an amazing ride. I've found a community here that humbles, inspires, educates, and supports me in ways I never would have imagined when I started this journey. 

To celebrate the big day, I've decided to share some of my favorite posts, memories, and personal experiences that have grown out the real, live human connections I've made in this digital world. So, here we go!

When I started this blog, my son had just started kindergarten. He's now a sophomore in high school.
I'll admit to being a bit embarrassed about my early posts. I'm not really sure what I wanted the blog to be. I knew I wanted it to be about teaching and books and math and science and .... probably too many things in the beginning. What's interesting about reading those early posts is that some of the ideas and issues that I grappled with then, I continue to grapple with. For example, in an early post I wrote this after my first parent-teacher conference sitting on the parent side of the desk.
My biggest concern was in fact, his teacher's concern. I have a kid who hates to make mistakes, puts too much pressure on himself to get everything right, and just wants to be downright perfect.
I was thrilled with the fantastic report I received from William's teacher, but found myself wondering on the drive home, how do I fix this? How do I teach him it's okay to make mistakes, that everyone does, and that this is really what learning is all about? I'm not sure, but when I find out, I'll let you know.
Fast forward ten years. This week in class we focused on math talks and the "productive struggle" that's so important in math. And we talked about mistakes ... how we need to value them and how we can't fear them as kids do the hard work of learning something new.

In those first few posts I wrote about teaching, planning, historical fiction, "busy" children's books, and more. What led me down the rabbit hole, and opened up a new world on the blog was my post on January 1, 2007 highlighting the Cybils shortlist. That year, 482 books were nominated to produce a list of 45 finalists. This one post led me to the kidlitosphere, and it ultimately helped me find my tribe. My "tribe" consists of authors, teachers, librarians, poets, and a whole host of folks I never would have met were it not for this blog. My blogroll would be hundreds of links today if I actually listed every one on this blog. Now I can follow many of these folks on Twitter.

If I'd been thinking ahead, or much more creative, I would have turned this into a lengthy celebration and started weeks in advance, sharing some of the more interesting bits and bobs along the way. Ten years is a long time to do one thing. Heck, people today often don't hold a job that long! The blog has definitely morphed a bit, but it's still a place I love to hang out. Here are some of the highlights from my first year of blogging.

January 7, 2007
I entered Lisa Yee's Bodacious Book Title Contest. The rules were:
1. Think of a title from a children's/middle grade/young adult book.
2. Change the FIRST LETTER of ONE of the words to make it into a whole new title.
3. Then add a sentence describing the new book.

Here's one of my entries. It seems appropriate to share so close to election day.
Original Title: Duck for President
New Title: Puck for President
Summary: Upon escaping from the pages of A Midsummer Night's Dream, Puck finds himself in a land ruled by a ridiculous republican leader and, convinced he can do better, decides to run for President.

January 26, 2007
I participated in Poetry Friday for the first time! I didn't know to link up with others at that point, but I was finding a place to share and slowly finding my way into a community that I still participate in.

January 29, 2007
I posted my first thematic book list and Mary Lee Hahn of A Year of Reading stopped by to recommend a book. I'm so glad she did, and I'm so glad we're still talking about books and poetry together.

March 5, 2007
I wrote my first fib and walked through my writing/revising process. And Greg Pincus of GottaBook stopped by! (You're shocked, right?)

April 9, 2007
I wrote my first book review and was thrilled to find the author stopped by. This has happened a lot over the years, and it still makes me giddy. And that book I reviewed then is still in my teaching library and gets regular use.

May 15 - June 4, 2007
I traveled to Taiwan, China, and Tibet with a group of faculty members and blogged about my adventures. Here's a link to my summary post about what I learned.

July 16, 2007
I wrote about the book Ten Little Rabbits and the difficulty in evaluating books about other cultures. Debbie Reese of American Indians in Children's Literature stopped by and my education began. I still read her blog and am inspired by her tireless work.

August 6, 2007
I posted my very first poetry stretch. The form was the bouts-rímes. It's called the Monday Poetry Stretch now. I don't republish the poems in a new post any longer, just hope folks will drop into the comments to read the great things people share.

September 28, 2007
John Green came to campus as part of a lecture series. (This was just one year after An Abundance of Katherines was published.) I'd been following the Vlog Brothers since he was awarded a Printz honor in January, so meeting him was great fun.

October 6, 2007
I attended the very first Kidlit conference in Chicago and met all these amazing people.

October 15, 2007
The kidlit community came together in an event called Blogging for a Cure, spearheaded by Jules and Eisha of Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast. More than 60 bloggers worked to highlight an amazing group of illustrators who created snowflakes in support of Robert's Snow 2007. I may have even bid on and won a few ...
And that, my friends, is just a recap of one year of blogging! I've written numerous thematic lists since then, continue to host poetry stretches, participate in Poetry Friday, still speculate on the nature of diversity in children's books, write about poetry in many varied forms, and post original poetry supported by my amazing poetry sisters. I've experienced the highest highs and some of the lowest lows with this community. I'm so very grateful to have you. Thank you for reading, commenting, and stopping in to share my little corner of the internet. I love seeing you here.


  1. Congratulations, Tricia! I don't remember when I first found your blog, but I've learned so much from you over the years. Thank you for your dedication and contributions to the kidlitosphere. It is a richer place because of you!

    1. Thank you, Catherine. I too have learned from you, and I love that I'm able to share so many amazing teaching blogs (like yours!) with my students.

  2. Congratulations and thank you! You are such a wonderful contributor to the Kidlitosphere. Here's to many more years.

  3. Congratulations, Tricia. When I first entered the blogging world, just reading, your blog was the one I kept returning to, and told others about. What a pleasure it's been to read what you have to say all these years, and to learn from you. Thank you for all the words and clever ideas, and best wishes for keeping on and on.

  4. I love this post, Tricia. While I only read your blog sporadically, I think it and you are terrific, helpful and inspirational. I should go back and read the archives!! I would learn so much. When I grow up I'd like a blog like yours. Some of my favorite people are the Poetry Friday and children's lit friends I've met here (and some luckily enough in person). Janet F.

  5. Congrats on your blogging decade! I'm honored to have been a part of the whole journey, and to have gotten to know you!

    I was just thinking of Robert's Snow this morning. That was an amazing project that connected the Kidlitosphere. So was that first impromptu "conference" in Chicago. Good times.

  6. These are fun memories.
    Happy blogoversary.

  7. Happy 10 years!! Yours was one of the first kidlit blogs I discovered -- can't remember if it was because of PF or Robert's Snow, or the 7-Imp interview. Your Poetry Makers series was amazing and remains such a valuable online resource. I learned of so many new poets thanks to you.

    Thanks for 10 years of wonderful blogging, and here's to many more!

  8. Happy Decade-o-blogging! It's amazing to me that we're both still here AND that I remember so many of those posts you highlighted above (not to mention Kidlitcon!). Good times... and definitely worth some celebration.

  9. Congratulations on 10 year! It does seem as though you've been here forever, and the Kidlitosphere would certainly not be the same without you. I enjoyed this trip down memory lane.

  10. Many congratulations! I loved looking over your last ten years. I also have a sophomore in the house....who happens to struggle with perfectionism. huh. The kidlit community is one that I am enjoying learning about and exploring. It truly makes me feel like a kid in a candy store. Thanks for writing and pondering and sharing.

  11. Tricia, this post made me smile. You're such a valued member of the community and your blog has helped me become a better children's poet. THANK YOU! STOHR-HUNT POWER!