Where to Find those 10,000 Books

So at some point in Outliers, I guess Malcolm Gladwell said a few things about putting 10,000 hours into something you want to do well. And possibly there is debate about not only what he said, but about whether he was right.

Whatever Gladwell actually said, how many times have you heard other writers, publishers, agents, your mother say that–to write–you need to read? A lot. Do you really need to read 10,000 books? Sure. Even more. I don’t actually think there’s a cut-off, a number beyond which you’ve gathered everything you need to know. I do agree that reading is critical to growing my writing skills and that a whole bunch of that reading needs to be in my genre.

I’ve talked here before about mentor texts, the picture books I go to when I’m stuck. I look for something the authors have done that I’m not doing yet, look for places they’ve cleared the particular hurdle I’m facing. I dissect, I analyze, I scribble notes. (No, not in the book!) And I am always looking for new mentor texts–books that tell a story as well as I’m hoping mine will some day. Where do I find these books?

I check out the picture-book section every time I walk into a bookstore. I browse library shelves, and I check out the books I find. I look at the websites of agents I’m researching, and I put their books on hold. I google things like “best picture books of the year,” and I put those books on hold. I read blogs by picture book writers, and…yep, I put more books on hold. Every couple of weeks, I take a pile  of picture books back to the library, and I pick up my next stack.

I’m looking for some new sites I can explore. So I thought I’d ask here for your suggestions–where to you go to look for what’s new and good? Thank you in advance!

I’ll start:

There you go! Got anything to add?


  1. jama says:

    7-Imp, of course, as well as Writing and Illustrating (Kathy Temean), and Librarian’s Quest (Margie writes the best reviews). 🙂 Also enjoy Orange Marmalade — Jill sometimes includes older titles along with new books in her roundups.


  2. amandahoving says:

    Hi Becky! As a teacher, we use so many different mentor texts in writing workshop. I’ve found that the ones we use for our students can often be great models for the grown-up writers in the house, as well. I will sometimes google, “Writing Workshop mentor texts” to see what pops up/which books other educators are using. There are many teacher blogs that give their favorites as well as links to other sites. Maybe you would find that helpful, too?


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