Confessions: 10 things you didn’t know about MLB

During 2012, a number of well-known and new children’s book authors and illustrators will be visiting My Little Bookcase to share their confessions- tidbits of information you may not know about them. We’ll be calling this series ‘Confessions of a Picture Book Genius’. First off the rank will be Chris Haughton, author of one of our much loved books, A Bit Lost and Oh No, George!

Although we’re not picture book geniuses here at My Little Bookcase, we thought we’d begin this series with some confessions of our own. It might also give you a bit of an insight into what goes on behind the scenes of My Little Bookcase.

1. I work from a tiny little desk in my family room

Everything I do for My Little Bookcase takes place right here at this little desk which my husband picked up at our local tip. It sits in our family room and overlooks the kitchen, dining area and Cam’s play spaces. So, while I work I am reminded of all the other duties I must get done: washing the dishes, packing away toys, cleaning food and play dough off table surfaces etc.

2. I am a shift worker

Cam is home with me full time and being a mother is my primary job. Needless to say, when Cam is awake I don’t get any work done for My Little Bookcase. If I’m lucky I can begin work on my ‘to-do’ list for an hour while she has her nap though.

Otherwise I start work at 7.30pm and work until I’m too tired to work any longer. By midnight, my husband is usually at his wit’s end, telling me that I should be in bed. ( I am actually being told off as we speak)

3. I treat My Little Bookcase as if it were one of my children

It’s true. I put all of my energy into it; I persevere during the difficult times; I am sleep-deprived because of it; I am protective of it;  I love it with all of my heart; I have trouble saying no to it. I believe in it,  and hope the best for it.

4. Praise and thanks keep the wheels turning at My Little Bookcase

My Little Bookcase  doesn’t currently  pay me a wage or a salary. My Little Bookcase is a hobby and, as strange as it sounds, I genuinely work as hard as I do on My Little Bookcase because I’m passionate about children having positive experiences with books and reading.

Running My Little Bookcase is a costly venture, so I am incredibly thankful to the wonderfully supportive businesses that have sponsored My Little Bookcase over the past year, because it has lessened the financial pinch of running the blog.

Most of these businesses provide products for me to giveaway to readers, but some have offered financial assistance. However, this finance hasn’t even come close to covering the costs associated with posting prizes to readers let along other related expenses such as web hosting etc.

Sometimes readers send lovely emails, photos of their children or leave messages on the facebook page. I am touched by what is happening in their homes, and it is all I need to keep doing what I do with My Little Bookcase.

5. I am a published author

They may not necessarily be books that interest you, but I have co-authored four books. The four books were part of a Geography education series, consisting of two student books and two teacher books. I worked on the series with three other authors while we were all teaching full time. It was a wonderful introduction into the world of publishing. It was fascinating, empowering but also incredibly laborious.

The books were some of the first to be published when VELS was first introduced in Victoria. We tried to be innovative at the time by incorporating features not usually associated with ‘text books’.

6. I saw the Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone film before I read the book.

Every Year 7 student was reading the book during my first year of teaching, and one of my colleagues planned a visit to the cinemas as an end of year activity for them.

I was hooked, found myself a copy of the book and never looked back. A Harry Potter fan I most certainly am.

7. I’m 8 kilos heavier thanks to My Little Bookcase

When I’m not being a mum or tending to my house. I spend my spare time working on posts for MLB. To be honest, that’s too much time sitting down and not enough time moving. I’m currently working on dropping those KGs.

8. Our bookshelves are not always tidy

We work hard to keep our bookcases tidy and organised, but every now and then I walk into the room to find the books strewn all over the floor. It doesn’t really bother me too much because I know Cam has been enjoying her books.

9. I have cyber-met some amazing people via My Little Bookcase

I regularly communicate with people at the coalface of children’s book publishing. Amongst my favourite conversations are those that take place with talented authors and illustrators, but I am equally honoured to be able to talk to publishers and editors too.

There are also a handful of wonderful children’s literacy advocates who share our passion for children’s books and literacy. Sure, sometimes there is an overlap with what we write, share and review, but together we all work incredibly hard to inform and inspire families.

Most satisfying is when we team up and work together to share our love of reading with others. Here are some of the sites My Little Bookcase has worked with: Bug in a Book, Kids Book Review, Honeybee Books, The Book Chook, We Heart Books, House of Prowse, That Book You Like, Three Four Knock on the Door and  Books for Little Hands. There are many more we hope to work with in the future.

