|Q from Star Trek: The Next Generation. Probably had a pretty good library...|
It's been an amazing journey, and one that has surprised all of us here at ReadItDaddy Towers with the places it's taken us, the wonderful people we've met through book blogging, and the truly lovely community that exists around a love of children's books. We've spent 100 days looking back at just some of the stunning books we've reviewed in our #Booky100Keepers articles, and it's been amazing taking a look at all those books again, remembering why they caught our eye.
But all good things come to an end and today is our blog's happy birthday and death day all in one.
After a lot of soul-searching and discussion at home we've decided to retire the blog with a jaunty little wave goodbye and a shy smile, and of course a huge "THANK YOU" to everyone who has dropped by to read what we've written about books and bookish things, and an even bigger thank you to all the publishers, authors, illustrators and hard working PR folk who have helped make this blog what it is.
Ten years ago we didn't really set out to achieve anything but always thought it'd be good to do this for as long as it was fun, maybe notch up a few hits (just shy of 2 million the last time I looked, wow), perhaps find a way to turn writing about books into a regular (even paid) gig (hah, yeah right!)
Instead, chipping away at our review pile in our spare time has been hugely satisfying - but the tiny amount of spare time we devote to book blogging has slowly been eaten up by other things over the past decade. A busy tween and an equally busy dad both struggling to fit even a part-time blog into the mix of a hectic daily life just doesn't compute sadly, and again there's no point doing a blog if you're not going to do proper justice to the books. For a while I did consider just going on alone, but despite all the lovely things people have said on Twitter, I don't really think anyone wants to read an adult's lone opinion on children's books really, this blog was founded on being about C's opinions on books not really mine.
So what happens next?
Well you're in good hands, you know you are. When we started out, book blogging was a thing - sure it was - but there weren't that many 'dad' book bloggers out there as there are now, and the quality of blog content has skyrocketed way past the point of folk just tapping out "We really like this book, it's great" on a loop.
Book folk really are amazing and they are extremely passionate about the things they write about and the way they share the books that are rocking their world with you. Here's some of the blogs you should be reading if you aren't already...
Take "Father Reading Every Day" for example. We love this Dad and Son reading duo, setting out much like we did all those years ago, but really putting a huge amount of time and effort into their blog and the way they talk up their favourite books. Can you think of a more amazing way to chronicle your child's reading journey? Watching them grow up, their book tastes change, and having so much fun? Am in total admiration of this blog, it's just fantastic and reminds me of the way we set out on our own book blogging journey 10 years ago.
Then there's Lily and the Fae - Fairly new to book blogging but producing one of the loveliest parenting / book blogs out there. No wonder they're winning awards! Again a brilliant place for book news but also just a really fantastically and passionately written blog by someone who loves books.
Book Lover Jo is another fabulous booky person who I've been lucky enough to meet a few times and I'm in awe of her energy, her knowledge and her ability not only to produce the most amazing reviews and articles, but also to find time to develop her own writing and stories herself. Quite simply an amazing lady!
BooksNest by Beth is another beautiful blog filled with amazing content for YA fans. Beth covers some of the trickiest issues facing tweens and teens and talks up books on those subjects too. A fine example of the way a book blog should be written to engage with a core audience who are wired into all different types of social media and content, but written with a whomping great bit dose of soul too.
ChildTastic Books is another beltingly good read, not just because of their amazing book reviews but the other articles they write about, making tons of interesting posts that will give kids (and their parents) the perfect jumping in point for more research on a wealth of different subjects. Again so brilliantly written.
Jake over at https://tygertale.com has the sort of blog I personally envy a great deal. One where posts may be few and far between, but are written with such a clarity of vision and such a deep understanding of the importance - and the splendour - of children's books that we're always in awe of what he writes. If we were going to carry on blogging at all, we'd definitely be taking a leaf from Jake's book.
And a blog friend who we've followed and who has been there as long as we have, the awesome Catherine over at StorySnug who still writes one of the best blogs out there.
There are so many more we could list - so many! As we said, you are truly spoilt for choice now.
We've also noticed the marked rise in attention that kidlit is getting in the entertainment and media sector of the press - at flipping last. It feels like there's still a long way to go, the coverage of children's books is still a way off where we'd like to see it, and I know that a lot of authors, illustrators and publishers would like to see 'mainstream' pay as much attention to children's books as it does to adult books, but you're spoilt for choice for where you get your book news from. It feels like children's books (particularly non-fiction books which were in a bit of a wasteland when we first started out) are being taken more seriously by everyone, and that can only be a good thing. Still progress to be made though. Will that ever change?
Twitter is a good place to find awesome book folk to connect with too, and once you start to look around at the different approaches people take with their love of books, you'll find so much awesome coverage out there - and lots of inspiration if you too are beginning your own book blogging / book loving journey with your kids. We'll still be on there of course - and you know we'll still like and retweet cool book stuff and talk about any books that we get sent (assuming we don't get dropped by all the PRs and publishers overnight! Even if we do, we'll still be talking about stuff we purchase ourselves). A lifelong love of books of all shapes and sizes doesn't disappear overnight, even if a book blog does so do keep following us on Twitter (@readitdaddy) because we will still be talking about books and book-related stuff there.
After ten years there are so many people we'd like to thank - So many hard working PRs who slog their guts out for their publishers, agents, authors and illustrators, booksellers and other book bloggers promoting fantastic books and bringing them to our attention every single day. You know who you are and you are without doubt the unsung heroes of the industry and deserve our most heartfelt thanks. The creatives, the all important engine under the hood of the children's publishing industry. Not just the authors and illustrrators but book designers and content creators, editors, translators and proofreaders who can take a few rough sketches or plots and encourage the most beautiful work out of the authors and illustrators they work with.
We'd also like to thank all the authors and illustrators who've engaged with us over the years, the wonderful ones we've met too who have been so kind to us, and inspired my daughter to love books even more, and in particular those who've taken the time to write us an email telling us how much they like what we've written about their books.
Thanks to my ever-patient wife, whose idea this was really, who supported the blog in her own quiet measured way, doing a wonderful job of instilling a love of reading in our daughter (and ensuring that she read a hugely varied collection of different genres and subjects, not just the stuff "daddy" likes).
And a huge thanks to my daughter C, whose opinions fuelled this blog, inspired me to write it and whose love of reading kept us going for ten years and will keep us reading forevermore.
We're leaving the blog in place. It would be crazy to delete it, instantly and swiftly removing ten years of work - and we're also still going to be kicking around on Twitter as we said, though perhaps not as frequently as before. But one day, you never know, you might get another notification email in your inbox as we can't resist the lure of covering a new book - or a tweet about beautiful books we've been sent or have bought.
For now the daily coverage will cease and we'll miss being in the loop, even in the small way we've been involved in kidlit. But as the strapline to this article says, all good things must come to an end.
With all our very best and thank you so much for reading us, befriending us, and treating us so well over the years.
Ali, Phil & C @ ReadItDaddy, signing off...
Blog Facts and stats
Blog lifespan - Ten years (12th August 2010 to 12th August 2020)
Number of articles: ~ 5000+ (as new ones are still being added at the time of writing)
Amount of time spent reviewing: 1666.66 hours (roughly - averaging out 20 mins of writing per review)
Number of unique hits on the blog: 1.928,101
Number of (legitimate non-spammy) comments: 850
Number of blog followers: 58
Number of Twitter followers: 9224
Most popular article / review: The Man with the Violin by Katy Stinson and Dusan Petricic (Annick Press) (1860 unique hits)
Most popular region for blog readers: US (1), Alaska (2), UK (3), Russia (4)