A blog for kids (and their parents) who love books, words, and dreaming big...
I'm so glad you stopped by! Welcome.

Friday, June 1, 2012

A Big Blue Birthday (and Contest!)

Image courtesy of ClipartPal.com

In case you didn't know, there's a special birthday coming up!  Those of you who know me personally may be thinking: Oh, that's right -- Janelle has a June birthday.  That is true.  My husband has a June birthday, as well, and so does my mother-in-law and my brother-in-law.  But those aren't the birthdays I'm thinking of today.  No, I'm thinking of this blog's birthday!  I launched Blue Sky, Big Dreams almost one whole year ago, on June 17, 2011.

"We turn not older with years, 
but newer every day."

~ Emily Dickinson

When I first came up with the idea for this blog, I knew that I wanted to share poems, books, quotes, words -- as well as my own writing -- with kids, parents, teachers, librarians, writers, and other BookWyrms all over the world.  I imagined lots of written conversations, back and forth with my readers, about the things I'd shared.  I'd never had a blog like this before (just one with family pictures, for my friends and other family members to check in on once in awhile), so I really didn't know what to expect.  A few months later, in an attempt to reach more people, I added a Blue Sky, Big Dreams Facebook page.

As of today, I've shared 370 posts here -- that's even more than one post per day! I've posted most of them on Facebook, as well.  I've shared lots of poems, books, quotes, and words, plus some of my own writing (though not as much as I'd hoped).  So far, there have only been 100 comments here on the blog (and at least half of those are from me, responding to someone else's comment, LOL).  There have only been a handful of comments and "likes" on the Facebook page.

I try not to get discouraged by that.  I know that people are busy and often don't have time to read many blogs, let alone comment on them. (I would really love to get more feedback, though!) The statistics that I receive from Blogger show me that people are coming to my blog, and from all over the world, too.  In fact, in May, I had more visitors here than in any other month so far, passing my former record by 200+ hits.  I still don't have a very big following, however.  A friend of mine who began a new blog not long ago (but with a very different theme from mine) mentioned recently that she'd had over 1500 visitors in one month -- I can only dream of that kind of traffic right now!

I thought about my blog long and hard, wondering, Is it worth the work?  Finally, I decided that, yes, it is.  And that even if my blog only had one reader (myself), I would still keep doing it because it makes me happy. :)  Thankfully, I do have more than one reader.  And I hope that my blog makes all of you out there happy, too!

I tried to come up with ideas to (hopefully) increase readership -- and comments, too.  As part of that, and to celebrate Blue Sky, Big Dreams' one year anniversary, I've decided to hold a Big Blue Birthday Contest! :) Throughout the month of June, I will be collecting the names of my blog readers and putting them in this vase. (Some of your names are already there!*):

Every Friday I will draw one name from the vase and then send the winner a small token of my appreciation.  Then, on the 30th, I will draw one last name.  This lucky winner will chose three books from the list below, and I will send the books (in paperback form) as a thank you for supporting my blog.  All of these books have been featured on Blue Sky, Big Dreams over the past year; just click on the links to see a short review.  I have tried to include books (mostly fiction, but some nonfiction as well) from the various reader levels, ones that will appeal to both male and female readers.  (I realize that, at least so far, most of the people who read my blog are adults.  Hopefully I've picked books for this list that will interest you or a child in your life.)

Picture Books:
Bedtime for Frances by Russell Hoban
Freight Train by Donald Crews
Swimmy by Leo Leonni
My Many Colored Days by Dr. Seuss
About Birds: A Guide for Children by Cathryn Sill

Early Readers:
Frog and Toad are Friends by Arnold Lobel
Little Bear by Else Holmelund Minarik
Cookie's Week by Cindy Ward
Give Yourself to the Rain by Margaret Wise Brown
Bats by J. Angelique Johnson

Middle Grade Readers:
Anastasia Krupnik by Lois Lowry
A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park
The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo
Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai
Poetry Matters by Ralph Fletcher

Young Adult Readers:
The Red Necklace by Sally Gardner
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
The Pen Commandments by Steven Frank
Seeing the Blue Between by Paul B. Janeczko

You may be wondering: How can I get my name in that vase?  Well, it will require a little bit of work on your part, but hopefully it will seem more like fun than work!  I will write your name on a piece of paper and put it into my vase whenever you do any of the following:

  1. Become an "official" follower of this blog
  2. "Like" the Blue Sky, Big Dreams Facebook page
  3. Post a comment on the blog (Please see my note about comments here.)  If you don't have a blog of your own, Blogger will let you post anonymously -- just be sure to sign your name at the end of your comment so that I'll know who to make an entry for!
  4. "Like" a post on my blog's Facebook page
  5. Post a comment on my blog's Facebook page (Please follow the same courtesies in the note mentioned above.)
  6. Share a link to this blog or the blog's FB page on your own blog or on Facebook, encouraging others to check it out (Be sure to let me know you've shared it, so I can write your name down.)
  7. Share any of the links I post on the FB page (Again, please let me know you've done so.)
  8. Also, if any of your friends/blog readers check out this blog or its FB page, and lets me know that you referred him/her to the site, I will enter both of your names twice.
*Those who are currently followers of this blog already have three entries each in my vase.  The same goes for those who have already liked my FB page.  I appreciate your support over the past year VERY much!  I have also gone through all of the comments and "likes" from the past year and written out entries for each one.

The Big Blue Birthday Contest is only the beginning.  I plan to include much more of my own writing from now on, plus I have some other ideas for this blog that I'll be telling you about later in the month -- stay tuned!  Thank you for visiting Blue Sky, Big Dreams and helping me celebrate its one year birthday! :)



    I have really enjoyed your blog this past year Janelle! As a grandparent it has given me some great ideas for books for the grandkids and as a person who LOVES books and reading I have also enjoyed it. One of my greatest pleasures is spending time reading to my grandchildren.

    I hope this coming year brings you the success you desire here on the blog and I plan to continue to follow and enjoy your posts and look forward to more of your writing talent!

    Thank you for taking time to give the joy of reading to others - especially to children, you are helping plant seeds in young minds that will grow into a lifetime of reading pleasure as well as an all important education.

  2. hi janelle! i follow this blog via google reader... if that counts ;) and i just liked your blog's fb page!! glad you keep doing what makes you happy!! that's what it's all about!

  3. Janelle-
    Don't get discouraged - I love reading your blog, and I know there are tons of others - life just gets crazy! It's nice to take a little "vacation" from life & see how your kids have grown (doesn't seem possible we met almost 27 years ago!!)
    Keep up the great work & be happy :)

  4. Elaine, Jen, and Ellen ~ thank you all so much for the kind words! :)

    (Ellen, I can't believe it's been that long, either!)

  5. Janelle
    Happy birthday to your blog. I do not comment a lot but I love reading it and have even went out to get books you have mentioned!
    Lisa ford

  6. Thank you, Lisa! I'm glad to hear that! :)

  7. Congratulations to our grand prize winner, Vincenza S.!!