Tuesday, February 5, 2019

ReFoReMo Past Sets the Pace

One of the best ways to understand the education and appeal of ReFoReMo is to look back on the previous year's challenge. Last year, our 2018 presenters posted the following educational posts and mentor text recommendations. Take a look back with us, and then see how some of our participants get the most out of the ReFoReMo challenge month:
(Each "Day" is linked to the post)

ReFoReMo 2018 Reading List
Day 1: ReFoReMo Founder/Coordinator Carrie Charley Brown: Repetition/Gathering Notes as You Research
Go Sleep in Your Own Bed by Candace Fleming, Lori Nichols
Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down by Andrea Davis Pinkney, Brian Pinkney
The Giant Jumperee by Julia Donaldson, Helen Oxenbury
A Loud Winter's Nap by Katy Hudson
Knock Knock My Dad's Dream for Me by Daniel Beaty, Bryan Collier
One Plastic Bag by Miranda Paul, Elizabeth Zunon

Day 2 ReFoReMo Coordinator/Author Kirsti Call: Fresh Concepts
Barnaby Never Forgets, by by 

Dashka Slater
Not Quite Narwal, by Jessie Sima
Twinderella, A Fractioned Fairy Tale, by Corey Rosen Schwartz and Deborah Marcero 
Prudence the Part Time Cow, by  

Day 3 (March 5) Author Heidi Stemple: Backmatter
Finding Winnie
Took the Moon for a Walk (Carolyn Curtis, Alison Jay).
SOME PETS (Angela DiTerlizzi and Brendan Wenzel)
Best In Snow (April Pulley Sayre)
Quick Little Monkey! (Sarah L. Thomson and Lita Judge)
A Perfect Day for an Albatross (Caren Loebel-Fried)
The Alligator’s Smile, (Jane Yolen, Jason Stemple)
Thunder Underground, (Jane Yolen, Josee Masse)
Imani’s Moon (JaNay Brown-Wood, Hazel Mitchell)
More-igami (Dori Kleber, G. Brian Karas)
Listen to Our World (Bill Martin Jr & Michael Sampson and Melissa Sweet)

Day 4 (March 6) Author Baptiste Paul-Grasping Big Ideas/Theme
King Jack and the Dragon by Peter Bentley & Helen Oxenbury
The Way Back Home by Oliver Jeffers
Rain by Sam Usher
Float by Daniel Miyares
I Wish You More by Amy Krouse Rosenthal & Tom Lichtenheld

Day 5 (March 7) Author Patricia Toht--How-To Books
CARING FOR YOUR LION by Tammi Sauer and Troy Cummings
IF A T-REX CRASHES YOUR BIRTHDAY PARTY by Jill Esbaum and Dasha Tolstikova
WHAT TO DO WITH A BOX by Jane Yolen and Chris Sheban
IF YOU PLANT A SEED by Kadir Nelson
HOW TO READ A STORY by Kate Messner and Mark Siegel

Day 6 (March 8) Author Keila Dawson--Tough Topics
Come with Me by Holly M. McGhee, Pascal Lemaaitre
The Water Princess by Susan Verde, Georgie Badiel, Peter H.Reynolds
Maybe Something Beautiful: How Art Transformed a Neighborhood by F. Isabel Campoy,
Theresa Howell, Rafael Lopez
Malala's Magic Pencil by Malala Yousafzai, Kerascoet Kerascoet

Day 7 (March 9) Editor Christina Pulles--Second Person POV
If You Plant a Seed by Kadir Nelson
Your Alien by Tammi Sauer and Goro Fujita and
When a Dragon Moves In by Jodi Moore and Howard McWilliaz
How to Read a Story by Kate Messner and Mark Siegel
Love by Matt de la Peña and Loren Long

Day 8 (March 12) Lit Expert Librarian Matthew Winner- Starting/Ending Strong
Charlotte the Scientist is Squished by Camille Andros and Brianne Farley
Great Big Things by Kate Hoefler and ‎ Noah Klocek
Nimoshom and His Bus by Penny M. Thomas and‎ Karen Hibbard
A Hundred Billion Trillion Stars by Seth Fishman and Isabel Greenberg
I Won’t Eat That by Christopher Silas Neal
Shelter by Celine Claire and Qin Leng
Another Way to Climb a Tree by Liz Garton Scanlon and Hadley Hooper
Sing, Don’t Cry by Angela Dominguez
Dazzle Ships: World War I and the Art of Confusion by Chris Barton and Victo Ngai
Chibi Samurai Wants a Pet by Sanae Ishida

