Thursday, October 27, 2011

Choosing the Best Books for Kids

Author Dorie McCullough Lawson Recommends Parents, Guardians, and Teachers Give Kids the Very BEST Books!

At this year's National Book Festival, which took place last month on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., author Dorie McCullough Lawson told the audience that even though many reading advocates recommend giving kids anything to read--as long as they read--she disagrees with that advice; Lawson believes we should be giving our kids only the very BEST books to read!

But how do you find the BEST books?!

Start at Your Local Library!
The first place to find the best books is your local library. Introduce yourself to the librarian in the children's room and ask him or her what books he or she would recommend for your children or students. While visiting the library, check out some of the authoritative books that recommend titles and reading strategies for kids, such as 100 Best Books for Children: A Parent's Guide to Making the Right Choices for Your Young Reader, Toddler to Preteen, as well as 500 Great Books for Teens, both by children's literature expert Anita Silvey. Another excellent book to check out is A Family of Readers: The Book Lover's Guide to Children's and Young Adult Literature by Roger Sutton and Martha V. Parravano, editors of The Horn Book.

Check the Experts on the Web!
A second place to find recommendations of great books for kids is the web! Take a few minutes and browse the following lists available from such authoritative sources as the NCBLA, Reading Rockets,, The Horn Book, and The New York Times:

The "Parent & Guardian Handbook" on features not only a list of reliable articles to help you develop life-long readers, but also themed reading lists such as American Heroes, Baseball, and Fantasy Beyond Harry Potter.  

The "Recommended Books for Kids" page on includes DOZENS of themed lists created by expert children's librarian Maria Salvadore. Here you'll find lists of books about bugs, holidays, art, monsters, and even the tooth fairy.

The "Great Books for Teens" page on offers themed lists for adolescents, that include such topics as Air & Space, dragons, Poetry, World War, and Romance & Relationships.

The Horn Book's "Recommended Books" page includes diverse lists, such as ghost stories, love stories, world religions, astronomy, and sports books. 

The New York Times Children's Book column reviews groups of books for children through young adult by subject. Be sure to check out the "bookshelves" titled NightFairy and Folk Tales, America, Farm, and Growing Up

Read Recommendations from Children's Literature Bloggers! 
One additional place to look for book recommendations is the realm of children's book bloggers. To help you navigate this diverse sea of information, the NCBLA has compiled a list of "Blogs That Inspire" in our Literacy Resource Treasure Chest, which includes direct links to blogs like Anita Silvey's Children's Book-A-Day Almanac and The Planet Esme: The Best New Children's Books from Esme's Shelf.

Dorie McCullough Lawson's most recent book is the picture book Tex (Trafalgar Square Books).  
Click here to read an interview with Dorie McCullough Lawson and discover her favorite books for kids!