Get To Know Tibby, Zoobean Curator

Tibby, a curator from the Bay Area, was born to love books.  Seriously.  Her parents named her after a nickname from a children’s book!  Anyone remember the Betsy, Tacy, and Tib” books?  There you have it.  Even stranger, Tibby’s best friend from high school is the granddaughter of the illustrator of the series.  Now, that is someone almost born with a book in her hand!  Tibby is a former teacher and children’s librarian, currently staying home to spend time with her little one.  She is a dynamic member of our curator community, and we’re thrilled to have her!  Let the questions begin, and if you have more questions, leave comments or visit us @zoobeanforkids!

Jordan: Why do you love books, and what do you think makes you an awesome Zoobean curator?

Tibby:  My background in children’s books started when I was very young. Not only was my mom a librarian that dealt with the children’s literature section of her library, she was also an avid children’s book collector. I was exposed to A LOT of books as a child! When I graduated from college, my first job was as an assistant in a second grade classroom and I drew on my memories of books from when I was young to bring good stories and books those kids and discovered a lot of newer books too. I guess when I curate I like to bring my knowledge of older (e.g. published more than 10 years ago) children’s literature to the catalog.

Jordan: Tell me about the importance of curators when it comes to children’s books. Is it difficult for readers, parents, and loved ones to discover books on their own for kids?  

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Tibby: I do a lot of shopping for books online, and it can be difficult to know if a new book is of good quality. It’s also difficult to know what’s available, especially if you are looking for a specific topic. I like personal recommendations for books and if I’m going to spend $15 on a new book I want to be sure it’s going to be worthwhile.

Jordan: How do you know when a book is right for Zoobean families? Or, what makes a book a Zoobean loved book?

Tibby: I think the important thing about Zoobean is that it brings quality books (illustrations, writing, vocabulary, complexity, high interest, and more) to parents. Those things can be hard to find in physical bookstores, which often have very limited selections, or online, where you can’t flip through the book. If a book has those qualities, qualities I look for when selecting books for our home library, then I know it’s the right fit for Zoobean too.

Jordan: What is your favorite Zoobean book that you’ve curated so far?  

Tibby: A Visit to the Children’s Zoo. Unfortunately it’s out of print and only available as a used book, but if you can find it, it’s so worth it. I have really intense memories of being in love with this book as a child. The zoo the children visit in the book has the most interesting exhibits—rabbits you can pet!—and they were allowed wander through all by themselves. It just always felt so cozy to me, and I read it over and over again.

Jordan:  You ordered your own Zoobean subscription for your child.  Why?

Tibby: I’m prone to not buying new books because I never know if we’ll like them. I tend to buy books in thrift shops or used bookstores where I can thumb through them and not feel bad if I don’t end up loving it because they cost less than a dollar. Our Zoobean subscription puts a new book into our collection every month that I can be sure is worth the money. Plus, who doesn’t love getting books in the mail?

Jordan: What is your favorite thing about reading with your children?

Tibby: Hands down watching the wonder on my daughter’s face as I introduce her to books I loved as a little girl and seeing her light up at the same things that caught my attention. We still own a lot of books from my childhood and it can feel like my childhood self sharing something with her. It feels timeless.

Jordan: How do you help your own child (or loved ones) develop a lifelong love of reading?

Tibby: Having her see that I love reading. I read to her all the time and to myself and out loud. I think modeling that love, more than anything, will instill it in her.

Jordan: What is your favorite season and why?

Tibby: Fall has been my favorite season (probably because I love orange and my birthday is in October), but I’ve noticed in the past few years as I started gardening that the changing of seasons is more exciting than any one season. Spring is all new growth and excitement and getting back into the garden. Summer is all about sitting back and watching the fruits of your labor explode. Fall is all about the last gasp of the garden, cleaning it up, harvesting what’s left, and preparation for winter. Fall is also bittersweet in that respect. Winter is all about taking a break and planning for the spring. And then it starts all over again.