Tuesday, September 11, 2012

BBAW Interview: Introducing Maestra Amanda!

It was serendipity that my interview partner for this year's Book Blogger Appreciation Week is Amanda of Maestra Amanda's Bookshelf.  With a budding reader in the house, I've been eager to find a good book blog that highlights children's books.  Amanda does just that.  She's not only a great resource for children's through young adult books, she's also an interesting person!  She's also one of the reasons I love book blogging so much.  Her enthusiasm about books and literacy is contagious.  Go!  Visit her blog now.  Or rather, wait until after you read my interview with her.

Please welcome Amanda to Musings of a Bookish Kitty

Please tell us a little about your blog! Why did you start blogging and how did you choose your blog's name?

My blog started about 18 months ago (January, 2011). At the time, it was called "That Book Lady's Blog", but it just didn't feel right. So about a month later, after I had thought about WHY I had started blogging (to become more knowledgeable about children's-ya books), I decided to switch to "Maestra Amanda's Bookshelf" (Maestra Amanda is what my former pre-k students called me).

Funnily enough, this past summer, I was talking to a friend about books, and he started talking about GAME OF THRONES and the maesters (the really smart, educated, advisors). He thought I had named it after that, but "Maestra" is "teacher" in Spanish, which is what all my students (past and present) speak. But, like I said, I started blogging because I wanted to become more knowledgeable about books my students were/should be reading, and then it expanded in both directions to picture books and young adult.

 Who are some of the bloggers who you look up to/admire and why?

Some of my favorite bloggers are Danielle from There's a Book, John Schu from Mr. Schu Reads, Jen and Kellee from Teach Mentor Texts and Donalyn Miller aka "The Book Whisperer". They have never steered me wrong about a book. In fact, if they recommend a book, I've learned to just go read it and enjoy myself. Of the books that I have listed down below in my "favorite reads of the year", they recommended 3 (well, 2 books and 1 trilogy). 

And not only do they know their picture books to YA, but they are just so great to talk to on twitter. They are all super nice. 

 And of course, I look up to all the Nerdy Book Club bloggers---teachers, librarians, readers. Every member knows their stuff!  

What do you find most challenging about blogging? What do you enjoy the most?

The most challenging thing, I think would be to remember to keep creating content! I have a hard time remembering to post about a book I read and enjoyed. I usually just go on to the next one! Which is probably why you'll see on my "Books Read" tab that I have read a lot more than I've blogged about! 

What I enjoy the most is interacting with other readers. I don't care if you're a teacher, librarian, mom, reader or whatever, if you are enthusiastic about books, then you're totally cool in my book ;)

What about the person behind the blog? What do you do in your free time?

In my other life, I'm a teacher. I teach grades 3-5 English Language Learners. I enjoy baking, taking photographs, traveling and flowboarding (which is surfing and bodyboarding on a manmade wave---but our wave is broken, so I haven't been in a really long time!) I love technology---and would really like to start checking out more bookish apps.  

What are some of your favorite books you have read so far this year?

I think my most favorite book of the year was Wonder by RJ Palacio. That being said, I also really enjoyed Artemis Fowl (Eoin Colfer), the Chaos Walking trilogy (Patrick Ness), and The One and Only Ivan (Katherine Applegate).  

Share five random facts about you. Don't be shy!

5. I've been off caffine of all kinds (coffee, tea, soda) for 9 weeks. No, I am not pregnant :) It just wasn't having an affect on me anymore, and I figured I didn't need the empty calories. Its been really hard finding a suitable drinking alternative. A girl can only drink so much lemonade.

4. I eat one item of food on my plate at a time before I move on to the next. I don't like it when my food touches.

3. If I'm not reading, I'm probably pinning. I'm ADDICTED to Pinterest!

2. I'm making a blanket on my Nifty Knitter knitting loom.

1. I don't like reading "the classics" and have never gotten through the first chapter of Pride and Prejudice. I just can't get into it, even though I've tried several times. I'm sure its a wonderful book, but I'm also sure I can get the same theme and ideas out of something more interesting (sorry classics lovers).

You can read Amanda's interview with me over at  Maestra Amanda's Bookshelf, but more importantly, check out Amanda's blog!

A special thanks to the hosts of BBAW who worked hard to pull this week together and make it fun for everyone.  

© 2012, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.


  1. Great questions, Wendy! I enjoyed readng Amanda's answers and it's so great to get to know more fellow book bloggers through this interview swap!

    1. Melody - Amanda and I came up with the questions together. She was a fun interview partner. :-)

  2. Thanks for introducing me to a new blogger! I've been off of caffeine for years and feel much better because of it.

    1. Kathy - Same here. I gave up caffeine several years ago for health reasons and haven't missed it. :-)

  3. Oh my, I can't imagine my life without caffeine! I love that Amanda is such a lover of books and readers. I feel the same way. If someone reads, I am just bound to have more of an interest in striking up a conversation with them!

    1. Heather - Isn't she wonderful? I love her enthusiasm for reading and books.

  4. You guys are just too nice! Thank you, thank you!

    Wendy, thank you so much for a great interview. If you ever need anything (book suggestions...ANYTHING), please let me know!


    1. Amanda - I am glad I got to meet you. And I look forward to getting many great recommendations from you in the future!

  5. Great interview! I don't drink soda either, but I couldn't give up my weekend coffee.

    1. Thanks, Liviania! I have never been a coffee drinker, but I do love the smell on the rare occasion I'm around someone who does drink it. :-)

  6. I really appreciate Amanda, so it's great to learn more about her through this interview! And I agree whole-heartedly with her 'favorites' from this year - they're all excellent choices.

    1. Cecelia - I am so glad for the opportunity to meet Amanda.

      I haven't read all her favorites so far this year, but the Chaos Walking trilogy blew my socks off last year. Loved it.


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