- Barr, Nevada. Track of the Cat
- Batson, Wayne Thomas. The Door Within
- Frost, Helen and Leonid Gore. Monarch and Milkweed (Atheneum Books for Young Readers)
- Henkes, Kevin. Little White Rabbit (Greenwillow)
- Henkes, Kevin. Penny and Her Song (Greenwillow)
- Henkes, Kevin. A Weekend with Wendell (Greenwillow)
- Laroche, Giles. If You Lived Here: Houses of the World (Houghton Mifflin)
- Meloy, Maile. The Apothecary (G. P. Putnam’s)
- Messner, Kate. Over and Under the Snow (Chronicle Books)
- Noyes, Deborah. Red Butterfly: How a Princess Smuggled the Secret of Silk Out of China (Candlewick)
- Rendell, Ruth. Tigerlily’s Orchids (Scribner)
- Rylant, Cynthia. The Case of the Fidgety Fox.
- Sidman, Joyce. Swirl by Swirl: Spirals in Nature (Houghton Mifflin)
- Sweet, Melissa. Balloons over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s Parade (Houghton Mifflin)
- Van Dusen, Chris. King Hugo’s Huge Ego (Candlewick)
- Willems, Mo. Happy Pig Day! (Hyperion)
- Willems, Mo. Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed (Hyperion)
- Willems, Mo. Should I Share My Icecream? (Hyperion)
- Wynne-Jones, Tim. The Boat in the Tree (Front Street)
Not a shabby reading list for a single month. Of course, you need to remember that picture books are quick reads, but I’m also doing a lot of online reading, magazines, articles and other things I don’t list.
If you have twins in a story, do something surprising in this post-Potter era. Let them both live to the end of the book! I’m to the point that when I find out that there are secondary characters who are twins, I automatically start trying to figure out which one of them is going to get killed off. Macabre habit? So mess with me and let both your twins survive.
Characters need to be sympathetic. Ironically, I’ve been going around with one of my editors about how to make a character sympathetic. And I don’t mean “going around” as in disagreeing. We’re just talking over this particular point a lot. Its ironic because I’ve recently read several books with abrasive or otherwise unsympathetic main characters. If I don’t come to identify with the character in someone or feel sorry for them, I have a tendency to flip to the end of the book. How does it end? Does that hook me? If not, back in the library bag it goes. Bad, bad, reading habit.
Often, I appreciate children’s books much more than adult books. Why? The writing is so much tighter. Children’s writers, even most young adult novelists, don’t get to just wonder around exploring the scenery for pages and pages. Given my attention span which is alarming brief once I decide I’m bored, tight, clear writing is a must.
That’s all for now, but then I do have an itch to go find a good book to read.