Posted by: nancyisanders | July 6, 2010

Summer Reading Club: A New Focus

I wanted to share the news that one of my publishers called with the funtabulous news that they are offering me a brand new book contract to write a brand new book. Hip hip hooray!

So now I get to focus on a new type of book for my summer reading club: picture books to do research for my new book I’m going to write.

Whenever I land a brand new book contract, I usually budget myself a list of books to purchase to be my key research books for the project. If I’m writing a picture book, I purchase several books with the similar voice or format or feel that I want my own book to be. And while I’m writing my own book, I read these picture books over and over and over and over again. It helps me capture that elusive voice I’m trying to establish with my own book.

In this case, my new book will be a nonfiction book for children about the era of the Civil War. With books like this, I usually budget in at least $100 of research books to buy. And because my new book will be for kids, a lot of my research books will be geared for kids as well. I want to know how other authors handle my topic and how they bring history alive for kids on my subject.

So in the weeks ahead, I’ll be searching Amazon for as many picture books and/or children’s books about my topic as I can find. Then I’ll hop on over to my online local library catalog and order in these books to arrive at my library from all sorts of libraries in our county system. When these all come in, I’ll go to the library, pick them all up, and bring them home. Once I have them in my hands, I’ll go over them all and pick the best of the best to purchase and use as my research sources.

I’ll also make a list of all these picture books I get from the library, what I like most about them, and compile a list of suggested reading for students and teachers. This list will either go in the back of my new book, or I’ll post it on the book’s website I’ll create after my new book is published.

And of course, I’ll be using a lot of adult-level books to form the backbone of the major part of my research for my new book. I’ll do the same search and choose system to purchase the key books I plan to use as well. Once again, my local library will be a major stop along my journey to equip myself with the research tools I need to use.

And maybe…just maybe…if I read these adult books fast enough I might get some under my belt before my library’s summer reading club comes to end. And that means I just might win a prize, too! Doesn’t that sound like fun?

How are you doing on your summer reading? Do you have any favorites you’d like to share?


  1. Again, congratulations, on the contract for this Civil War book. I hope you find many treasures in your research!

  2. Rah, rah, rah & Congrats Nancy!
    As a member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, your subject is dear to my heart. 🙂
    My latest favorite reads:
    Does God Know How To Tie His Shoes by Carlstrom and A River of Words by Jen Bryant.
    Your blog informs, inspires and ignites my flame for writing children’s books. Thank you and many blessings, Bobbe

  3. Congratulations, Nancy. I’ve been typing up family history from notes handed down to me. Yesterday, I learned that my great-grandfather was in the Home Guard of the Kansas Miltia. He deserted when the Militia was called to a different state, breaking the promise that they’d only serve in Kansas. So what did he do? Joined the Yankees in Missouri! He was almost captured twice by the Confederates but escaped by 1) hiding in water and breathing through a reed and 2) hiding in a hedgerow by a fence and, by luck, was not stuck as the enemy poked the underbrush with their swoards. Yet he was welcomed home in Kansas after the war and praised by his Home Guard superior. Ah, different times.

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