Reading Highlights So Far

August 8, 2023

Bookshelves on rustic wooden wall. Photo by Huỳnh Đạt on
Bookshelves on rustic wooden wall

Hey, folks!

Part of being a poetry and picture book editor is doing lots of reading so I can better help my clients – that involves craft books as well as the genres I edit in. So I thought I’d share some of the highlights of what I’ve read so far this year!

Craft Books

Dreyer’s English by Benjamin Dreyer

This might be my favourite grammar book ever. Dreyer does such a great job explaining concepts while making you laugh out loud. He covers a wide range of topics related to copy editing, making it fantastic for editors and writers alike. I’m definitely going to be returning to this over and over again!

The Ode Less Travelled by Stephen Fry

I mostly include this because there aren’t too many poetry craft books like it out there (though if you know any you enjoy, please sound them off in the comments). The technical information was good, and it was a great refresher and teacher for a variety of styles. Definitely a good resource if you’re wanting to experiment with forms! Though a fair warning: I did find that having background knowledge in poetic lingo and forms was helpful. It might not be the best resource for someone just starting out (for those of you in that position, I’d refer you to Mary Oliver’s A Poetry Handbook). I also found Fry put down some styles – many of which I and my clients enjoy – which wasn’t much appreciated, but he does make up for it with some good dry humour. So if you want to experiment with your knowledge and can overlook those more cynical passages, I recommend checking this one out.


I Gave Myself the World by Catarine Hancock

I read this one back in January and I still think about it almost on a daily basis. It played so beautifully on my emotions, even the poems I couldn’t personally connect to. Though the ones I did see myself in? I sometimes cried real hard. Many made me feel seen, and ultimately, Hancock made me want to give myself the world, too.

Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein

Me to myself a couple months ago: Kaila, you’re a children’s poetry editor born in the 90s, how have you not read Where the Sidewalk Ends??

So I obviously had to rectify that. And all I can really say is it was an experience. If you’ve read it, you’ll likely know what I mean. Some of my favourites were “Hug O’ War,” “Lester,” and “Ten-O-Cycle.”

Picture Books

The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt

I could not stop talking about this book after I read it. It’s genius. It’s funny. It was so well written for children and adults alike. It brought me immense joy. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend. Even if you have no children. Please find a copy and read it.

I Love You Night and Day by Smriti Prasadam-Halls

I cannot express how adorable and sweet this book is. The story, the illustration, the vibes. When I was little, Guess How Much I Love You was a staple. As soon as I picked up I Love You Day and Night, I got the exact same feelings I got when I was a kid with my parents reading me Guess How Much I Love You. I bought a copy on the spot. If you love Guess How Much, you’ll love I Love You Day and Night.


What about you? Have you read any books in these categories so far this year you want to talk about? Give me all your recommendations!

Published by Kaila Desjardins

Freelance editor, fiction writer, proud nerd.

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