Q&A with Our Youngest Book Reviewers

Bas Bleu‘s annual Book a Month packages deliver a year’s worth of wonderful reads to your door; simply choose from Bluestocking (a mix of fiction and nonfiction), Life Stories (biographies, memoirs, and histories), or Mysteries (whodunits, thrillers, and cozies). This year, we introduced a fourth package: Young Readers, for budding bibliophiles ages 9-12. To make sure we were choosing books that kids actually want to read, we recruited two young readers from the extended Bas Bleu family. Caroline (age 13) and Eliza (age 11) both contributed reviews to our Young Readers package. Recently, we sat down with them to get their opinions on books, the joy of reading, and life in general. Continue reading

Because Every Day Should Be International Literacy Day

IntlLiteracyDay2015Yep, we missed it.

Tuesday, September 8, was International Literacy Day, but we’ve been so hard at work on Bas Bleu’s upcoming Holiday catalog that the occasion just whizzed right by. We felt guilty at first, but then we thought about it: Why should there only be one day “officially” devoted to advancing the cause of literacy around the world? That’s a cause worth fighting for 365 days a year! Continue reading

Bluestockings With a Cause

globe and booksThe ability to read, to access reading materials, and to process what we read is essential to our day-to-day lives, not just as bluestockings but as productive citizens. And yet for too many people in the world, these things we take for granted—literacy, access to books, and affordable education—are rare luxuries. Fortunately, because book people are awesome people, there are a number of organizations out there striving to bring literacy and books to those who need them most.

This week in the Bluestocking Salon, Bas Bleu decided it was high time to give credit where credit is due to some of the hardest-working people in the book world. We’ve pinpointed five book-based organizations whose work, whether at home or abroad, is doing great things for people—particularly young people—and communities in need. Because if there’s one thing we can all (hopefully!) agree on, it’s that literate, educated children are our greatest hope for the future. Continue reading

Bookish Babies

Little BookwormHere at Bas Bleu we’re happily awaiting the arrival of a new baby bluestocking, and the impending delivery reminded us: It’s never too early to share our love of books with our children—no matter how young they are!

Baby Names
Like a parent’s love, your child’s moniker will be one of the few things in life he or she cannot escape. It will precede its bearer into school, a job, even relationships, often serving as the very first impression that person makes. Family names are swell (we have more than a few in our office), but we’re also partial to those who owe their staying power to a really great book. Continue reading

Tournament of Classics 2014

Happy birthday, Bluestocking Salon! You’re one year old today. (They grow up so fast, don’t they?) Some of you may remember we launched this blog in 2013 with Bas Bleu’s Tournament of Classics, a literary take on the NCAA’s annual March Madness extravaganza. The result was a battle royale so intense that, in honor of the Bluestocking Salon’s big 0-1, we decided to play again!

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Last-Minute Gift Ideas

Last week the Atlantic calculated the cost of gifting your loved ones with every single golden ring, maid a-milking, and partridge in a pear tree demanded by the classic “Twelve Days of Christmas.” The price tag for such lavish generosity? A gasp-inducing $114,651.18!

If your budget—and the limits of your gift recipients’ good humor—don’t allow you to pony up quite so big, we’ve put together a handy last-minute gift guide to help you select the perfect present for everyone on your shopping list. Continue reading

Make Your Own Bookish Advent Calendar

Last December, one of our reviewers popped in at her neighbors’ home to discover a delightful surprise. The family of four was counting down the days to Christmas with a unique take on the traditional Advent calendar—one made entirely of books!

Inspired by a concept they spied online, the parents wrapped up twenty-four holiday-themed children’s books, numbered each, and arranged them on a shelf in their living room. Every night in December, sons Henry and Simon unwrapped the package corresponding with that day’s date, then the family sat down together to read their new book before bedtime.

Advent Calendar

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A Bookish Halloween

Harold-FamilyOctober is here, ushering in cool, crisp air, shorter days and longer nights, and—perhaps most important—the countdown to Halloween! Whether you’re crafting costumes for kids or decking yourself out to beg candy from charitable strangers, we thought you might appreciate these book-inspired costume suggestions. Most of these ensembles can be made at home for not-so-much money, though several do require some skill with a needle and thread. Continue reading

Art Imitating Life

Lucky-DucklingsBaby animals are adorable. Crazy adorable. We know it and you know it, so there’s really no point in denying it. Just like there’s no denying those YouTube videos we’ve all surreptitiously watched, probably while we’re supposed to be working. The kitten playing with a baby hedgehog? Seen it. Puppies chasing laser pointers? Watched it on repeat. Animal moms adopting animal babies of a different species? We cry every dang time.

That said, you shouldn’t be surprised that we bluestockings really love books about baby animals, especially when those books are based on real-life critters. Continue reading

The Right to Read

CatcherHere at Bas Bleu, a banned-books list is more commonly known as a “to-be-read-immediately” list. Call it a remnant of teenaged rebellion, that phase in which we swiped our mother’s copy of Peyton Place or had our young minds blown by The Catcher in the Rye. Perhaps it’s borne of a democratic aversion to censorship. Or maybe it’s even simpler than that: We read controversial books because they often have the most to teach us. Continue reading