The Sixth Annual Book-a-Day Challenge

New guests to our house always say the same thing when walking into our living room for the first time, “Wow, you’ve got a lot of books.” With thirteen bookcases—most double-stacked—and a custom built-in wall unit crammed with books, the principal decorations at the Miller Ranch are book spines.

Anna Quindlen said, “I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves.” I can relate, Anna. We are clearly kin.


“Buy a Kindle. “ I divorced my Kindle in 2010 when it died on a long conference trip. I asked a friend to drive me to a bookstore, and I never went back.

“Get a library card. “ I have three, so does everyone in my house. We use them. We dedicated one shelf near the door for our library books, so they don’t get lost.

“You could read less and find another hobby.” Seriously? Anyone who knows me is laughing right now. Moving on.


You see, I have heard it all before—well-meaning folks who sense alarm when they learn that we own so many books.

“Don’t you have to dust them all?”

I enjoy dusting bookshelves. I feel like a dragon sifting through my hoard.

While I shove books into the hall closet before my mother comes over for dinner tonight, I know that our cascading bookshelves are at their yearly peak. We read less the last month of school. This has happened to us before… It will all change in a few weeks.


It’s been a long, cold, stormy winter, but summer is coming.

Book-a-Day is coming.


The yearly Book-a-Day challenge invites readers to reconnect with daily reading, discover new books and new reading friends, and celebrate our reading lives. During Book-a-Day, readers strive to read one book for every day of their summer vacations.

This challenge began as a public commitment to read all summer and share books with other readers.  I’ve met many treasured friends during our yearly Book-a-Day events—including my dear friend, Colby Sharp. Mini Book-a-Day events pop up during spring and winter breaks, and literacy gurus like Teri Lesesne post book titles under the #bookaday hashtag all year.

That series you never finished? Those novels you borrowed from a friend two months ago? That sliding stack of picture books you need to read? Don’t you have books that are calling you, too? Please join me for the 6th annual Book-a-Day challenge.

The rules (more guidelines, really) are simple:


  • You set your own start date and end date.
  • Read one book per day for each day of summer vacation. This is an average, so if you read three books in one day (I know you’ve done this!) and none the next two, it still counts.
  • Any book qualifies including picture books, nonfiction, professional books, audio books, graphic novels, poetry anthologies, or fiction—children’s, youth, or adult titles.
  • Keep a list of the books you read and share them often via a social networking site like goodreads or Twitter (post using the #bookaday hashtag), a blog, or Facebook page. You do not have to post reviews, but you can if you wish. Titles will do.


I share my summer Book-a-Day plans with my students each year. I don’t expect them to read a book every day, but we discuss their commitments to read over the summer, too. One more chance to remind my students that their reading lives never end.

Without picture books and graphic novels, I will not average a book each day this summer. I never do. I have Goldfinch sitting on my nightstand, and I want to savor it.  Book-a-Day is not a competition. It’s an opportunity to enjoy marvelous reading experiences and rededicate to daily reading. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what we read, or how much, or when. What matters is that we have fun and indulge in our favorite leisure activity—reading a lot of books!

I look forward to my summer adventures, both inside and outside of books.

Enjoy your summer! I hope our paths cross online or in person. I know we will have lots of books to share.

Let the reading begin!


Donalyn Miller is a fifth grade teacher at Peterson Elementary in Fort Worth, TX. She is the author of The Book Whisperer and Reading in the Wild. Donalyn co-hosts the monthly Twitter chats, #titletalk (with Nerdy co-founder, Colby Sharp) and #bproots (with Teri Lesesne), and facilitates the Twitter reading initiative, #bookaday. You can find her on Twitter at @donalynbooks or under a pile of books somewhere, happily reading.