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 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. (Hear it directly from a subscriber: “The recommendations are spot on and it’s so well-researched.”) 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.

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

You’ll receive…

…the guidance of someone with both knowledge and experience.

I take the guesswork (and time!) out of finding excellent books for you and the children in your life.

As a free subscriber, you’ll receive:

  • Every public post and issue — one a week, which always features 4-5 book reviews, plus extras at my whim. (You’ll get what paid subscribers receive regularly, but in a smaller quantity over longer intervals.)

As a paid subscriber, you’ll receive:

  • An instant digital download, 100 Books to Build Your Library (a $5 value)

  • Weekly reviews of 4-5 children’s books, as well as special seasonal editions, and one-off topical deep dives

  • Access to all past posts and issues in the archive

  • Advice, inspiration, and support in raising readers

  • Practical, actionable ideas for creating a culture of reading in your home

  • Personalized book recommendations at any time

Founding subscribers:

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.

I never want price to be a barrier to entry, so I will comp a paid subscription 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.”

📚 “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, teachers, 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.

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 😘