Spending time you don’t have trying to find great books for your kids?

Can we read? is your weekly guide to children’s books, raising readers, and how to build a culture of reading in your home.

Get reviews of books old and new, help in finding the right titles for your family, and inspiration for creating a culture of reading in your home right in your inbox every Tuesday and Wednesday before 10AM CT.

I’m Sarah Miller.

I’m a lifelong bookworm who has always been crazy for children’s books — when I had two children of my own, now 8yo and 5yo, I became obsessed. (The title of this newsletter was inspired by my then-3yo daughter, who asked me that question 25+ times a day. The answer was — is still — always yes.)

I’ve built our large home library book by book (you can read more about that here) and have learned everything I can about children’s literature and raising readers.

I’m a full-time work-outside-the-home parent with a career that has nothing to do with any of this — which is to say, I’m self-taught, but I know a lot. I have a BA in English and am a professional writer in my day job — not that I think either of those qualifies me as an expert, but they do, perhaps, contribute to the quality of my newsletter. (Hear it directly from a subscriber: “The recommendations are spot on and it’s so well-researched.”)

This is, nothing more and nothing less, a love letter to children’s books, old and newer, and the magic of reading them together.


This is a free and a paid resource

I take the guesswork (and time!) out of finding excellent books for you and the children in your life, and I can do this for you at two levels:

Free subscribers receive:

  • One weekly post, which features 4-5 book reviews

  • A once-monthly deep dive into the topic of raising readers or an interview with a children’s book author/illustrator

  • Extras at my whim, which occur often

Paid subscribers receive:

Everything free subscribers receive, plus…

  • An additional weekly post on Tuesdays, which offers a glimpse into my home life and what we’re reading, answers to questions from you, mini issues, micro-reviews, fun discussion threads, link roundups, and frequent giveaways

  • Two instant digital downloads: my 100 Books to Build Your Library and Build a Reading Habit calendar (which you can start anytime)

  • A free Notion template — the Can we read? Booklist template — to help you keep track of your books and family reading life

  • Access to all past posts and issues — an archive chock-full of practical, actionable ideas for creating a culture of reading in your home

  • Personalized book recommendations at any time

Founding subscribers receive:

If you’re feeling extra generous and want to consider yourself a true patron of my work, you can subscribe at the “Founder” level. The suggested fee is $120/year but you can enter any amount greater than $65. That will get you all of the benefits of a paid subscriber, plus warm fuzzies 🥰

What if I can’t afford a subscription?

I never want price to be a barrier to entry, so I offer complimentary paid subscriptions to anyone experiencing financial hardship. If this applies to you, simply let me know (by subscribing for free and hitting reply on any message, or sending an email to canweread@substack.com) — no explanation necessary.

If you’d like to underwrite one of those subscriptions, you can donate one here.


Why subscribe?

  • There are a million booklists online — I tell you why I recommend each title and why you and your kiddo/s might enjoy it

  • I save you time and energy by doing the work for you. Many subscribers use each issue to put books on hold at the library, or make purchases to build or freshen up their home libraries — and it all comes right to your inbox

  • I offer help and support in your efforts to raise readers

Subscribers have said:

📚 “I enjoy the variety of formats — from quick lists to deeper explanations. It’s a nice mix.”

📚 “Sarah does so much of the work for me! I have no bandwidth to go to bookstores/libraries, and trying to find decent books online is so hard. The book recommendations in this newsletter have been immensely helpful.”

📚 “This newsletter is great because it helps me make the emotional labor more efficient — I am working with curated, high-quality information from the start, rather than sifting through the whole wide world every single time; and immediately applying it to my own needs and life — making my library list online, adding books to various lists for the future, etc. I don’t want to ‘not have to think about’ this kind of thing — I think about it often and I enjoy thinking about it; I just want to think about it in a way that maximizes the actual impact of all my energy.

📚 “Your passion, interesting commentary, and fantastic book selection have been the highlight of my inbox. You have introduced me to so many authors and titles I had no idea needed to be in my life and I love your tone of writing. Not pretentious, not unrealistic, just right. I feel like we could be having a coffee and talking books and it’s just really nice to read.”

Yes, I want help finding great books!


I’m not a parent — is this newsletter still for me?

Absolutely. You don’t have to be a parent to find value in this newsletter. I have many subscribers who are grandparents, aunties/uncles, educators, librarians, therapists — you name it. If there are children in your life in any capacity and your relationship might be strengthened by books and reading, this newsletter is for you.


PTO

One final detail: each year, I take about six weeks off: an extended break for an entire month, taken as needed, and a week here and there. (I always give you notice when these breaks are about to happen.)

This helps me create a healthy and sustainable balance between this newsletter and the rest of my life. I can’t keep writing this without the energy to keep writing this, you know?

Every other week of the year, you’ll hear from me without fail — once if you’re a free subscriber, twice if you’re paid. That’s 45+ or 90+ posts, respectively, over the course of the year.


Thank you for allowing me to pop into your inbox and mental space every week. It’s an immense pleasure to be even the smallest part of your life.

Take good care and read good books 😘
Sarah


People

Sarah Miller
An obsessive lover of children's books, sharing my passion every week