Q&A w/ Samantha Muñoz of The Intentional Book Shelf

Q&A w/ Samantha Munoz of The Intentional Book Club

Samantha Muñoz

When did this passion for children literature start?

I have always been a bit of a bookworm myself – books have been an escape through some of the most difficult and taxing times of my life. However, my love for children’s literature began after I gave birth to my daughter, Addison, and we started reading all the time. I found children’s books to be simply insightful – explaining some of the most complex concepts to children in such an understandable, relatable way. I was intrigued by the idea that these books could be so subtly deep, teaching life’s important lessons between the lines.
So, I started a blog where I dove into the depths of children’s literature pulling out the insightful lessons and uncovering the hidden truths.

What inspired you to start the Intentional Book Club?

I’ve gone on quite the journey to land on the creation of The Intentional Book Club, but when I look back the path seems so clear. When I started my blog, it was for me. It was a way to categorize the books we read together, to pull out those lessons and organize them so when we ran into a need for a book in the future, I would know which book would fit the “job” so to speak. As I wrote more book reviews, however, I noticed there was a uniqueness to my method
of curating these books – of finding the right ones for our home library. I wanted a way to explain this method to other people and a blog post just seemed to short. So, I decided to write my book, The Intentional Bookshelf. In the book, I explain the entire method of curating your home library to include books that relate to your family’s unique values, interests and life. After I wrote the book, I began to receive questions from parents about how they were convinced that an Intentional Bookshelf was what they wanted – but they had no idea what books to get (like, specific book titles). My educational and professional background is in engineering and software development, so I put that mind to work to think about how I could help the most parents find their next favorite book, cultivate a community of families with a similar mindset (present, intentional) and do more with their books. Thus, the Intentional Book Club was born – a place that tells you what books to buy or read based on your unique intentional bookshelf goals, a place to meet other families who get it, encourage your children to
read through achievements, and inspiration about how to get more out of the books you own to uncover those deeper lessons.

As mothers, less is more. So tell me, how can this save us time when purchasing books for the kiddos?

One of the most helpful aspects of The Intentional Book Club is the curated book recommendations. After you define your desired values, interests, life situations and book types – the system does the work of finding what books would make sense on your bookshelf. My goal is to make it so parents don’t feel like they need to search for hours on google or polling their friends about the best books for certain topics – they simply open up their phone or computer, head to the Club and check out the books that are recommended in the topics most important to them. Also, as a mother to a feisty, energy-filled two-year- old myself, time saving is high on my list of priorities. Because The Club tells you what specific book titles would work for your home library, you don’t have to go to the bookstore or library and search around the thousands of book options to find that perfect book…you know exactly what you’re looking for. This saves everyone’s sanity!

What are the values that you focus on in your family’s library?

Some of our most important family values include: kindness, honesty, silliness, female empowerment / gender equality and empathy! Most of our books tie back to these things in one way or another, because we are dead set focused on them at the moment.

What are your 3 personal favorite books and what are 3 of your
favorite books for your children?

My 3 personal favorite books are: Just Listen by Sarah Dessen, the Harry Potter Series (but of course!) by JK Rowling, and The Crossroads of Should and Must by Elle Luna.
Our family’s favorite children’s books include: Be a Star Wonder Woman by Michael Dahl, Please Mr. Panda by Steve Antony and The Little Blue Truck by Alice Shertle.

What age range does the intentional book club serve for children?

The Club includes book recommendations and activities for all ranges of children’s books – to include board book, picture books and middle grade books. However, I think the club best serves families with children ranging from 0 – 13.

Personal question real quick, lol, at what age do you feel the 4th Harry
Potter book would be appropriate for a child to read?

It’s so ironic that you asked me that, as I am re-reading it now! The later books in the series certainly contain more difficult language and more graphic encounters (I like to think the books age well with your children actually). I think the book is a good fit for children around 11 or 12 (or older!).

What has been the most rewarding testimony from helping a mom be
more intentional with their family’s bookshelf?

One of my favorite things to hear from parents who have just learned about the concept of The Intentional Bookshelf is that they feel empowered to teach their children – that they look at books in a different way and that they feel closer to their kids as a result of reading better, more purposeful books to them.

What do you hope moms gain from joining this club?

My biggest hope is that moms and dads and their families start to grow a true love of reading and looking for answers to life’s dilemmas in literature (because this is really something that will stay with them forever, I always search in a book for answers or understanding through some of my toughest challenges).
I want families to feel empowered by their bookshelf, and know that what they read is reinforcing the most important values. That the time they spend together is focused, present and purposeful. That they can walk into a bookstore or library and know exactly what books to grab to do just that.
My hope is that parents see children’s literature as a gateway to not only a deeper
connection with their children, but a better understanding of who they are as people.

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