10. Everything changed after our miscarriage.

My husband and I had been trying unsuccessfully to conceive for most of 2011. I had to stop running story-time sessions because they were taking a physical and financial toll on us. Not long after making that decision, we found out we were pregnant and were simply delighted. Sadly, we miscarried in November.

It took me a long time to enjoy compiling and writing for My Little Bookcase again. I have not healed completely, and I’m not sure that I ever will.

My Little Bookcase will most certainly continue throughout 2012, albeit in a more casual and slow manner. As much as I want to inspire other families, I do have to be kind to myself and do what is right for my family too, which hopefully includes a precious little baby sometime in the future.

It means I have to let go of all the BIG plans I had for My Little Bookcase. I won’t be working late into the nights, and I won’t be over-committing, which means that I can’t even come close to keeping my finger of the pulse of everything that is happening in the kid-lit world.

My main focus for My Little Bookcase this year will be The Little Book Adventure and this new Confessions series.

I hope you still continue to be a part of this community because it has become a truly wonderful one.

Confessions: 10 things you didn’t know about MLB

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  1. What a great post to read over breakfast – so honest and heartfelt. Thank you! As for My Little Bookcase – I love it. I’m presenting to a group of teachers/community workers this week about the storytelling experience and your site was one of the first on my reference list. Your passion really does speak for itself! x

    • Just lovely. Thank you Beth for taking the time to share that with me. I must say that your work is as equally passionate and inspiring.

  2. Jackie, we are really sorry for your loss and can’t believe that you have had to endure those sorts of comments. We think that you are doing a wonderful job and will always support you in everything you do. Although we have not had the heartbreak that you have had recently, we do know first hand the time pressures of maintaining a blog while also being the best mum you can be. We are also planning changes in 2012. All our love goes out to you Jackie (and Cam and your husband) and we will continue to follow your wonderful work.

    • Families really are number one aren’t they? …and we do have to reassess what we are doing to make sure we are not jeopardising what is most important to us. Thanks for following us, and we look forward to seeing what changes you are making this year too.

  3. A beautiful, honest post. I love and admire your drive and enthusiasm.
    I am so saddened to hear about the negative comments and the impact they have had, it is the second post this fortnight within which I have read about negative, personal comments being put on the internet. I am so confused as to what really motivates people to do such things.
    But now to turn to what is really important …. Good luck for what sounds like a positive and inspiring year ahead!

    • I normally don’t believe in ‘airing dirty laundry in public’, but it reached a point where I thought people had the wrong idea about MLB. Sometimes people need to know what is actually going on. It confuses me too that people can be negative. I just imagine that they too must have things going on in their life, which might cloud their judgement.

      Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment though. Hopefully MLB can work with My Book Corner in the future too.

      • Yep, I agree, I don’t ‘get’ the negativity. Such a waste of time and effort.

        and yes, MBC would LOVE to join up with MLB at some point, fab idea!!

  4. You are amazing!!! I admire you. Your passion and enthusiasm are contagious. My family has benefited from MLB and we can’t thank you enough. It’s wonderful to share reading with loved ones and you keep inspiring me to be the best I can be.
    I thank you for all you do and for sharing yourself with us.

    • Thanks for the feedback Rebecca. You’ve been part of the community for such a long time, and it’s great to have you. The facebook page is a lovely place because I am equally inspired by all the families that leave comments and share their experiences.

  5. All I can say is a BIG…….WOW! You sound like such an amazing person with so much warmth and love. Your commitment to this blog despite all the hurdles you have to overcome is mind blowing. I commend you for all that you have done and cannot imagine that you can get unpleasant comments/feedback from others. That is truly sad and I hope and pray that 2012 brings lots of joy & blessings your way. Keep up the GREAT work Jackie, hats off to you! :) Your little one is truly blessed to have a mum such as yourself.

    • Oh, Nabeela. Your comments are so touching. Thank you for making me smile. I do think the same can be said for all parents that visit My Little Bookcase. Their children are very lucky. It’s so wonderful to have you as part of the community.

  6. Hi Jackie, I loved reading this post. It’s interesting and inspiring to see what goes on behind the scenes. I love your site and I am looking forward to doing the The Little Book Adventure challenges with my two kids this year. I’m a primary teacher and would spend all day in the library if I could, I will pass on your information to our librarian. Tash

    • It seems that this post has taken people by surprise a little. I guess we just don’t know what goes on unless someone tells us. Thanks for being a part of this community. Love having you here.

