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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 was time for a more meaningful name (or rather, a name with any meaning at all), and Unadulterated was 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 have volunteered for the family reading program at the county detention center and currently work with incarcerated juveniles. I have written lots and lots of reviews of books for children and teens. You may have seen my byline in School Library Journal or the Baltimore Sun, 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 horror (that relationship is not complicated at all) 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.