Tuesday, 13 June 2017

The 1000 Picture Book Challenge - A June Update

The 1000 Picture Book Challenge - An Update


2017 has been a fantastic year for us so far. Our highlights include:
  • The birth of our third son, Theon, in early June
  • Being shortlisted for the Oh Zoe! Rising Talent Award for The Sword of Complete Awesomeness (http://www.ohzoe.com/shortlist)
  • Our first trip abroad as a family to Disneyland Paris with the kids Gran
  • Reading several hundred books towards our 1000 book goal!
Our goal at the beginning of the Picture Book Challenge was to read 1000 picture books over the course of 2017. Reading roughly three per day would see us hit nearer 1100, and we've been giving it a jolly good go. However, there are many factors that have prevented us from sticking ahead of our goal, many involving work, tiredness, and particularly the impending birth of our third child, and so despite our efforts to increase the number of books in an evening following days when we haven't managed to read any, we've slipped behind a bit.

This does not, however, mean we're giving up. No way. Not even close. We've carried on reading and reading, as well as doing much re-reading too, and we're determined that we're going to beat the 1000 book figure by the end of 2017 as planned, and hopefully raise some money for charity whilst doing so.

There were always two parts to the Picture Book Challenge though - one was doing the actual reading, and the other was blogging about reading. It's the latter that I've found a real challenge (no pun intended), and the main bit I want to update you about here. It takes a surprising amount of time to write up three reviews per night, especially when trying to think of useful things to say, put hyperlinks in, take photos of the kids holding the books, get their comments in, put in an intro and summary etc., and as of writing this I'm something like two and a half months behind with getting the reviews up. Whilst the most important part is undoubtedly actually reading the books, I really want to have the blogging side up there as well as a companion, especially as it provides anyone following our progress with some excellent ideas for what to read themselves as a family.

With that in mind, I'm going to change the way that I put our reviews up, which hopefully should make it all go a bit quicker. Instead of an in-depth review of each story, I'm going to put them in the following format:
  • Title/Author/Illustrator
  • The Story: praising the author's work
  • The Illustrations: praising the illustrator's work
  • Why Parent's Will Love It: replacing 'Chris says', where I talk about what I liked from a parent's point of view
  • What Josh Says: as before
  • What Xander says: as before
Hopefully, a sentence or two on the above will make it easy to catch up on the enormous backlog, and then let me keep up with it as we go along from here on out. That way you still get to know what's awesome about each of the books, but you don't have to wait months to find out why!

It's even more important over the second half of the year to do this because:
  • The aforementioned newborn baby is going to take up rather a lot of time!
  • I am currently exam marking, which takes up a heck of a lot of time in the evenings
  • I have a rather exciting bit of news regarding a writing project that I can't share yet
  • I'm down to be a judge for a book award that is going to eat up my life for several months at some point
  • I'm undertaking another qualification for work that requires plenty of work in the evening
  • I need to sleep at some point
We WILL read 1000 books for the Picture Book Challenge, and this blog WILL detail all 1000 of them! It's been enormous fun to read so many wonderful stories together, and I love getting the chance to promote reading as a family. With the reviews, I'm focusing only on the positives of each book because I firmly believe that every story has something that people will enjoy. Some books are funnier than others, some have better rhymes than others, but EVERY book deserves to be heard about and read by a family somewhere.

Thank you to all the authors, illustrators, publishers, and fellow readers that have helped to share our reviews and news about the Picture Book Challenge - we look forward to you joining us on the second half of our adventure!