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Make A Bookish Splash With A Summer Reading Challenge!

by Ambassador Team 30 Mar 2024 0 Comments

Hi, Emm from @planwithemm here! You can find me on Instagram and YouTube. I’ve always been a reader, but nothing gets me more inspired to check out a ton of books from the library than the annual summer reading challenge! Now back then, there was the glory of a personal pan pizza on the line (IYKYK) but now I’m just looking for a fun reading experience. Whether you read 0 or 100 books last year, setting up a reading challenge is a great way to meet your reading goals and have a good time doing it. 

Let’s dive in!

Supplies for project - notebook, calliographs, and washi tape


Make sure to use my affiliate code PLANWITHEMM10 to save 10% at Archer and Olive.


Some people can set a to be read (TBR) list and be set for the month, but that isn’t me. I’m definitely a mood reader and also tend to read based on the season! For me, my reading breaks usually down like this

  • Spring: literary fiction, contemporary
  • Summer: romance, thriller
  • Fall:  cozy fantasies, mysteries
  • Winter:  science fiction, nonfiction

What this means is that I’m far more likely to finish a reading challenge where I need to read certain prompts than where I need to read certain books. If you prefer a TBR, pick a list of titles that you want to read this season instead!


I would argue that the best part of a seasonal reading challenge is theming it to the season. Since I’m creating a summer challenge, I chose palm fronds and colors reminiscent of A&O’s Retro Road Trip line. The best part about these doodles is that they’re super freeform - no one is going to notice an errant leaf or two. 

How to draw a palm frond

We start by drawing the stem of our frond - as a rule of thumb, the bottom of the stem will be thicker than the top. But if you zoom into mine, you’ll see that I frequently ignore this (*shrug*). Just have FUN! Once we have a stem, we’ll start adding leaves. The leaves can come from the same point on the stem or alternate all the way up, this is up to you. When we draw the leaf, we again have a thick base that tapers to a point. Wiggling your pen a little as you draw can add some natural movement to the leaf and take it to the next level. 

Once you have one leaf, just repeat! You can make the leaves get thinner or shorter as we go up the stem, or keep them consistent throughout. These fronds are what you make of them!

Close-up of palm fronds

Not feeling the fronds? No biggie! You could draw all sorts of things in the margins - be it flowers, leaves, snowflakes, pool inflatables, etc. All that matters is that you have a good time drawing it and that you leave some room for the reading challenge prompts! If you want to try out my challenge prompts for yourself, check out the A5 printable below.

Printable of reading challenge prompts



Coming up with the prompts for a challenge is always my favorite part! I take a few things into account when I’m creating prompts, but it mostly boils down to balancing new genres and themes with comfort reads. If I don’t like reading historical fiction, I’m likely not going to force all of my prompts to be about it. But to stretch myself, I may add one option that is harder to complete without delving into the genre. 

Left hand side of spread

 I divided my prompts into 4 categories

  • Genres: Here we’re choosing book genres, as well as potential subject matter. 
  • Cover: All of these prompts are based on the color and content of the book cover. You could also have some fun here with spine color!
  • Elements: This is usually related to the plot, setting, or characters. To see if a book will meet an “elements” prompt, you usually just need to read the synopsis.
  • Miscellany: Literally everything else! This can be based on the general vibes you want the challenge to have, but can include things like “read outside” or “eat a yummy snack while you read”. The miscellany prompt world is your oyster. 

I made 20 prompts for you to pick and choose from, adapt for your reading style, or even just ignore. My hope is that these prompts get you excited to read, not feel arduous. (We are NOT about reader guilt, mk?) Just take what looks fun and do that! 

If you’re creating your own prompts and struggling, I recommend checking out other popular reading challenges like Popsugar or The 52 Book Club for inspiration. You can borrow these prompts for your personal challenge verbatim, or adapt them to your purposes. So perhaps you’d change “an academic thriller” to “an academic romance”!

Final project overview

And voila! We’ve made an awesome seasonal reading challenge a junk journal as a creative outlet. Try to make time to read daily, even squeezing 5 minutes in helps the reading habit build. If you’re on the go, audiobooks are a GREAT way to read. Don’t forget to mark off your prompts when you finish a book and show off the titles you’ve picked. Also be sure to check out the associated YouTube video for this challenge and check out this blog for more junk journaling inspiration.

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