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Rachael Walker

In this special series, children's literacy consultant Rachael Walker and many of the authors, parents, and educators she’s met and worked with talk about how books have changed their lives, how to bring books to life for young readers, and how to enrich kids’ lives with good books. (Also visit Rachael at her blog, Belle of the Book.)

Resolutions from the KidLit Community

January 5, 2018

While I’m not big on making my own new year’s resolutions, I do love to take time to reflect on my year of reading and plan what to read next! These bookish resolutions from the kidlit community — compiled by my friend Madelyn Rosenberg — offer lots of ideas for titles to read and a great glimpse of the goals writers set for themselves.

Madelyn Rosenberg is the author of This Is Just a Test with Wendy Wan-Long Shang.

Her newest picture book, Take Care, is about taking care of the world and each other, which works as her resolution for the new year and beyond.

The two things I like best about January 1 are making Hoppin’ John and making New Year’s Resolutions. Not the I-swear-I’m-going-to-the-gym resolutions that I give up on by January 18, but the make-a-lot-of-sense resolutions that serve as true guidelines for the year ahead.

My favorite resolutions? The ones that come from writers and illustrators in the kidlit community. They get me planning and scheming and they apply to so much more than my reading and writing life. I hope they will for you, too.

S. K. Ali (Saints and Misfits)

Resolution: To continue learning different ways to outline stories. I also want to go there — take on the creative challenges swirling around my brain. I love things that break the mold and this is what I hope to do with my writing this year.

Tracey Baptiste (Rise of the Jumbies)

Resolution: I'm going to work on taking my time. I'm like a dog in a park full of squirrels sometimes with every new story idea catching my attention. I need to take more time to consider all the angles, make sure I get the facts right, and pursue stories that I love not just because they're new and shiny, but because they're worth my time.

Cece Bell (El Deafo)

Resolution: Less iPhone time, more sketchbook time. To that end, the second (or third or fourth) time I get the urge to read google news, I gotta pick up the sketchbook instead and draw!!

Joseph Bruchac (Chester Nez and the Unbreakable Code: A Navajo Code Talker's Story)

Resolution: To keep telling the stories that might otherwise go untold, to keep trying to write the books I wish I could have read when I was a kid.

Book set 1

Gaia Cornwall (Jabari Jumps)

Resolution: This probably doesn't sound writing related, but 2018 is gonna be all about self care. I need to figure out how to integrate eating well and gasp, exercising!, into my daily life, including when I'm on deadline. I know, I know, this is the typical New Year’s resolution, but I suspect I'm shrinking/my back hopefully isn't permanently hunched, and why is that hand hurting?... I want to be creating books for many years to come and I need a healthy body to do it!

Kathryn Erskine (The Incredible Magic of Being and Mama Africa)

Resolution: I will write to call out the current cruelty and lack of civility in our country.

Leah Henderson (One Shadow on the Wall)

Resolution: Writing Time is precious and this year I plan to treat it as such. I won’t ignore it, I won’t waste it, and I definitely won’t give it up so easily for other things. I realized last year if I nurture my writing, it will nurture me. So that’s what I intend to do!

Sara Lewis Holmes (The Wolf Hour)

Resolution: To re-connect with my journal, and to read more novels in verse.

Book set 2

Hena Khan (Amina's Voice)

Resolution: To spend more time celebrating writing victories, big and small, for myself and my friends. And I will try to spend less energy stressing about things aren’t going right or that I can’t control, like rejections or my least favorite thing: waiting.

Rashin Kheiriyeh (Saffron Ice Cream and Ramadan)

Resolution: This year I am going to write and illustrate a book about Norouz, the Persian New Year celebration, which was one of my favorite holidays when I was a kid in Iran. Also, I want to be very organized this year and try to do everything I note in my To Do List, such as more reading, writing and illustrating great books.

Sylvia Liu (A Morning with Grandpa)

Resolution: To finish my latest middle grade work in progress. I resolve to read a lot, learn a lot, and continue to enjoy my creative journey.

Katherine Locke (The Girl with the Red Balloon)

Resolution: My 2018 writing resolution is to go on submission with my middle grade fantasy, and my 2018 reading resolution is to read 150 books, 50% of which are by marginalized authors.

Book set 3

Debbie Ridpath Ohi (Same and Eva)

Resolution: In 2018, I am going to be better about protecting my creative time so I can work on new book ideas. One of my specific goals: to finish writing my middle grade novel.

Anne Marie Pace (Groundhog Day and Busy-Eyed Day)

Resolution: I resolve to regain the good writing habits I had before life derailed said good writing habits a few years ago. I’m not sure of every move I’ll have to make to accomplish this, but I’m sure it will include liberal use of the Mac Freedom app.

Celia C. Pérez (The First Rule of Punk)

Resolution: My writing resolution for the new year is to get my second book in decent shape and to start working on a third book. I hear some people actually work on multiple books at once!??

Erica S. Perl (All Three Stooges)

Resolutions:
#1: Turn off the wifi when writing.
#2: Be fierce, be fearless, and be funny
#3: Don’t edit in a vacuum (share work with critique partners)

Book set 4

Jonathan Roth (Beep and Bob: Too Much Space!)

Resolution: To enjoy my launch year, whatever it brings.

Cynthia Leitich Smith (Feral Pride and Hearts Unbroken)

Resolution: I resolve to craft more stories for middle grade readers, especially ones that draw on my Muscogee heritage and citizenship. Meanwhile, I resolve to empower more Native and First Nations beginning writers, helping them bring their books into the world. My hope is to highlight how every kid, both Native and non-Indian, can be a hero that everyone cheers.

Wendy Wan-Long Shang (This Is Just a Test)

Resolution: To remember that is a joyous duty to write for children. In 2018, I will try to remember that amid the squall and politics, there are young readers waiting for us, and to that end, is my job to be equal parts serious, funny, wise and inspired.

Book set 5

Tammar Stein (The Six-Day Hero)

Resolution: Keep my desk tidy! I tend to jot down thoughts on scraps of paper and then set them by my keyboard. Soon marked up manuscripts lay on top of the scraps of paper, and then there are the random items that find their way over and the piles just grow. A clear, tidy desk is much more inviting and I'm going to keep it that way in 2018!

Theodore Taylor III (Trailblazer: The Story of Ballerina Raven Wilkinson)

Resolution: To finally finish my first self-written children's book!

Mary G. Thompson (Amy Chelsea Stacie Dee)

Resolution: Working on a single novel for months or even years at a time can be creatively stifling, so this year I want to jump-start my creativity by writing more short stories. I’ve set a goal of completing one polished story every month. I hope this will open up my brain and cause brilliant ideas to pour forth! And even if they are not that brilliant, they will definitely be twelve stories!

Book set 6

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"The man who does not read good books is no better than the man who can't." — Mark Twain