ReFoReMo…Week One Results

For those of you who don’t know what ReFoReMo stands for, it’s READING FOR RESEARCH MONTH. It’s a month long challenge to read tons of great picture books as mentor texts and really study the different components of what makes up great writing.

I’m going to be reading over 100 books during the month of March for this challenge, and reading the blog posts like this one……to determine how things like tension, character arc, point of view, etc. helps a writer create a stronger story.

My local library couldn’t get me all the books required for this challenge, but I’m getting enough to understand and appreciate some of the really special books out there just waiting for someone to take them home for a little read time. Here are my favorites from this past week…

  1. SWASHBY AND THE SEA by Beth Ferry, illustrated by JuanaMartinez-Neal…This one is my FAVORITE book of week one. The drawings are lovely and I really enjoyed the heartwarming way Swashby’s neighbors took the time to connect with him.
  2. MABEL: A Mermaid Fable by Rowboat Watkins. It’s adorable how Mabel deals with being “different” and how she changes her mindset by the end of the story.
  3. FRY BREAD by Kevin Nobel Maillard, illustrated by Juana Martinez Neal…I just realized this is the same illustrator as the one for SWASHBY which is why I probably enjoyed the artwork of this book. I’m also part Cherokee, so learning more about Native American traditions interest me.
  4. I AM DARN TOUGH by Licia Morelli, illustrated by Maine Diaz…I work with kids every day and love how the main character in this book finds the inner strength to overcome the obstacles in the story.
  5. LIFT by Minh Le, illustrated by Dan Santat…this book comes in a very close second to SWASHBY as my favorite mentor text for week one. I adore the illustrations by my KidLit colleague, Dan Santat, and the story is such a lovely tribute to a child’s imagination. The almost graphic novel style doesn’t hurt either…
  6. DO I HAVE TO WEAR A COAT? by Rachel Isadora…Picture books celebrating the seasons will almost always capture my attention and this one is no different. The artwork is whimsical and all the different options for the seasons evoke fun adventures.
  7. PARKER LOOKS UP by Parker & Jessica Curry, illustrated by Brittany Jackson…There are many things I admire about Michelle Obama, and I found this book both a lovely tribute to the strong woman Michelle is as well as all the wonderful possibilities to be found for one special little girl.
  8. NO SMALL POTATOES: Junius G Groves and His Kingdom in Kansas by Tonya Bolden, illustrated by Don Tate…This book’s artwork is created by another Kidlit colleague favorite of mine. And I absolutely love the “rag to riches” story of this fabulous, hard-working man who created his own destiny through hard work. This one is technically for week two, but it came in early and I couldn’t wait to read it!
  9. THE NEXT PRESIDENT by Kate Messner & Adam Rex…I LOVE how my KidLit colleague, Kate Messner presents an angle on our presidents I’ve never seen before! The artwork is beautiful and the story is captivating!

I can’t wait to see what week two brings!


KidLit author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of flash fiction, children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna offers occasional BOOK NOOK REVIEWS of great children’s books and offers WRITERLY WISDOM to new and established writers. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators, Children’s Book Insider and AWAI. Donna loves dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection.




LinkedIn: Donna L Martin/Story Catcher Publishing

Goodreads: Donna L Martin

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