Tuesday, October 18, 2016

October Mentor Text Check in and Challenge: Reading for Cybils

As a Cybils Award judge, I have the privilege of reading hundreds of nominated picture books and board books.  When I bring home more books to read, each day my two youngest children squeal with delight!  We're happy when we read together.

Reading picture books by the dozens helps me hone my reading and writing skills.  I'm now more certain of what resonates with me and what doesn't.  

I'm fascinated by the differences between my reaction to books and my kids' reactions.  Some books that I dislike are books that they request over and over again.  Reading so many books written within the past year not only helps me better understand the types of stories that publishers are publishing right now, but also how unique each publisher is.  This kind of reading for research is what inspired Carrie to begin our Reading for Research challenge in the first place (she was a Cybils picture book judge for 2 years).   

Here's my challenge for you.  Check out at least 20 of the picture books on the Cybils Award nominations list here, read them, and ask yourself these questions:

1. Which publishers make books that you love?
2. What patterns do you find?  
3. What resonates with you?  
4. How many of the books written this year are books that you would want to re-read?  
5. How can you use what you've learned from this exercise to improve your manuscripts?  

Please share any aha moments with us below.  We'd love to know how reading recent picture books helps you in your writing journey!