I am a military spouse so we travel — a lot. Before I started my business, I found myself on the small island of Okinawa, Japan. I had an engineering degree in my back pocket (that I worked incredibly hard to earn) and no way to implement any of the skills I learned through college. I was a new mother who was scared and afraid of messing everything up when it came to teaching my daughter everything about life. I wanted to start a business, I wanted to teach people *something* and I wanted to be a better mother.
I was in the library with my daughter (a place we frequented in Japan; it was a short walk and a place she could run around freely and I could sit and explore books). I always had a love of literature. It was in one moment there in the library something interesting clicked for me. I loved analyzing, digging deep into things, researching, exploring. Children’s literature, though on the surface very basic and simplistic, had so much meaning and depth.
Using my analytical mind, I found myself pulling incredible concepts out of these books with my daughter, connecting in a way I never thought I would to books meant for children. In my head, I was categorizing books by topic: “Okay, this one can teach her about love. This one is great for art appreciation …” and so on.
I don’t remember when exactly, but I knew I loved writing (I hobby blogged off and on for years) and I wanted to create a resource, very much for myself but also for my fellow parents, of these amazing children’s books and all the value they held.
I started my blog, Addison Reads, in August 2016. Shortly after that, I decided to encapsulate everything I knew about curating children’s books through my own experiences and research into my book, The Intentional Bookshelf. Since then, I have created a true brand, business and community out of my passion for children’s literature.
While I now hold an amazing engineering job, I have my business, which still feeds off of my very scientific, critical and thoughtful mind.
As I mentioned, I am a military spouse. My husband and I are high school sweethearts and have been passionately motivating each other since 2007! Our daughter, Addison, is an amazingly sweet and kind toddler.
The biggest challenge I have faced is myself — which is a weird thing to say. I am an introvert, but when I write, I write with such passion and enthusiasm. I have such a love for my business and what I do, but I am always so afraid of talking about it out loud that I sometimes limit my ability to grow.
My business branched from my desire to be an intentional and present parent, one who was less stressed all the time and one who created an arsenal of resources to make my life easier. The more I learn in my motherhood, the more I can add to my business.
Spend the time to really figure out what you’re good at, what you WANT to tell people and what your “why” is. Then, anytime you make something new, you’ll know that if it doesn’t align with those things, it’s not worth pursuing (it’s easy to get distracted by what you *could* do).
Similar to business, remember what you want to teach your children. Everyone will have advice for you, but as long as you stay consistent with what you want for your family, you can pick and choose which advice to listen to and what should be ignored.
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Samantha Munoz is a mother, wife, engineer, bibliophile and avid coffee drinker. She is also the expert kid’s lit curator at Addison Reads and author of The Intentional Bookshelf. Sam helps parents as they search for the perfect books for their little ones and helps moms and dads build a library with a purpose. Once a seriously overwhelmed and stressed-out parent herself, Sam turns to children’s literature for the answers to all of her parenting dilemmas. She loves when it rains because it gives her an excuse to stay inside and read with her daughter! Get her master book list – a free resource for parents with book recommendations in more than 25 different categories – here, and follow her on Instagram and Facebook.
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