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Children's books reviewed for grownups.



When I first started writing this blog in 2008, I called it Pink Me. I didn't know what to title it, so I named it after the color of my hair. Ehh, sometimes you punt.

But six years and 770 blog posts later, it's time for a more meaningful name (or rather, a name with any meaning at all), and Unadulterated is it. I like it. It means pure and undiluted, and Pink Me has always been reviews and very little else. It's also a dumb pun. As in... I review un-adult books?

What is more, I've been working in the public library for more than a decade now, and reading and reviewing kids' and teen fiction for almost as long. I have formed opinions. UNADULTERATED is they.

Unadulterated is the steely glint I get in my eye when I start a new teen sci-fi novel and all the girls in it are healers and babysitters. Unadulterated is the ribbon of resolve that threads through my spine when I meet a parent who insists that his child only select books that are "challenging" or "not junk." My belief in the ability of pleasure reading to improve skills and enrich lives is - say it with me - UNADULTERATED.

What is me?
My name is Paula Willey. I'm a librarian in Baltimore, Maryland. I've helped set up school libraries, I speak to groups on children's and teen fiction, I can occasionally be heard on Maryland's NPR station, WYPR. I volunteer for the family reading program at the county detention center. I write lots and lots of reviews of books for children and teens. You may have seen my byline in School Library Journal or online at Booklist: I do a fair amount of freelance writing too. I write about crafts (I have a very complicated relationship with crafts) and cooking with kids and about how to use different kinds of books to support a child's habits and skills.

I started reviewing books online so that I could remember which ones were worth buying when my library budgets came in; so that I could remember which ones were worth recommending to the kids and parents who come into my libraries; and so that I could remember Oh, what was that one? with the penguin? and the tantrum?

I can be reached at the email address above. I welcome review copies of new books - fiction, nonfiction, picture books, middle grade and teen - but I tend only to post reviews of stuff I can recommend. Nobody comes over here to hear about mediocre books. You might also want to know that if it's science, science fiction, a graphic novel, a picture book, or if it's about children of color, I am more likely to get to it.

Lastly, to paraphrase Crash Davis, the last likeable character Kevin Costner ever played:

I believe in the word, the picture, the rhyme, the cover of a children's book, the illustrated endpaper, nonfiction, illustrated poetry, I believe that the novels of Susan Cooper are sheer, unadulterated genius. I believe more middle grade chapter books should feature nonwhite main characters. I believe there ought to be a constitutional amendment outlawing celebrity-penned picture books and the unreliable narrator (I'm lying about that). I believe in the audio book, teen romance fiction that is not about vampires, opening your presents Christmas morning rather than Christmas Eve and I believe in reading for pleasure to, with, and around children.