Book Blogger Friday with Allison from Allison’s Book Bag


Welcome to Book Blogger Friday!

This is the day of the week that we take the opportunity to meet a book blogger – Allison from Allison’s Book Bag. Remember, book bloggers are uber book fans – we love promoting books! Take a few minutes and drop by Allison’s blog and say hi! Make some bloggy friends!

Screen shot 2013-02-21 at 7.24.42 PM

RPC – Introduce yourself….

Allison – Originally from Newfoundland, I moved to the Midwest for work and love. As a part-time resource teacher, I teach reading and writing in the elementary grades and host a story-writing club. I have written a monthly online column, a series of pet shelter-themed plays, and two published fantasies. These days, besides posting to my blog, I enjoy interviewing locals for articles and revising a novel I drafted during National Novel Writing Month. My husband faithfully edits my writing, including all my reviews, and even sometimes posts his own contributions to my blog. Our pets once used to listen to my stories, but are no longer able to keep up with my output. However, they still like to hang around when I write and my cat even contributes by sitting on my keyboard.

RPC – Introduce your blog….

AllisonAllison’s Book Bag is dedicated to reviewing books for young people. This includes picture books, chapter books, middle-grade books, and young adult books. It includes mostly fiction and nonfiction. I will review nonfiction, if about an area for which I have some knowledge. Normally, I do not review poetry or essay collections.

RPC – Do you see yourself as a voracious reader?

Allison – I love to read! Once that included children’s anthologies, encyclopedias, and even cereal boxes. Eventually, I settled to reading mostly novels. Since starting my blog, I almost exclusively read books for young people. Both as a child and as an adult, one room in my home has been dedicated to books. Nowadays, there is even an overflow of boxes in the basement. So many books, so little time! My idea of the perfect living location would be next to the library. Heck, I’d love just to live in a book store.

RPC – How long have you been blogging?

Allison – Almost three years. (Whew, I managed to write a short answer!)

RPC – What made you decide to start book blogging?

Allison – One spring break, I carted home several books to read from my school’s library. My husband suggested, “You should start a blog of children’s book reviews. You’re always reading children’s books anyway. You might as well review them.” And so Allison’s Book Bag began!

RPC – What genre(s) does your blog focus on?

Allison – I read any genre. However, I tend to most like realistic, nature, and fantasy. While I enjoy science fiction and paranormal, these are the genres where I have also disliked many offerings.

RPC – Have your reading tastes changed since you started your blog?

Allison – Yes. When I first started, I was selecting books based on two factors. One, if a book appealed to me, I read it. Two, if I thought my students would like a book, I read it. Eventually, as part of trying to broaden my audience for my blog, I started paying attention to popular children’s and young adult books or to those being listed in GoodReads’ groups for those ages. For a while, these three interests meshed. Then all kinds of other influences started to affect my decisions: I’d love if my readers were exposed to the best of writers from my home province of Newfoundland; the majority of my reluctant readers tend to be boys, so I started looking for books that might appeal to them; I heard Grace Lin talk about multicultural books, which led me to conduct a survey to see how multicultural books fared as Golden Sower winners. As you can see, my blog is organic.

RPC – Do you post reviews on your blog?

Allison – Initially, I posted ONLY reviews. After the first year, I added interviews and guest posts. Then as a promotional tool, I started writing daily biographical teasers. Most recently, I have started participating in Memes. However, my focus will always be reviews. After all, that’s why I started Allison’s Book Bag!

RPC – How many review requests do you get each month on average?

Allison – I probably receive about five. Half of those I accept. That said, these statistics are misleading, because the requests come in waves. I might have a month where I don’t receive any requests and then a month where I receive ten.

RPC – Do you have a Review Policy?

Allison – Yes, I do!
It’ll soon be updated to include a schedule for when I’ll post reviews that have been requested. This schedule will allow me to read a balance of books that are my choice and books that others have asked me to read.

RPC – Do you review Indie or Small Pub books?

Allison – I don’t review Indie books, unless I personally know the author. The majority of the books which I have reviewed in the past have been Small Pub books. However, I’m moving towards accepting books from Small Publishers only if the book fits my special interests: books featuring male leads, books representing other cultures or regions, Christian books, etc.

RPC – Do you host guest posts or interviews?

Allison – Absolutely yes! Whenever possible, I combine a review with at least one of these.

RPC – What information do you require when an author approaches you?

Allison – I’m most likely to accept requests when an author provides me with a synopsis of their book, and describes the intended audience and the genre.

RPC – How can we stalk you?

AllisonAllison’s Book Bag:
I also cross-post reviews at Amazon, Book Blogs, GoodReads, Jacketflap, and Networked Blogs.


We’d like to thank Allison for dropping by and sharing about her blog! Now it is your turn – drop by her blog and say hi!