Monday, January 4, 2016

My Life as a Reader in 2016

Each year for the past six years, I've challenged myself to read 100 children's books. Why children's books? Because that's what I'm compelled to write.

For any writer, I think it's important to read a lot of books of the kind that you want to write. I'm convinced it helps to embed the structure, style and language of the kind of book you want to write in your mind. It also helps you to find out what kinds of books your audience likes to read, and, in the process, you learn about the kinds of books you'd like to write.

Along the way, I've come to appreciate the art form of children's books beyond my own learning as a writer. There are few extraneous words in children's books, there isn't space. The writing is highly polished, the stories beautifully creative. I treasure my time spent reading children's books, and I'm proud to be able to attempt stories of my own.

What does this mean for my reading goals? Since I'm doing more writing and have less time for reading, this year I'm going to be a little less specific about what I choose to read. Instead of focusing on the quantity of children's books I want to read, I'm aiming for diversity. I want to read more different kinds of books -- maybe some nonfiction, maybe some children's books that I wouldn't normally pick up.

I will continue to list the children's books that I read here and, hopefully, on, if I can remember. I may make it to 100, but I may not. I like to see what I find. I also like to read books nominated for awards. Most of the books I read are based on recommendations from other readers and writers, as well as from what I find in my local library. If you have any recommendations for me this year, please share them in the comments!

Here are my 2016 reading goals (which are not so different from last year's!):

1. Read LOTS of children's books - picture books, middle grade and young adult.

2. Read all of the fiction picture book finalists (I better read these ones, because I'm a second round judge!) finalists and the middle grade fiction finalists for the Cybils Awards, and maybe some of the finalists for speculative fiction for elementary and middle grades, if I have time. (For more about these awards given by book bloggers, visit 

3. Read all of the Blue Spruce and Silver Birch nominees for the Ontario Library Association's Forest of Reading Awards.

4. Try to remember to keep track of my reading on GoodReads, though I'll also be tracking it here on my blog.

I'm excited to begin!  Do you have any reading goals? Feel free to share or link to them in the comments. I'll be back Thursday with a Learning from Picture Books feature and then next Monday I'll have my first featured post for Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in 2016. Happy reading!


  1. My goal is to keep the pace I set last year reading about two books per week. About 95% are middle grade since I'm also writing for that level. Good luck with your goals and have a great 2016.

  2. Sounds like you have some great goals. I'm just hoping to read some this year.

  3. Sounds like you have some awesome reading goals. Mine is just to read consistently this year.

  4. Congratulations on reaching your reading goals for 2015! And I'm most impressed by your 2016 goals. For about 15 years now, I've set a goal to read 100 books a year, mostly MG, with some YA and adult fiction in the mix, and a few nonfiction books. Most years I meet or exceed my goals. This past year I fell short. Only read 96 books. But I'm still satisfied because I did read more diversely, including a few very long adult novels. I need to read more nonfiction.


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