But What to Read?
By Kelly Carey
In celebration of National Reading Month, I thought I’d share
the ways I add books to my KidLit reading wish list.
Publisher’s Weekly Newsletters
First, I use the free Publisher’s Weekly Newsletter to learn about new KidLit books. You can opt for a variety of different PW Newsletters that arrive in your email inbox daily or monthly, and cover everything from general publishing news to reviews of newly released children’s books. Those reviews are “want to read list” gold. These books are all newly published, hot off the press, and if they are in my genre, I want to read them. Check out this link and pick the PW Newsletter that works best for you: http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/email-subscriptions/.
A Kids Book A Day
I’m a big fan of Janet Hamilton’s blog, A Kid’s Book A Day. Janet is an elementary school librarian who reviews a recently published children’s book every day on her blog. You can sign up to receive her free daily blog emails. This blog is a great quick hit reminder to add current books to your reading list. Information on Janet’s blog can be found here: https://kidsbookaday.com/ .
ReFoReMo stands for Reading for Research Month and it coincides with National Reading Month in March. This great challenge produces blog posts from industry professionals who recommend picture book mentor texts and offer guided advice on how to learn from the best in KidLit books. ReFoReMo’s recommended reading list is always available, as are the blog posts. For more info on ReFoReMo check out the 24 Carrot Writing blog http://www.24carrotwriting.com/-blog/take-the-reforemo-challenge and http://www.reforemo.com/p/reforemo-mission.html.
Goodreads is a great online website that acts as your own virtual library. See the 24 Carrot Writing blog about the benefits of using Goodreads for cataloging the books you’ve read, and finding those comp titles you need http://www.24carrotwriting.com/-blog/use-goodreads-to-build-your-virtual-library. An added benefit of Goodreads is automatic email notification if authors of books in your Goodreads virtual library come out with new books. Goodreads also sends a monthly email newsletter that includes reviews of newly published books, a list of the Goodreads Best Books of the Month, and suggested reading lists from authors.Check out www.goodreads.com.
Around and About Recommendations
I keep a special “Want to Read” journal with me all the time. (Okay, truth. Sometimes I don’t have it on me so I have to resort to scribbling a book title on a scrap of paper. But eventually all these titles make it into the journal. They do. Really. I swear!)This journal helps me track books I hear about when chatting with other writers, when taking workshops, while strolling through the library or my favorite books store.
There are more books to read then space in my journal. And I wouldn’t want it any other way. The industry newsletters, targeted blogs, and websites are a way to make sure the best books bubble up to the top of my “Want to Read” list.
Refreshed Reading Lists
by Francine Puckly
One of my favorite takeaways from the SCBWI Winter Conference in New York City each year is a refreshed reading list. Tying into Annie’s blog last week (March into National Reading Month) and the celebration of National Reading Month regardless of age, here are some young adult fiction and craft books being discussed by agents, editors and fellow writers at the conference. Select a couple titles to add to your reading list!
Young Adult Fiction Highlights:
All the Truth That’s in Me by Julie Berry
The Passion of Dolssa by Julie Berry
The Dark Days Pact by Alison Goodman
The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman
Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
The Smell of Other People's Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock
Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman
Chime by Franny Billingsley
Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy
Caraval by Stephanie Garber
American Girls by Alison Umminger
If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo
Graceling by Kristin Cashore
I Capture the Castle by J.D. Salinger
Wonderful Feels Like This by Sara Lövestam
Aftercare Instructions by Bonnie Pipkin
Dear Reader by Mary O’Connell
The Skin I’m In by Sharon G. Flake
Tonight the Streets Are Ours by Leila Sales
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
Books with a Craft Focus:
The Magic Words: Writing Great Books for Children and Young Adults by Cheryl Klein
Dear Genius: The Letters of Ursula Nordstrom
Edit Yourself: A Manual for Everyone Who Works with Words by Bruce Ross-Larson
The Hero Is You by Kendra Levin
Books in the Category of “Why not?”:
The Man Who Invented Christmas: How Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol Rescued His Career and Revived Our Holiday Spirits by Les Standiford
The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe
None of these books casts a spark for you? Fear not! Generate your own list. Chat up your local librarian and bookstore salesperson or ask critique group members and friends for suggestions. I’ve asked complete strangers about the books they’re reading. My experience has been that people who love books love to share their thoughts about books! So whether the coming days are rainy and dreary and you’re curled up on a couch or the first warmth of spring beckons you to a park bench, take along a new story.
by Annie Cronin Romano
March is the time to fill out your NCAA basketball bracket, watch spring arm wrestle with a fading winter, celebrate being Irish even if you’re not, and…READ!
Yes, March is National Reading Month. It’s the time when educators strive to impress on their students the importance of reading, the delights of discovering a favorite book or author, and the connections that can be made to life and learning via reading. Kicked off with National Read Across America Day on March 2nd (Dr. Seuss’ birthday, naturally!), National Reading Month is a celebration of the joys of reading. It urges young and old alike to take time each day to read.
As writers, we don’t need a single month to celebrate our love of the written word. That passion for literature is what drives us to do what we do. But sometimes we get so caught up in writing that we miss out on what most likely inspired us to write in the first place: reading. It’s nice to be reminded once in a while, or in this case for an entire month, that we should take time regularly to crack open a new hardcover or an old favorite. So sashay into March with your “to read” list at the ready. Break out your mentor texts, look at the bestseller and new releases lists, check into the library, or hit your local bookstore. You’ll gather plenty of books to keep yourself busy for far more than 31 days! And maybe you will gain some inspiration for your own writing as well.
Peruse blogs for advice and tips from KidLit creatives.
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