Day 9 (March 13) Author Ariel Bernstein--Dialogue
THIS IS NOT A NORMAL ANIMAL BOOK by Julie Segal-Walters, Brian Biggs.
STARRING CARMEN! By Anika Denise, illustrated by Lorena Alvarez Gomez
WHOBERT WHOVER, OWL DETECTIVE by Jason Gallaher, Jess Pauwels
BOB AND JOSS GET LOST! by Peter McCleery, illustrated by Vin Vogel
WOLFIE THE BUNNY by Ame Dyckman, illustrated by Zacharia OHora

Day 10 (March 14) Author Andrea J. Loney--Remarkable Biographies
Ira’s Shakespeare Dream by Glenda Armand and Floyd Cooper
Lost and Found Cat: The True Story of Kunkush's Incredible Journey by Doug Kuntz and Amy Shrodes, illustrated by Sue Cornelison
Nina: Jazz Legend and Civil-Rights Activist Nina Simone by  Alice Brière-Haquet and Bruno Liance
Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear by Lindsay Mattick and Sophie Blackall
Blockhead: The Life of Fibonacci by Joseph D'Agnese and John O'Brien

Day 11 (March 15) Author Janie Reinart
Love, Mama by Jeanette Bradley
The Day I Became a Bird by Ingrid Chabbert Guridi  
My Beautiful Birds by Suzanne Del Rizzo
Every Day Birds by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater
Bird, Balloon, Bear by Il Sung Na

Day 12 (March 16) Agent Jenna Pocius--New Perspectives
They All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wenzel
Small by Gina Perry
Beautiful by Stacy McAnulty, illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff
Windows by Julia Denos, illustrated by E.B. Goodale
Double Take! A New Look at Opposites by Susan Hood, illustrated by Jay Fleck

Day 13 (March 19) Author Librarian Marcie Flinchum Atkins--Deep Concept Books
Be a King By Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by James Ransome
Brave By Stacy McAnulty, illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff
Dear Girl By Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Paris Rosenthal, Illustrated by Holly Hatam
Life By Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Brendan Wenzel
Love Is By Dianne Adams
Lovely Written and illustrated by Jess Hong
Most People By Michael Leannah, illustrated by Jennifer E. Morris
Peace is an Offering By Annette LeBox, illustrated by Stephanie Graegin
Why Am I Me? By Paige Britt, illustrated by Selina Alko and Sean Qualls
You Hold Me Up By Monique Gray Smith, illustrated by Danielle Daniel

Day 14 (March 20) Author Jen Betton--Books to Learn From
Flashlight Night by Matt Forrest Esenwine and Fred Koehler
Before Morning by Joyce Sidman and Beth Krommes
This House, Once by Deborah Freedman
Bear Has a Story to Tell by Philip Stead and Erin Stead
The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles, by Michelle Cuevas and Erin Stead

Day 15 (March 21) Author/Illustrator Dow Phumiruk--Character Flaws and Wants
Be Kind, Pat Zietlow Miller
No Kimchee for Me, Aram Kim
Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn, Kenard Pak
Roscoe Versus the Baby, Lindsay Ward
Bagel in Love, Natasha Wing
A Morning with Grandpa, Sylvia Liu, 2016
If Your Monster Won't Go to Bed, Denise Vega, 2017
Gaston, Kelly DiPucchio, 2014
Maybe Something Beautiful, 2016

Day 16 (March 22) Author Cindy Schrauben--Interactive Picture Books
I DO NOT LIKE KOALA by Sean Ferrell
PRESS HERE by Hervé Tullet
BATTLE BUNNY by Jon Scieszka and Mac Barnett

Day 17 (March 23) Author Educator Colby Sharp

Radiant Child by Javaka Steptoe
The Book of Mistakes by Corinna Luyken
Between the Lines: How Ernie Barnes Went From The Football Field to the Art Gallery by Sandra Neil Wallace and Brian Collier 
Sam & Eva by Debbie Ridpath Ohi
The Amazing Collection of Joey Cornell by Candace Fleming and Gerard Dubios

Day 18 (March 26) Author/Illustrator Salina Yoon--Early Concept Books
Color Zoo, by Lois Ehlert
Where is Baby’s Home? by Karen Katz
Rock and Roll COLORS, by Salina Yoon
ABC, by Xavier Deneux
Finger Puppet Book series, by Chronicle Books
Peek-A-book Farm, by Joyce Wan
Peek-A-Moo, by Nina Laden
Color Wonder: Hooray for Spring! By Chieu Anh Urban
Belly Button Book, By Sandra Boynton

Day 19 (March 27) Author Susan Eaddy--Longer Picture Books
Louise, the Adventures of a Chicken, by Kate DiCamillo
Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse, by Kevin Henkes
Each Kindness, by Jacqueline Woodson
The Rooster who would not be Quiet! By Carmen Agra Deedy. illustrated by Eugene Yelchin
Finding Winnie, by Lindsay Mattic & Sophie Blackall
Henry’s Freedom Box, by Ellen Levine, illustrated by Kadir Nelson
That Book Woman, by Heather Henson, illustrated by David Small
So You Want to be President, by Judith St. George, illustrated by David Small

