The research behind the research

I can’t imagine writing a new piece without research. When I pondered this post, for example, I wanted to call my brain a carburetor. Not being a motorhead myself, questions immediately flooded my carburetor. What does a carburetor do? How do I spell that word? Can my brain really be a carburetor? How can I use it in a sentence? I’m sure you guessed by now that I had to research to find out more. When I looked up the definition, I also found the word combustion. I had a feeling that my brain did a lot of “combusting” but I knew that I would have to learn more before I could officially dub my brain as a carburetor.

Making sense of words, meaning, worlds, characters, and structures is what we do when we write. Whether fiction or nonfiction, we are called to research every element to enable the best reader-experience. Lucky for you, the 7th-annual Reading for Research Month (ReFoReMo) online challenge is just around the corner. Even though research is an ongoing part of every project, could you learn more from other professional perspectives? Absolutely! ReFoReMo is a dedicated time to do just that. Featuring 23 different creative perspectives over a month of educational posts, and connecting with our Facebook community, we’ll discover how reading picture books helps us break down the craft of writing them.

Illustration by Lori Nawyn:

Here’s what one participant says,

“I really can’t tell you what a great experience ReFoReMo was for me–there are books from that challenge that I actively recommend and bestow upon people in my work as a children’s librarian to this day. I enjoyed the way that the challenge posts would “package” a group of like titles together and discuss what they could collectively teach us. I had such a fun time that my daily comments started resembling full-sized reviews.”- Jose Cruz

If you’d like to learn with us during this free month-long challenge, registration opens on the ReFoReMo blog on February 16 (  Challenge your writing carburetor to ReFoReMo…where mentor texts are the fresh air mixed with your writing fuel!

We’ll reveal the top secret presenters on the ReFoReMo blog next week, followed by the reading list the week after. If you’ve joined us in the past, how did ReFoReMo open your eyes? If this will be your first year, what do you hope to learn? Leave us a comment to let us know!


  1. ReFoReMo in 2020 allowed me to not only read an amazing amount of great picture books (many of which were unfamiliar), but it also allowed me to keep them for month as the libraries were closed! That won’t happen this year because libraries now provide curbside pickup & drop off, but the joy of discovery will still be available. Can’t wait!

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