Posted by: nancyisanders | November 30, 2020

40 x 4 Picture Book Challenge: We Did It!

I know a lot of you have been following along and joining in on the adventure to read 40 picture books in 4 weeks. For me, the hardest challenge was actually getting a lot of the books from my local library because it’s still not fully open like it used to be.

What was your biggest challenge?

If you read all 40 books, I thought it would be fun to offer you this image that you can post on your own site. Feel free to use it however you want to because, yes! You completed the challenge.

And now that our reading is over, I want to encourage you to give back to the many amazing authors you’ve learned from and shared your time with as you’ve read their books. If you really liked their book, take a minute and post a glowing 5-star review on your favorite internet sites like Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc.

Before you do, just listen to this story, however. A few years ago I was in a group of fellow picture book authors when we decided to read 40 picture books like this and meet together several times and discuss what we read.

We shared the positives, the negatives, the good, the bad, and the awful. One week, I had read a particularly notable book that I thought was awful. It had won an award, which brought it to my interest to begin with, and I fumed about how it the world anyone could possibly have given it an award.

But then our group met. Before I opened my mouth to share my opinion, one of the other gals said she had read that very same book. She was so excited about it! It was her daughter’s very favorite book now, and they had to read it every night at bedtime. Her daughter absolutely LOVED it…it had become THE book for her.

Well, I learned an important lesson. Just because a book doesn’t meet my criteria for wonderful doesn’t mean it isn’t a wonderful book in someone else’s eyes. So if I don’t particularly like a certain book, I just move forward. I only post 5 star reviews of books I absolutely like.

And I don’t post 4 star reviews, either. That’s because 4 star reviews actually hurt an author’s ratings. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve read a review online where the reviewer gives glowing recommendations and then only gives it 4 stars, which actually lowers the rating of that book.

So if I can’t give a book a 5 star review, I simply don’t post a review of it. But I love to post 5 star reviews as a thank you to authors who have made my world a better place with their books. I encourage you to do the same, especially for your favorite books that you’ve read this past month!

And just as another note…you never know who reads those reviews. I’ve received amazing reviews on Amazon that are noticed by the publisher and circulated among the editorial and publishing staff. The reviewers name (and often bio) gets seen and celebrated and shared. You never know what might happen when you post a great review for a book you loved.

So glad you joined in the fun. Hip hip hooray for picture books!


  1. Hooray for 5 star reviews!
    Thanks, Nancy for the 40 x 4 pb challenge.

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