You hate to sound like that braggy parent who says, “I just can’t find enough books for my child to read,” but, when your child is an avid reader, keeping them in books can be a full-time job. And if your child isn’t an avid reader, finding books to help entice them to become one can be just as frustrating.
As a former school librarian, a parent, and an avid reader myself, I’m always looking for new book recommendations (and I find pulling books off the shelf of the library to be a deeply discouraging way to find new material).
Here are five ways I love to find something new to read:
These awards have been around for nearly 100 years. I’ll be the first to admit that they do, on occasion, choose complete losers, but overall, I think the recommendations are really solid, and I’ve found that the Honor books are often even better than the winning books. Plus, because the awards are so old, you’re likely to find books you’d forgotten you (and maybe even YOUR parent) loved as a child on there. And another bonus is that libraries pretty much always buy and keep the winners, so you shouldn’t have trouble tracking them down.
2) The Texas Library Association puts out killer booklists every year (usually about 20 books per list) for a whole range of ages.
And I don’t just say this because I’m a Texas-trained librarian - it’s one of the biggest library associations and the sheer number of librarians and resources the state has means you’re getting some well-researched titles. The 2×2 list is for 2 year olds to 2nd graders, the Bluebonnet list is for 3-6 graders, the Lone Star list is for 6 - 8 graders, the TAYSHAS list is for high school students, and the Maverick list is graphic novels divided into age groups from 6 graders to adults. I dare you not to find something you love.
3) The Massachusetts Children’s Book Award is a yearly list of 20 books published in the last five years and aimed at grades 4-6. I used this list heavily as an elementary school librarian and it has a broad range of genres and levels (from barely chapter books to hefty novels).
4) Chinaberry. I love that this gets called “A Catalog That Operates Like an Independent Book Store.” I remember my mom getting this free catalog in the mail when I was young and I’d spend hours poring over it. You can request a copy and spend your entire evening reading it too.
5) Publisher catalogs. I get some of these in the mail and my little daughter LOVES poring over them. We mark books to buy or get from the library and she loses her mind with excitement when she sees books she recognizes in the backlist section. They are also accessible online, and I find them invaluable. Here are a couple to start you out: Chronicle, Penguin, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Have a pen and paper handy to make a list of all the things you now must read immediately.
(And, of course, don’t forget to ask your librarian or your child’s teacher for recommendations - I’ve yet to meet one who isn’t dying to share a couple of their favorite books with you).
Where do you go when you are looking for new reads for you or your child?
Subscribe to blog via RSS