Day 20 (March 28) Editor Mary Lee Donovan--

I Dare you not to Yawn, Hélène Boudreau
Fiona’s Little Accident by Rosemary Wells
Green Pants by Kenneth Kraegel
Baby’s Got the Blues by Carol Diggory Shields
Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall

Day 21 (March 29) Coordinators Carrie Charley Brown & Kirsti Call-Resolutions/Wrapping up your
New Shoes by Susan Lynn Meyer
Bug in a Vacuum by Melanie Watt
Sophie’s Squash by Pat Zietlow Miller
The Day I Became a Bird by Ingrid Chabbert Guridi
After the Fall by Dan Santat
We Don’t Eat Our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins
Wolfie the Bunny by Ame Dyckman and Zackoria O'Hora
Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great by Bob Shea
Monster Needs Your Vote by Paul Czajak and Wendy Gries
Dear Substitute by Liz Garton Scanlon and Audrey Vernick and Chris Rascka
The Great Puppy Invasion by Alistair Heim and Kim Smith
The Raindrop Who Couldn’t Fall by Kirsti Call and Lisa Griffin
Maddi’s Fridge by Lois Brandt

The 2019 Reading List will be revealed on February 12. 

Reading remains at the heart of what we do, but each person approaches the challenge in a slightly different way. We love that! Here's how a few of our participants get the most out of the month:

"Of course, I get all of the recommended books from the library, but I give them a quick run-through first. I don't have time to study them all in depth, so I narrow the field. I focus on studying: a) ones that I find most unusual and try to figure out how I can apply the unusual elements to my work, b) ones that excel in a key area that I'm struggling with (like combining heart and humor), and c) ones that leave me completely cold, because I want to understand why others have an emotional response to them and I don't." 
 Jilanne Hoffman

"I always try to tailor the lists to what I am currently writing -either topic, tone, or some other similarity. Sometimes I do an author study or notice a trend with a particular publisher." 
Kathy Halsey

"Storystorm helps me prep for ReFoReMo. After compiling my list of story ideas, I break them into categories such as title, character, plot, theme, etc. For example... Yesterday I added CAKE WALK to my list. This would go under title because who knows what that story might be about. Then, as ReFoReMo posts and reading lists come out, I can more easily determine what story ideas might apply to that day's lesson." 
– Cindy Williams Schrauben

"It introduces me to new books to study and lists of ideas about books already written and how many on a particular topic. I had never read NF picture books before reading about them here." 
  Sheri Rad

"To be honest, I don't think of ReFoReMo in terms of March. I do read the posts but I don't gather up all the books on the reading list ahead of time. When I read the posts, I make a list of those that might be relevant to something I'm working on. BUT, I constantly find mentor texts by looking through the Files in the FB group. And the ReFoReMo posts come straight to my Inbox because I don't want to miss any posts. I read every one...year round. In other words, it's super valuable to me year round. It's valuable enough that I feel like it's part of my process. When I start a draft or work on revisions I head over to the Files and I always find gold! It's really a genius idea and so helpful!"  
 Penny Parker Klostermann

ReFoReMo 2019 registration is February 19! Woohoo!

What do you do to get the most out of ReFoReMo?


  1. I love that ReFoReMo helps me find books I might not pull for myself. Then when I go to a workshop or read an industry article, I often feel elated because I know the books being referenced. When I work with fellow writers in a critique group, I almost always pull PB from my ReFoReMo knowledge to enrich the interaction. (And I love to put those ReFoReMo books in Goodreads - makes it easier to find those comp titles!)

    1. I do this, too. It's great to be able to recommend mentor texts that critique group members can use.

  2. I keep my book lists and notes from every year of ReFoReMo! The file is getting thicker, but I love looking back and seeing the notes I've taken and things I've learned. Thanks so much for all the hard work!

    1. Sometimes I have to remind myself to go back through those old files, too, because exactly what I need may be there!

  3. ReFoReMo introduced me to a way of finding books that speak to a story idea. Since joining this group, I am constantly reading, researching, and discovering books that help me understand how I can improve my story structure, tone, and character. Thank you ReFoReMo team for this inspiring kidlit community :)

    1. Yes, ReFoReMo taught me how to use mentor texts well. It was truly eye-opening.

  4. Looks like a great research read ahead!! Good luck, all!

  5. I have never been able to find all of the books in time, so it becomes about learning all I can from what I do have. One book can have plenty of lessons.