Reading the Shelves – Sunday Check-in

Friday was an excellent day in my writing career. I received a rejection! It seems silly to celebrate, but it’s a sign that I’m doing something, and for that I’m happy…considering how long I’ve taken to get here. Also, although the rejection email had the feel of a form letter, the sentiment was positive. I like to imagine that they have a variety of form letters and that I was sent the version for a submission that had strengths, but wasn’t right for their needs. And so I will continue with my writing and reading…

Currently reading from my bookshelves:



  • The Creativity Project: An Awesometastic Story Collection edited by Colby Sharp. I accidentally discovered this book while looking at the displays in the children’s section of my local library. It’s an incredible collection of stories and illustrations generated via a brilliant concept: ask forty-four children’s storytellers to make up story prompts, have them swap their prompts with one another, and then see where the inspiration leads. The result is a collection both hilarious and emotional. And now that I am more familiar with children’s book writers, I love that I recognize so many of these talented creators’ names. I hope to find inspiration myself as I work my way out of a block.

Recently borrowed from the library (because I can’t afford to own them all):

Picture books:

  • Our Library by Eve Bunting (illus. by Maggie Smith). Sweet tale of hard work, perseverance, and the importance of libraries to our communities.
  • The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi. When she moves to the U.S. from Korea, Unhei is anxious about making friends, especially when she is initially teased about her name. She decides to pick a new name, but it’s a tough choice to make. With suggestions from her helpful classmates, she chooses a name…one that was right all along.
  • The Dress and the Girl by Camille Andros (illus. by Julie Morstad). This was recommended as a mentor text for a story that I’m working on. It’s tale of a girl who lives an ordinary life in her ordinary dress. She longs for something extraordinary, and one day it happens when the girl and her family emigrate to the U.S. But the girl and the dress get separated as the girl begins her new life, and so the dress waits to find the girl again. I am usually more focused on words before visuals, even in picture books, but there was something about the artwork in this book that took my breath away.

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