Monday, September 19, 2016

Over Half Way There: Notes from a Reader

I've spent a lot of time looking out at this view this year, but I've still read over 800 
picture books for the 1,000 Picture Book Challenge.  Photo © Lori Gravley
My husband, the librarians, the dogs—everyone around me is ready for me to turn the page on my 1,000th picture book.  Perhaps other people who’ve participated in the challenge have been able to read a leisurely 20 or so books a week. But I’ve spent nearly half the year far away from home (and  away from the library that fills my picture book needs).

This week, I’ve checked out (and read) over 100 picture books (it's been my full-time job this week).  I’m aiming for the same number next week. I want to finish all my picture books before NaNoWriMo begins in Novemeber.  It’s intense. 

But most of all it’s inspiring and full of delights.  Here are some of the delights.

--Most of the books (8 so far) I’ve written for the 12x12 challenge this year have been inspired by my reading. 

--I’ve discovered new favorites, authors whose careers give me hope: Jonah Winter and Julie Fogliano are two such writers. 

--I’ve read some bad books.  Sometimes I’ll read a published book and think. Oh, I have so far to go.  Then, I’ll read the next one and I’ll think, Okay, I’ve got this.  My book is better than this and the topic is timely.  Reading so much, I’ve found that my skills and concept awareness are probably in the upper half (at least) of writers being published.  That gives me the inspiration to stick with my projects and send them to agents and editors.  I’m ready to be published.  I’m doing my best work.
--Reading gives me great ideas.  I have a document of over five pages with notes for future or possible books or approaches.

--Reading so many books has convinced me that I can tell the stories of people who are different than I am with respect and care.

--Reading all these books has revealed a particular passion for writing picture book biography.  I’d written one before this year, but this year, I’ve written three more, and I have oodles of ideas.

Reading all these books has taught me so much. And  I’m still learning.  As you read this, I’m probably sitting at the dining room table, making notes and updating my Goodreads account. 

What do you learn from your reading? How does it inspire your writing?  


  1. You've inspired me to write my schedule this week, Just to add Library. The crash course, AKA Learning Intensive, is bound to stay fresh! No pun intended☺

  2. The library definitely keeps me fresh. Can't wait to pick up another pile of books today!