It’s #Booktober! #Celebrate #NationalBookMonth by spreading #booklove to #readers young and old.

Allow me to sum up the current state of Autumn in Wisconsin with the following excerpt from a beloved classic:

Yup. Rain. And lots of it. Our sump pump is working, thank the Lord, but the extension hose attached to the pump outside came off. Heaven knows how long our sump pump dumped water right next to the house. I’m praying that I got it re-attached in time…and that it stays connected when I go to work at a nearby elementary school for a while.

So, um, my mind’s not exactly in a writerly place right now.

But let’s not fall into another panic attack. Let’s think on the lovely colors of fall (that will hopefully show up some time) and the literary celebration that is National Book Month.

I usually roll my eyes at “National ___ Day/Week/Month,” but this one’s got my attention, especially after working with kids of elementary age who still cannot read.

My heart chokes as I sit with children who cannot recognize letters, let alone words, and these kids are at least my sons’ age, if not older. These children want to read. They want to understand what those printed squiggles are with every picture. They want to know what all the signs say in the rooms, what the teacher sees when she reads to them. They want to know what the world is trying to share with them, to enter all the worlds that flourish around the illustrations on paper, to fill their imaginations with places and people never seen before.

They so badly want to know.

So this month, my friends, please take a moment to read to one who cannot. Share a story you love, or a story neither of you have ever seen before. Countless worlds await us in the bookshops and libraries, worlds of dragons and treasures and friendships and love, journeys of redemption and damnation and transformation and hope.

Let us bring those worlds to those who do not yet know their own written language. Let us share a cherished tale with those whose eyes can no longer hold words in place.

Let us celebrate this most precious gift: the gift of story.

Not sure what to read? Allow me to share a few books floating around my house.

What’s Blondie reading?

“I like that it’s about foxes, and there’s cool magic and stuff.” Works for me, kiddo!
Click here for more on the book.

Blondie also had a go at some classics earlier this summer thanks to Bookpacks, a really cool combination of book and audio book to help kids focus on reading when there’s no pictures for context. Maybe your library has Bookpacks, too! Click here for more info.




What’s Biff reading?

“I love Pluto!” Yup, this says it all! If you have a space nut in your life, consider this book. πŸ™‚

What’s Bash reading?

“Look at all the crazy cars! Maybe I can drive one someday.” Please someone tell me they see some serious Terry Gilliam-esque tones in these pictures!

What the kids love reading together: Anything about Calvin and Hobbes. ANYTHING. I highly recommend investing in a volume or three for your house. Here is the one whose cover’s just about fallen off from late-night reading.





What’s Bo reading?

“Well I got these for my father, who loved studying the Civil War. Now they’re on my shelf, so…can’t read about Groucho Marx forever.” Too true, Love. Click here for more info.

What am I reading?

What? Me, read Diana Wynne Jones? That’s preposterous!

I’m so honored to be a part of Witch Week 2019, hosted by Lizzie Ross and Chris Lovegrove of Calmgrove. The theme is…wait for it…

I’m bringing a talk about familial villains to the table with an analysis of Black Maria–or Aunt Maria as it’s known in the States.

While I was also tempted to reread Something Wicked This Way Comes, I decided to try something new. I’m hoping there will be a lesson or two to share when I’m done.

Not gonna lie–my brain is addled by the overlapping schedules of six different school districts that can now call me at a moment’s notice to substitute. Time to read, let alone write, feels all but gone.

It’s at such a moment like this, when the world is soggy like forgotten cereal, the kids are screaming like so many banshees wielding stale banana chips as throwing stars, and the university asks for the presentation due a week ago, that I need to remember the gift of story.

The gift of escape.

Sweet, spooky escape. x

Any reading recommendations you’d like to share here among fellow book lovers? Please share it in the comments below!

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Miss my latest installment of Free Fiction? Click here!


I’ve a magical interview coming up, some spine-tingling music, and more spookiness in store for this wondrous Booktober.

Read on, share on, and write on, my friends!

35 thoughts on “It’s #Booktober! #Celebrate #NationalBookMonth by spreading #booklove to #readers young and old.

  1. Oh I do so remember that unsettled feeling being a substitute teacher (what we call supply teaching here in the UK), not knowing when and where you’ll be called upon to do your thing. At least I only had to do it for a handful of years before I retired, when the kids had long grown up and left home!

    When they were young we did read a lot to our kids, but they were all so different in their responses to reading for themselves in later life. One used to read aloud to her relatively illiterate contemporaries at nursery school, having become a voracious reader before going there; she later developed a taste for SFF and has now done a Masters in health and nutrition. The second read intermittently, being slightly dyslexic, but she then qualified in various disciplines and is now a personal trainer with her own gym. The third wasn’t diagnosed as dyslexic till university, having masked his disability through developing massive social skills! Nevertheless his first completed novel was Midnight’s Children, a work I struggled with, and now uses his technological skills working in TV and movies.

    I say all this because, as you say, no one size fits all. But learning to read, and developing a love for it, is crucial to having a fulfilled life these days.

