Meet Barb Langridge

Hi! Thanks for visiting A Book and a Hug. I’m glad you are here, and I hope that our site gives you tools to help you create readers in your neck of the woods. If you ever have a question or a comment or you want us to add a book to the website, please send us an email.

I started A Book and a Hug back in 2008 as a way of helping children find books they love.  In this day and age children are growing up to be “digital natives” and they have a lot of choices via technology about how to spend their time.  It’s so important that we empower them to become “reading natives” at the same time.  To succeed in creating “reading natives” it’s important that we connect young readers with books they instantly experience as being “good books.”  If they only see books that are assigned at school and those books do not interest them, they may come to see reading as a subject assigned in the classroom rather than something as exciting and fun as the next video game they are planning to play.

I worked at an independent children’s bookstore for about nine years, followed by a 12 1/2 year career as a Children’s Instructor and Research Specialist in a public library in Maryland. In those years I became puzzled by something I saw again and again: not every child loved every book. No matter how amazing a book was, six of ten children might say yes to the book, and four might say no. What made the children decide to read it or not to read it?

It’s important to look at how someone chooses a book.  Usually you open the cover and read the inside flap or maybe you flip the book over and read the blurb.  Something about what is on that flap or in that blurb is going to appeal to you …. or not appeal to you.  When it clicks for you, you decide to give that one a try.

Well, given the short amount of time we have to help our young readers find those books that click in this world of tempting technology, wouldn’t it be great if we could show readers a whole shelf of books that are just right for them?  Wouldn’t it be great if they looked at the books in front of them and read the blurbs and said, “Wow, these look great.  They’re just what I was looking for?”

The magic happens when the  characteristics of the reader match the characteristics of the story. It’s like making a new friend.  Some people click with you and some don’t.  You like people but some of them are just “your kind of people.”  It’s the same with books. We are working to make reading a place where children enter into the amazing state of “flow”— the optimal experience— as explained by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.

With that realization, I created the Reader Personality Types that are in use on the site today. I also met some wonderful librarians (both online and in person) that have helped to recommend and tag thousands and thousands of books. We are a team stretching across the U.S. and beyond to librarians in schools around the world that is dedicated to reading the books the dedicated publishing industry is creating for us, sifting through them and bringing them to this website where the best of the best can be discovered and shared.

Does this mean we want children to only read books in their Reader Personality Type?  No, not at all.  We are striving to be a portal that will invite children into the world of reading through their Reader Personality Type.  That’s where they discover they like to read.  Their choices can spread far and wide…but we do need to get them INTO  the world of reading so as they grow up, they will keep reading and try different types of stories.  If they have decided early on that reading is boring or if sadly, they never met a book they liked, then they aren’t going to be reading far and wide or anything else.  They simply decide they are not readers.

Our goal is to help every reader discover the books that are the “good ones.”   We hope you will join our team and we welcome you to our quest.

Watch Barb on Books Alive!

Books Alive! with Alex London

Talented and hilarious writer of the Accidental Adventures series, the historically based Dog Tag series and his latest sci-fi thriller, Proxy.

See Barb on TV!