Finding Books Kids Love

November 11, 2011 in books

Maybe I should be a librarian. I would love to be paid to follow the book industry for kids. I would love to sit behind a desk and help a kid, who has never liked to read, find a book he loves. I have my own lists of books I love at each stage of development, but today, I will point you to the professionals, the ones who get paid to do one of my dream jobs.

As a parent, your job should not end with the enforcement of the required reading time for homework. If you don’t help your kid find fabulous stories, you will be limiting her knowledge, her vocab and her imagination. Most kids will find one author, series or type of book and read it for months. Expand her world. If the only books she will read are Judy Moody or Captain Underpants, make a deal with her. If she will read Shiloh or Ella Enchanted or Where the Sidewalk Ends, then she can buy another Judy Moody book. If she wants to read a book that you know is wonderful but the reading level is too high, offer to read it to her. Or if your kid loves the computer, check out this list of best author websites. Many of them have games, stories and other interactive features to teach kids about the author and his/her characters/plots/time periods.

Image from ncbla blog , June 21,2011

And before I share these inspiring lists and you start reserving a pile too big to carry from your library, remember that these lists come from people you don’t know, who have values you don’t know. Just because a book has won awards and pint-sized readers are lining up to meet the author, doesn’t mean the book will support your values. I urge you to read many of the books yourself. And when time doesn’t permit, at least find a summary or two online.  Know what your daughter is reading and address important issues with her.

Here are the reading lists,  but I do have to put in a plug for a great list maker…the children’s librarian at your local library. Tell her about your kid and what she loves and you just might get a personalized list.  Just skimming these makes me wish for a snow day, hot tea and a good book.

Oprah’s Reading List for kids: These lists are grouped by age starting with babies and ending with 12 and up. You can further divide the lists by categories like fantasy, classics, boys, girls, illustration, growing up, etc.

Reading Rockets summer book list: I know summer is over but I love this list. It is broken into age groups and has really unusual books, mostly new publications. After reading this list, I will be checking out I Feel Better If There is a Frog in My Throats: History’s Strangest Cures and Seabird Forest (scientists just solved the mystery of why the Marbled Murrelet seabird goes far inland into a forest to nest), both are picture books for ages 6-9. Reading Rockets may be the first place to go if you are a parent with a struggling reader and want tips on how to help them learn to decode.

James Patterson’s ReadKiddoRead site is structured much like Oprah’s. There are reading level-appropriate lists and categories like holiday specific lists, summer reading, best books of the decade, graphic novels and more.

And while I think mostly about girls, because that is what God gave me, I have many friends with boys. And boys typically are more reluctant readers than girls. Check out this great site for boys called guysread. I love the categories like Space, without aliens; Space, with Aliens; At least one Explosion, Realistic Kids in Realistic situations, Classics that actually hold up,  etc.  There are also great tips for parents with boys who do not want to read.

RIF book lists. Reading is Fundamental has compiled age appropriate favorites as well as lists based on ethnic themes, grossness, spookiness and holidays.

AR What kids are reading report: Maybe this isn’t really inspiring but to a book loving mom like me it is fascinating, you can download the 2011 report of What Kids Are Reading, from the Accelerated Reader program, an organization uniquely equipped to gather such information.

There. Now you have a place to start finding books for your princesses. Of course, there are more traditional sites for book lists too. Just search for  “ALA reading lists” (American Library Association). Happy reading.

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