The Children’s Book Review
Published: August 17, 2013
Lalitha is a youth services & community college librarian living in Southern California with her husband and their two boys. She decided to start a blog, Masala Reader, which would contribute to ongoing dialogue about multicultural literature for children and young adults.
Lalitha is a strong advocate of professional development, and tries to stay active in ALA by serving on committees such as YALSA’s Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers and ALA Feminist Task Force’s Amelia Bloomer Project. She also reviews middle grade and young adult books, as well as apps for School Library Journal. In her spare time, she loves spending time with family, reading, listening to live indie music (Coachella!), playing board games, and meeting new people. We are so thankful that she found some spare time to answer our On the Shelf questions. This librarian/mommy blogger has pizazz!
Bianca Schulze: Why did you choose to be a librarian?
Lalitha: While my career path was somewhat of a surprise, I fell into librarianship while working as a library assistant at university library. I’ve always had a deep, abiding love of libraries. All of my best memories of growing up prominently feature the library. I think there is also something incredibly empowering about being able to connect people to books and information.
BS: Librarians are the ultimate evangelists for reading. How do you encourage students and children to read?
L: What it really comes down to is connecting children to the right book for them. I try to talk to children and their parents and determine their recreational interests—this information helps me suggest what I hope will be good books. I also like to give away free books to families—I have a personal stockpile from committee work and conferences through the American Library Association. Additionally, I also collaborate with our Teen Services Librarian on a quarterly readers’ advisory program called “Burritos and Books,” where we ply teens with burritos and booktalk at least 30 books. At the end of the program, each teen walks away with a book to keep in their personal library.
L: The most popular kids’ book, without a doubt, is Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Perhaps, more than just the appealing graphic format, Greg Heffley is a very engaging…maybe because he’s not so nice. Schadenfreude for the the elementary set, I think. 🙂
BS: Which new releases are you dying to lay your hands on?
L: I am incredibly excited to read Kate DiCamillo’s Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures (middle-grade – Fall 2013), and Rainbow Rowell’s Landline (adult fiction – Spring 2014)
BS: Could you tell us one thing about librarians or libraries that you think would be surprising?
L: Despite our reputations as mild-mannered, many of us know how to throw a great party and cut a rug on the dance floor.
L: I would want to be Claudia Kincaid (From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg) – who wouldn’t want to have nighttime adventures in the Met?!
Want more Lalitha? Visit:
Masala Reader: Celebrating children’s and young adult multicultural literature: http://masalareader.wordpress.com