I CERTAINLY Wasn't Expecting This!

I love having books for my kids. I love that, by having children's books around, my kids will pick them up and read them - just because. I don't have to suggest it or make sure they read for 20 minutes every day (or whatever the newest "reading prescription" length of time is nowadays.) I love that my oldest will happen upon a new storybook, or one of his old favorites, and seek out Little Guy so they can lay in bed and read together.

Unfortunately, I don't have the money to go buying up every neat book I hear about. I sometimes can find a good one at a yard sale or thrift store but, more times than not, there are pages missing or colored on. We hit the library pretty regularly and Little Guy's eyes light up as he darts among the stacks, bringing me every book that happens to catch his eye to take home. This is how I choose books at the library, too. It's hit-or-miss, but it's also an adventure - you never know what you're going to get! When it's time to take the books back, he carefully checks the spines to make sure the "library sticker" is on them and we don't accidentally take one of his precious books to the library.

I recently had the pleasure to read Interview with Ella Johnson, Owner of Memorable Children's Books & Gifts on Melange Of Culture's Blog. Here are some things I learned from the interview:

  • She's lived in a number of places all over the world. 

  • She has studied Fine Arts and Education.

  • She taught Fine Arts, from preschool all the way up to secondary school.

  • She worked as a civil servant for The Queen of England (!)

  • When she came to the US, she went a year without finding a job. 

  • She chose to start her own business, Memorable Children's Books & Gifts (go on, check it out!)

Now, I knew from her "About Me" section that Ella does a lot of giving. She gives away school supplies each year to children in August at a local Chick-Fil-A where she sells books on Family Night - 20 bags' worth last year! She also has a Back to School giveaway (ends Aug. 15, 2 winners, US) on her blog right now - one VERY luck winner is going to get the mother-lode of school supplies. Yeah, I've got my fingers AND my toes crossed. Please pick my entry, Random.org!!! Oh, and I don't want to forget to tell you about her Birthday Library Giveaway. Every year, from the ages of 2 through 5, registered children will receive a book for their birthday from Ella. Since this is being funded by Ella, along with a few donations from publishers and authors, the first year of the program has (had?) space for four children per birthday month (WOW - that's 48 free books! No, I didn't use my fingers...)

If you're a fan of my Facebook page (hey, gotta get those likes in there however I can!), you'll have noticed that I often share giveaways that other bloggers are hosting. In addition to all of the amazing free giveaways above, Ella also gives away children's books that she's reviewed to her readers. I'm puzzled by why she doesn't have a ton of entries. I've been lucky enough to have won quite a few of the giveaways on Memorable Children's Books' blog and would love to make more people aware of this great blog. (Look at me, cutting my odds of winning, sheesh!)

And, because I share these giveaways so often, guess what? I was surprised over the weekend with this:

Alicia McCrenshaw – 
Best Supporter of the Month
She is a lover of nature
and science
It's right there on her sidebar, for all to see! Go over and look at it, this really means a lot to me. For all that she does for others, here she is giving ME a "Good Job" for merely sharing her giveaways with others. My favorite part is her description of me - no one has ever said it about me before. I never really thought about it, but nature and science really are two of my passions. 

So, thank you, Ella. For the giveaways, for helping parents and children learn how important reading is, and for the surprising and wonderful honor of being named your Best Supporter of the Month!

**Right now, Ella is giving away a 4-pack of books for the Summer Giveaway Hop. It ends Aug. 7 and is open to US.
**Oh, and I didn't get to mention another thing I love about her blog - she posts many author interviews. I like getting to know the writers of the books she reviews and their motivations for their works. She even has a Meet the Author Facebook page!

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