Friday, November 4, 2011

Where did you find that book?


“It is not enough to simply teach children to read; we have to give them something worth reading. Something that will stretch their imaginations--something that will help them make sense of their own lives and encourage them to reach out toward people whose lives are quite different from their own.”   --- Katherine Patterson

No, this isn't a posting about AWOL library books found in weird places.  Although I have a lot of experience with that.  This is one about books for kids.  My sister recently asked for a few suggestions for her oldest child who is reading way above grade level.  He was given a list of books at school that he could choose from.  On the list were books like the Nate the Great series by Marjorie Sharmat and the Magic Treehouse books by Mary Pope Osbourne.  I do love those books, but they don't hold a whole lot of interest for a kid who recently finished the Percy Jackson & the Olympians books by Rick Riordan.  So, where do you go to find books that are age and reading level appropriate for your child?

Ask someone who works in the children's section of a library.  If the library is too small to have one specific person working the children/young adult section, then anyone behind the desk should be able to help you.  Generally we have a pretty good idea about what is popular.  Or what is going to be popular.  We've got resources at our fingertips to help you find a book for young and old alike. 

I'm not going to lie.  Some of us have more fun with that than others.  It's one of the things I love about my job.  Finding a new book for someone to love.  Usually I hit the nail on the head, but there have been times that I've failed miserably.  I work at a couple very small libraries where the times I've failed keep getting brought up.  Oh well, I know as well as they do that what I recommend is usually pretty good.  Three strikes and you're out, I haven't gotten that yet.  Or, maybe once I strike out those people know to come when I'm not around.  

Back to where to find a good book for you/your child to read.  Easy enough.  Search Barnes and Noble or any of the other national bookseller websites.  Type in the name of a book you really like and see what other books people who have bought that title have purchased.  One click will lead to another and another and another until you have a whole list of books.  I generally have one tab open to the bookseller site and another to the Arrowhead catalog.  Read a title that's appealing and request it all within a few minutes.

Another place to look are the best-seller lists.  I enjoy checking out the New York Times book section.  You no longer need to live in New York city to get a copy as it's all available online.  (Although when I'm in NYC I love to get the Sunday NYTimes in paper form, but I digress.)  Their book section has a bunch of best seller children's lists: children's series, children's chapter, children's paperbacks, graphic hardcover and paperback, manga, and children's picture books.  Chances are pretty good that you will be able to find something appealing on one of those lists.

One database that I use A LOT is Novelist.  You can find it on the Arrowhead website under Services for Library Patrons and then under Magazines, Newspapers, and other Databases.  If you're looking at it from your computer at home, you will need your library card number in order to access the database.  This database was one of the main reasons I memorized my card number.  I use it all the time.  It's a handy tool for kids and adults alike.  There's a tab for age group on the left hand side, with a listing of recommended titles by genre.  H-A-N-D-Y!!  There's also a section for ages 8-adult with titles selected by other books you like.  If you like. . .The Lightning Thief. . .here are 15 or more other books you might like.  Seriously, how does this database not get more attention?  I love it.

By far, the easiest of these ways to find a book is to ask a librarian.  Or a library worker (technically, I'm not a librarian.)  They can be your best asset.  

Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him.
Maya Angelou

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