    On a different matter, I’m excited anticipating your piece on Black Maria! Witch Week 2019 will be a whole lot zingier with that included, I’m sure! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 3 people

    • Oh wow! You must be so proud of all they’ve done. I’ve got to share this with the little Bs; Blondie’s currently in the midst of making a sequel to her ‘The Invention that Changed the Chicken World’ and is now asking when she gets to make a book on the computer like Mom. πŸ™‚ xxxxxxx I confess I have a little parent guilt about the boys, though–it turns out they’re far-sighted. Here they LOVE reading so much, and they’d been straining their eyes to keep the letters in focus. But they’ve got glasses now, and love flopping themselves down at the drop of a book to study space, animals, and of course, good ol’ Calvin. So long as they don’t pull his pranks at school, we’ll be good. πŸ™‚ Speaking of, Bash has just woken up with my lion puppet and is now on my lap. Time to go!

      I’m so excited for Witch Week!!! Turn thrice widdershins my piece is up to snuff πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Happy Book Month, Jean! Ironically, I’ve been watching TV (well, DVDs of Star Trek) lately, so this is a great reminder to get back to the books.

    From the cover of the magic fox book, I have to agree with your daughter: it looks great!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love the encouragement to share the magic of reading! Even with older kids, read-aloud is so powerful (I forget the stat, but it was either up till 8th grade or 18, listening comprehension is SIGNIFICANTLY higher than reading comprehension in most.) I use it with my middle schoolers to “hook ’em” on the chapter we’re reading- or at least try to! (I think since we’re reading Dawn Treader, I might have to whip out my old BBC live action movie of the book with Warwick Davis as Reepicheep next week… :))
    Saying a prayer for no leaking in your house- honestly, after our plumbing debacles, it took a year or more until I could flush without flinching lol- water damage is the worst to deal with, and it sounds like your farmers need prayers too (though I guess Grandpa always said he’d take flooding over drought- at least with flooding you’ll be able to grow SOMETHING on the high ground…)
    Babbling here- I blame the cold I’m fighting- but in short, read on, write on, teach on, mom on, but don’t forget to breathe, too, friend πŸ™‚ xxxxxxxxxxxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, we have that one, too! I don’t think I ever connected Reepicheep to Wicket–and Reepicheep is my favorite Narnian! πŸ™‚

      Thanks for the prayers. Our sump pump successfully kept our basement dry, thank Heaven. The land between our house and our neighbors is like a swamp yet, so here’s praying there’s a goooood long dry spell in the days to come.

      I wish I could have shared some teaching stories here (the kid popping his leg off in recess, the kindergartner who told me to f**k off, etc), but I guess I’ll save those for another time. πŸ˜‰

      You keep breathing too, my friend. Keep praying, momming, wifeing, teaching, writing, reading, and breathing. You know–All The Things, lol πŸ™‚ xxxxxxxx

      Liked by 1 person

  4. A wonderful post – you haven’t lost your gift with words. That’s a Yorkshire Autumn as well but probably with less Rhubard, a few less cricket grounds, a lot less Yorkshire Tea and certainly less grumpy people wearing flat caps. We had the World Cycle Championships last week – typically part of the circuit was only passable in a submarine. I can only imagine how frazzled your brain is with all that going on. Sending you and your sump pump warm thoughts. Just read this post a couple of minutes after having a blazing argument with school over the lack of dyslexia support. Your so right so many kids are excluded from the wonderful world of books. Together we have just started Spotty Powder and other Splendiferous Secrets.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. That’s so funny, Jean, because yesterday I signed up at work to do “Philly Reads” which is a program that brings elementary school kids into our office every Tuesday from now until May for a reading session. I’ll have the same kid every week and I’m very excited. ;0)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Lovely post. I read with all my nieces and nephews when they were younger, and loved it, even when we returned to the same stories countless times. Children get so excited by story, don’t they? But the really magical moment was definitely when they read the books to me! Magical.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thanks for the recommendation on _Foxcraft_! I’ll have to check it out for my younger daughter.

    And I loved _Small Spaces_! Definitely an October book; it’s so creepy. But good creepy. Her new book _Dead Voices_, starring the same trio of friends, came out in August, so definitely check that out too.

    Thanks, too, for your contribution to the school system. Teachers — all of them, including subs — are awesome!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oooo, thanks for the heads up on on Dead Voices! I’ll have to scope it out. And yes, Foxcraft is a great fit for young, adventurous readers! The Endling books were also HUGE to Blondie. When the 2nd book finally came to the library, she said, “Can I read it right now? I can’t wait to see what happens!” My heart burst then and there. πŸ™‚ xxxxxxx


  8. Your opening is perfect. The Cat in the Hat was one of my favorite books growing up. It’s also an excellent representation of Wisconsin life and maybe why I liked the book so much. I hope the rain has stopped and that you’re seeing some sun now. You also reminded me why I no longer live in the Dairy State, though I do miss the cheese.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Pingback: #AuthorInterview: #indie #writer @julidrevezzo discusses #historicalromance, #steampunk, and other #magic delights in #writing #standalones and #novelseries | Jean Lee's World

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