Kidsmomo is dedicated to motivating kids to read for pleasure.
When we’ve turned the last page in an amazing book, the first thing we do is go back to the beginning and start reading all over again. But the second thing we do is evangelize that book to as many people as possible. With books for adults, there are numerous sites that allow us to recommend a book to other adults. But we mostly read kids’ books and want to recommend the best ones to, well, kids. So we created Kidsmomo to share our individual book recommendations and musings directly with young readers (ages 8-13). And we’ve also included a way for kids to share their personal book recommendations and musings with each other.
We’re not trying to sell books or market particular brands. Our goal is to curate an online experience that motivates kids to read for pleasure and connect with peers around a shared enthusiasm for books. After all, that’s how kids interact with the TV shows and music that they love — and it shouldn’t be any different with books.
Research shows that children’s interest in pleasure reading starts to decline around the age of nine. At the heart of that research is that self-selection and variety are critical to engaging kids in reading and writing. So we’ve developed an editorial structure that conveys the breadth of good books ripe for the picking, with the aim of empowering children to feel excitement and ownership of their experience with books.
But ultimately, we’re communicating directly with kids as fellow readers — two people who just can’t shut up about how much they loooooooooooooooooooooove children’s books. And our mission is to get kids to join us in that mania: we’re the cult of Kidsmomo, and we want to indoctrinate children with a fervor for books.
Nancy Tsai and Karen Wang have over three decades combined experience in K-12 educational technology and children’s ebooks. Karen and Nancy worked together at Scholastic and Amplify Education, and Nancy additionally worked in Kids & Teen books at Barnes & Noble.com. Currently, Nancy is Associate Director of Product Management at Amplify (including supporting Amplify ELA’s digital library) and Karen is pursuing a Master of Library and Information Science at Pratt Institute in order to be a youth services librarian.
Karen and Nancy also have related experience through a variety of internships and volunteer opportunities: Nancy formerly worked for Los Angeles Family Magazine and has volunteered with youth at a local community center through New York Cares. Karen previously interned at the Library of Congress Young Readers Center, Diverse BookFinder, Parenting Magazine, Family Life Magazine, and Tricycle Press (the children’s book imprint of Ten Speed Press), and she currently volunteers with Brooklyn Public Library and the nonprofit Housing Works Used Bookstore. In addition, Karen has served as a judge for the American Library in Paris Young Authors Fiction Festival, and both Karen and Nancy have served as judges for the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers’ annual student writing awards and the Do Something Awards, and they have volunteered their time at Do Something’s Social Action Boot Camp in New York.
(Please note that all views expressed by Nancy Tsai and Karen Wang on Kidsmomo are solely those of Nancy and Karen as individuals and should not be taken to reflect or represent the views of our employers or institutions.)
On a Personal Note…
I’ve always been inspired by children’s books. My parents report that I wrote my first story at the age of 2. I dictated it to my mom, who dutifully played the role of stenographer, and it had something to do with Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz. A few years later, I devoured the Baby-Sitters Club books and penned my own version of the series about a group of girls who called themselves “the Wild Horses” (I can no longer recall what the Wild Horses actually did as a club; I have a feeling it was odd jobs, since I obviously couldn’t make them baby-sitters and apparently couldn’t figure out anything else for them to do). Now, decades later, I still can’t get enough of kids’ books!
I compulsively re-read: Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo, Secret Letters from 0 to 10 by Susie Morgenstern, Buffalo Brenda by Jill Pinkwater, Greenglass House by Kate Milford
All-time obsessions: The West Wing, SYTYCD, sushi — actually, food of any kind
One of my favorite memories growing up was listening to my 2nd grade student teacher read The Secret Garden out loud, complete with a variety of British accents. This was over the course of a school year, but of course, I read ahead. In my young age, I also founded the “Puppy Club”, which was essentially the Baby-Sitters Club. Minus the baby-sitting.
I have compulsively re-shelving my books once a month with a new organizational system — sometimes by author, by series, by style of the spine design, by publisher… since I was 9 years old.
I’d like to have in my reading circle: Frances Hodgson Burnett, Maurice Sendak, Judy Blume, Beverly Cleary, Harper Lee, Gene Luen Yang, and Jane Austen.
All-time obsessions: the Internet; science fiction movies; robots; and worrying about what would have happened to me if I didn’t live in the age of the Internet, science fiction movies, and especially robots.
If you have questions for Karen and Nancy as Kidsmomo founders, please feel free to contact us.