40 x 4: A Reading Challenge

Writers need to write. That should be your priority. But the best way to study writing is reading. Nancy Sanders has been posting about the 40 x 4 Reading Challenge. You can find the first post here.

The 40 x 4 challenge is to read 40 picture books in four weeks. I have to admit that although I read a lot of picture books early in the year, I haven’t checked any out from the library in the last two weeks.

What can you hope to gain by reading a large number of picture books in a single month?

  • Read a large number of books from a single publisher and you will get to know their catalogue.
  • Read a large number of books on a broad topic to study the competition.
  • You will also come away from a challenge like this with reading ideas. If nothing else, I’m always getting ideas based on other people’s titles. “What? That’s not what I thought this book would be about. I was expecting…”
  • Want to learn how to write in rhyme? Read rhyming picture books.
  • For someone who wants to write STEM, they could read and study STEM books.
  • Sometimes I like to read a number of books by one author to see how they handle a series or develop their voice through different types of books.

Whether or not I am currently writing a picture book, I love to sit down with a stack of books and read one after the other. I’m always on the look out for books to buy for Christmas and stories to love.

Some of my recent favorites?

  • Dandy by Ame Dyckman
  • We Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom
  • Bruce’s Big Storm by Ryan Higgins
  • We Don’t Eat our Classmates by Ryan Higgins
  • We Will Rock our Classmates by Ryan Higgins

Why not order some books from your local bookstore or library and head through November with a stack of picture books by your side.