Posted by: nancyisanders | June 20, 2010

Summer Reading Club: True Confessions of a Children’s Book Writer

I was in my local library on Friday and I went up to the checkout counter. I put my totebag stuffed with picture books on the floor. I got out my library card and placed it on the counter.

I told the librarian, “I’m not sure if I’ve overexceeded the amount of books I can get on my library card because I have other books checked out at the other local library, too.” (I usually state this disclaimer up front so that we know when to ask my husband or son if I can borrow their card if they’re with me at the library, too!)

Eyeing my totebag, the librarian asked in excitement, “Have you signed up for our Summer Reading Club? We have one for adults!”

My heart jumped for joy! “You’re kidding!” I said. “This is so exciting. I really wanted to join a Summer Reading Club this year. How wonderful!”

“Oh yes!” she said. “And for every 10 books you read you get a prize!”

I lugged my totebag up off the floor and started pulling out my books for her to scan. I could hardly believe it. What fun this would be!

But then she handed me the rules. There, underlined, were the words:

Children’s books DO NOT count.

As she scanned my tall stack of picture books, she added, “You have to read books for adults to be in the Summer Reading Club since you’re an adult.”

And that’s when I had to make a true confession. I don’t think I’ve read a book for adults in like ten years! I mean, I just reread “To Kill a Mockingbird” but that was filed in the children’s section under “Young Adult.” Other than that, I read mostly picture books. An occasional middle-grade novel. But adult books? I tried to rack my brain for the last title I read that was an adult book.

Stephen King? Danielle Steel? John Grisham? I don’t think so! Rosemary Wells and Mo Williams are more my style and reading tastes these days!

So I carted my hefty pile of picture books out to my car and made a decision. I’m gonna make this Summer Reading Club here on my blog even more official. And here’s the great news:


So, here’s how our Summer Reading Club works:

For every 20 picture books you read or every middle-grade or young adult novel, STARTING TODAY post a comment here on my blog and let me know. I’ll put your name in a hat.

And if you read or reread a “how to write children’s books” book this summer, let me know and I’ll add your name to the hat again!

Our Summer Reading Club is officially over on Friday, September 3 at midnight.

Then, on Labor Day weekend, I’ll draw out one name from the hat and the winner wins a special prize! I’ll announce the winner of our Summer Reading Club on my blog on Monday, September 6.

The prize is a license plate from the Cafepress store my publisher set up for my book, Yes! You Can Learn How to Write Children’s Books, Get Them Published, and Build a Successful Writing Career.


Now, isn’t this fun to belong to a Summer Reading Club where children’s books count?

Let’s get reading!


  1. Sounds like a barrel of fun. I read children’s books and middle grade books and young adult books all the time.

    • Oh, I’m glad you think this will be fun, too, Vivian! -Nancy

  2. Hah!

    You sound like me, but I haven’t checked that many out lately. 10 at a time is more my speed. I love seeing my teenagers avoid me and my husband wait in the car as I bring my pile to the check out desk, telling myself to have self-control, I can always come back tomorrow!

    I’m enjoying an adult book right now. I like to broaden my horizons occasionally. (Sometimes it’s like force feeding, though.)

    • Oh, good for you to broaden your horizons, Stephenie! And ooooh it’s so hard to have self control at the library. I think it started when I was a little kid and I’d get too many books for my library card and the sweet librarian would open her file drawer, pull out various cards of different relatives who lived in the town but NEVER used their card, and she’d let me use one of their cards for the extras! (That was back in the old days when the library kept all the library cards in a drawer.) I mostly used my Great Aunt Katharyn’s card. -Nancy

      • For sheer numbers at one time, I bet I have most people beat. When I was taking Anastasia Suen’s pb workshops, we had to read 5 pb a day x 5 days a week. I’d request books for the daily theme, maxing out the 30 books per card limit on my card, my husband’s card, and my mothers. Now I try to stick with my card only but that is still a lot. The librarians see me walk in and immediately grab the tallest stack from the hold table.

      • I think you’re right, Mary Ann…that’s a LOT!!! It was fun to hear your “true confessions of a children’s writer”! -Nancy

  3. This does sound like fun because we don’t just read books as readers but also as writers.

    I read 12 picture books today so only 8 more to go for my first name-in-the-hat. For each book I make a short annotation. For those I’ll use on my blog, I write my blog review even if it is to be used in several months. What really helps me is that I copy and paste the book cover image in my file. I’m a visual person so that triggers even more memoreis about the book than only my notes.

    • These are great ideas, Mary Ann. The cover of the book is such a fantastic visual! -Nancy

  4. I feel the same way. I just read a popular Christian adult novel that a church member loaned me and I felt all grown up! I couldn’t wait to write it on the paper slip at my local library for our summer reading program. (my librarian allows middle/young adult novels thank goodness)

    But for me, the joys of the library are discovered in the children’s section. I have my own adult problems, why read about someone else’s? -Mitzi

    • This made me smile, Mitzi, about how you felt all grown up! And I wish our library allowed MG YA novels for the summer reading program…that’s super! -Nancy

  5. I loved this blog post, Nancy, and especially the title. It sounds like the title for your next book or writing article! And I laughed in the middle when the librarian told u about all the rules. How funny! I’m glad to know there are other writers out there who use other family members’ library cards to check out multitudes of books. I’m guilty of that! Your reading program sounds fun. How ironic, I signed up my kids today for their summer reading program at the library today!

    • Ha, ha, ha, Tina! I’m glad you got a chuckle out of this! It’s fun to know we share the same “true confessions.” -Nancy

  6. Your tote bag is always full of ideas, Nancy!

  7. Nancy,
    I went to your site and had hoped to order your book before the GPhilly conference and get it read. I have scheduled a continuing workshop with you. (or continuing something?)
    You suggested reading the book before the conf. but how do I order it? I didn’t see any opportunity on the site to order books.
    Am I wrong???

    • HI Marlene, I’m so excited that you’re joining my workshop in Philly! And yes, you can order my book on my book’s website by following the link to Amazon. Let me know if that works for you. See you soon! -Nancy

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