Happy Birthday to The Children’s Book Review!

This post is sponsored by The Children’s Book Review. Book links are Amazon referral links.

One of the things I love most about running this website is all of the wonderful people it has brought into my life. Bianca Schulze is one of those people, and her site, The Children’s Book Review, is one of the best resources for children’s literature on the internet. Bianca is also the author of a fantastic reference for parents, 101 Books to Read Before You Grow Up.

The Children's Book Review

TCBR is celebrating its 10th anniversary this month, and I am thrilled to be part of the celebration. Bianca was kind enough to talk to me a bit about who she is as a reader and what led her to start The Children’s Book Review:

Tell me a little bit about yourself as a child. What kind of reader were you? What books did you love? 

The truth is, as a child, I don’t think I ever considered myself a “reader.” However, when I look back, books were always in my life. We were very lucky and had plenty of books around our house: Fairy tale collections, Golden Books, books on tape and record, joke books, magic trick books, a set of encyclopedias, a giant Webster’s dictionary, and novels. One of my fondest memories of books is an unconventional interaction: building houses for Barbie out of Golden Books (complete with sliding doors). Since I now consider myself a reader, my mom, probably without knowing it, did all of the right things when it came to raising a reader:

  • She provided access to a variety of books in our house.
  • She took my sister and I to get library cards.
  • She allowed us to pick books of choice from the Scholastic Book Club catalog when it came home in our school backpacks.
  • She read to us.
  • She modeled reading by reading her own books often.
  • And, we were allowed to go the library with friends to get our homework done.

As for the books I loved throughout my childhood . . . are you ready for it? In no particular order, these are the 16 books or book series that float to the front of my mind:


What inspired you to start TCBR?

I was working as a children’s bookseller at an indie store in Washington, D.C. and I couldn’t stop talking about the amazing new books that would come in every week. I needed an outlet and TCBR was born. However, the ultimate answer to your question is passion!

  • Passion for children and there wide-open eyes and ready-to-learn minds
  • Passion for art
  • Passion for storytelling
  • Passion for creativity
  • Passion for seeing life from the perspective of another through a good book


Do you have an all-time favorite book?

The answer to this question varies from day-to-day.  Right now I would say that Katherine Paterson’s The Bridge to Terabithia had a profound and lasting affect on me. She trusted young readers to be able to cope with loss. She trusted readers to be brave. She trusted that we would see a rainbow after the storm.

What are your favorite books to read with kids?

Funny ones! Especially books that hit the spot in unexpected ways like the Charlie and Mouse books by Laurel Snyder—they are picture book/ early reader crossovers that connect with the reader through the relatable characters and their little nuances. I love hearing laughter from a child, especially my own, and Charlie and Mouse had my 6-year-old, 12-year-old, and I giggling.

I’m always interested in building a diverse multicultural library for my boys. What diverse books would you recommend?

Here’s a list of 15 amazing books (picture books through novels) with a diverse set of multicultural characters:

We’re celebrating the 10th anniversary of The Children’s Book Review with an AMAZING giveaway!

The Children's Book Review

Enter for a chance to win a special prize pack that will help a lucky reader create a fun kids reading nook—including a framed TCBR original print created by children’s author & illustrator Alexandra MacVean.

One (1) winner receives:

  • A framed and matted TCBR original “Growing Readers” print. Frame size: 12.25 X 12.25

  • A Black Stripe Teepee from Crate and Kids
  • A copy of 101 Books to Read Before You Grow Up, autographed by Bianca Schulze
  • A $20 Target gift card

Value: $291.95

Giveaway begins March 30, 2018, at 12:01 A.M. MT and ends April 30, 2018, at 11:59 P.M. MT.

Giveaway open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older.

Prizes provided by The Children’s Book Review

a Rafflecopter giveaway


The Children’s Book Review, named one of the ALSC (Association For Library Service To Children) Great Web Sites For Kids, is a resource devoted to children’s literature and literacy. TCBR publishes reviews and book lists of the best books for kids of all ages. TCBR also produces author and illustrator interviews and shares literacy based articles that help parents, grandparents, caregivers, teachers and librarians to grow readers. Bianca Schulze is the founder of TCBR and the bestselling author of 101 Books to Read Before You Grow Up (Walter Foster Jr. 2016), an Amazon “Best Book of the Month” in October 2016.


Crystal is an activist, feminist, and mom of three. She loves reading, crochet, and enjoying her family and friends. She lives with her family in Indianapolis.

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