  7. Jackie, thanks so much for this post. It is lovely to get to know you, and your wonderful site a little bit better. I was quite moved, and very inspired :)

    It’s been such a pleasure to work a little with MLB over the past year, and I hope we can continue to collaborate in ’12. For me, reading is such a joy, and a joy I want to share with my kids. You always give me great ideas for how to do this, thank-you!

    I wish you and your family all the best for 2012, that you’ll heal from your heartbreaks, and that the year will offer up amazing things for you all.

    Thanks again,
    Mandi J (TBYL)

  8. Wow Jackie, an amazing post. It brought tears to my eyes. So honest, heartfelt and passionate. I hope 2012 brings with all the happiness, love and laughter you desire. Someone once said to me that being a teacher is a life choice, not a career. It’s just not something you can switch off, it is part of you. The commitment you have to educating young children is obvious. Thank you for a wonderful blog, resource and post.

    • Thank you Peta for your sweet words. I think you’re right, My Little Bookcase probably does fill a void that is there because I am not in the classroom.

  9. Love your honesty, I must remember to take the time to post more often. You do such a great job and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!

  10. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself with us and providing such an inspiring blog Jackie. I really look forward to every single one of your posts and my children are certainly benefiting from them. You have inspired us to include a reading nook in our girls bedroom upgrade and I am even making some book slings for their bunks. Wishing you and your family all the very best for this new year.

    • I’m happy to hear that you find My Little Bookcase inspiring. I can’t wait to see what you create for your children.

  11. Thanks for sharing Jackie! You certainly are an inspiration to many families to persevere with sitting and reading in this busy culture. I’m so sorry to hear about your difficulties and miscarriage in 2011. It’s certainly hard to juggle family, work, hobbies and still have time to nourish your whole self. Hope this year is a bit more balanced and you find time for you.. And maybe a baby ;) xx

  12. Hi Jackie – thank you for sharing with us glimpses of behind the scenes of MLB. MLB has certainly been a wonderful inspiration to me and my family . We have all benefited from your hard work and dedication and feel very privilege that we reap the rewards of your hard work.
    Keep up the good work. You do an amazing job Jackie. But most importantly – make sure you put you and your wonderful family first. All your followers know the importance of family – and understand that this must be your priority.

    • Thank you Fiona. That is the beauty of this community isn’t it? That we all understand the importance of family. :)

  13. Such a great post. I feel very much the same about my website, even though my other half does not understnad this at all.
    I love your little desk, reminds me of primary school
    (PS: you should see the state of MY shelves!!!!)

    • Yes, there are many people don’t understand a blogger’s affection for their blog/work. I recently came across your site and plan on visiting a lot more. :)

  14. I LOVED reading this, Jackie – so so special to learn more about you and the wonderful things you do – I am always learning! My favourite part is that you work from that little school desk!! That blew me away! And of course, I loved the messy bookshelves. Brilliant. So excited to be dropping by to do my own confessions with you on MLB soon! xx

  15. Jodie said: On May 15, 2012

    Hey – just roaming around a bit on the www today and read this page. Wow – so personal. I wanted to thank you for the great work you do. I love your page (it’s one of only four that I really continually keep going back to for book stuff) and I want to congratulate you on the great book challenge you have put together this year. My family and I want to enter every one! It is seriously a fabulous idea and I bet many other organisations wish they had thought it up.

    Keep up the great work, stay positive, stay healthy and well just THANKS!

    Jodie

    • jackie said: On May 15, 2012

      Oh Jodie. Thank you so much for your very kind words. It means a lot to have readers play a genuine role in the community created through My Little Bookcase.

  16. Jodie said: On May 15, 2012

    Oh and PS – I have desk envy!

    • jackie said: On May 15, 2012

      Thanks. I do LOVE my little desk. So lucky to have picked it up for free at the local tip.

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  18. Sarah said: On July 25, 2013

    Jackie,
    First let me state how much I absolutely love your website/blog. As a teacher with a young family myself, I amazed that you find the time to do what you do. I am constantly telling other mothers (and fathers) about your page. I particularly love the times when you review a collection of books with a common theme.
    Thank you, our family really benefits from your labour of love. x

    • Sarah,
      Thank you for your incredibly kind words. Your comment is very timely actually. I was up until 1.30am this morning working on a post. That is when I find the time to review, compile and write. And, I am certainly paying for it today. Just as I sat here questioning my time management skills, this comment popped into my inbox. Worth every late night I think.

      Thank you for being a part of this community. I’m thrilled that you find MLB worthy enough to share with your friends and I’m very happy to hear that you are raising enthusiastic bookworms :)

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