I have been asked MANY times how I decide what books to spotlight on Instagram. I am happy to share…just promise you won’t think I am completely crazy OR nerdy by the time I am done with this post. 🙂

It all starts with The Binder

Yes, if you read my Christmas Box post, you already know I like binders. It is a carry-forward from my Trapper-Keeper days. 🙂

Binder with skunk on the front.

Inside the Binder, I have calendars and charts.

Mostly blank March calendar.
The calendars start out nice and clean…
December calendar with text all over.
…and end up looking like this. I have vowed to start using pencil.
Charts of picture books.
The charts are lists of picture books available at our library, listed by subject.

A little more about the calendars…

The calendars start out with several holidays marked throughout the month. These are major holidays and other fun national days. There are national days for about everything, so I use these days as jump off points for themes to study.

And this is where the charts come in.

Each of the holidays (and National Days) listed on the calendar have their own chart. The chart includes all the books I could find in my local library system or our home library.

I use these lists and look up all books on Goodreads and Amazon to find ratings and more about each book. Then I decide what books I am going to check out from the lists.

New books or points of research.

Next, I add new releases or books based on authors, illustrators or subjects I am wanting to learn more about. These can come about from curiosity or maybe it is a subject I am looking to write about.

Then I add a handful of “saved” books.

I follow a lot of AWESOME bookstagramers. When they post about books I am interested in reading, I save their posts. If I have extra spots left in my library cart, I fill it with these saved books.

So example- my last library haul:

I worked off of four charts:

  • Groundhog Day
  • Valentine’s Day
  • Mail
  • Squirrels

There were 141 books on the lists. After I looked up the books and ratings, I narrowed it down to 27 books I wanted to check out.

I have been hearing a lot about the fractured fairy tale books by Bethan Woollvin, so I added:

  • Little Red
  • Hansel & Gretel
  • Bo the Brave
Little Red, Hansel & Gretel and Bo the Brave by Bethan Woolvin
Books by Bethan Woolvin

I wanted to check out a couple of books by illustrator Holly Hatam, so in went:

  • Happy Right Now
  • Dear Girl
Picture books illustrated by Holly Hatam
Books illustrated by Holly Hatam

Oh, and a couple NEW books by two of my favorite authors:

  • If You Came To Earth by Sophie Blakall
  • The Couch Potato by Jory John

The remaining 15 book slots were filled with books from my Instagram “saved” list.

And that brings me to 50 books!

And JUST in case you are interested… I chose 15 books out of this pile I liked well enough to spotlight on Instagram. 1/2 of a month worth of posts.

Then I start the process all over!

I try to have posts planned out about one month in advance.

Oh, wait…the classics…my favorites-

I can not help but throw in the occasional classic or long-time favorite. It seems like my feed would be lacking without them.

Do I accept review requests?

I receive a fair number of review requests. Every once in a while I will review a book by request, but it is pretty rare. In those circumstances, it is typically from a seasoned author/illustrator or publishing house.

So there you are!

I laid out the whole process for you. I am guessing it is WAY more of an explanation than you were asking for. Hahaha.

I am hoping Philip Pullman is correct when says, “If you want to develop your craft as a writer, READ.” I do want to become a better writer. I hope all this reading helps.

AND I hope through ALL this reading, I truly am sharing GREAT books with my Instagram followers. 🙂

Thanks for making it All the way to the end. Hahaha, you totally deserve a pat on the back. Hahaha.

Jamie Bills

Here is a link to my Instagram account where all these reviews are posted in the end:


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