Finding the perfect book or two for the young people in your life can be a daunting experience. Bookstore shelves are overflowing with tall books and tiny books, books that tell tales of faraway princesses and books about animals both cute and exotic, even books that sing, talk, and sparkle!
How does one choose?
In the article “A Holiday Gift Book Buying Guide for Your Family,” librarian Natacha Luzzi offers these tips:
- Find out what the child or teen has read already. Ask them what authors they like to read.
- Discover the subjects and topics that interest them.
- Find out if they prefer fiction or nonfiction, fantasy or reality.
- Don't be afraid to ask your neighborhood children's librarian or children's books seller for suggestions and advice.
- Read your local newspaper's book section. Many newspapers and magazines feature book suggestions this time of year.
- Be consumer savvy. The books with biggest marketing budgets are not necessarily the best books for you child or teen. And conversely, a book you've never heard of may contain the story that changes your child’s or teen's life. Natacha says, "Just because a book jacket may look promising does not mean the story is going to live up to it. We all fall victim at one time or another to 'judging a book by its cover.'"
- Take into consideration the content and age recommendation. I think great care needs to be taken, especially if a young reader is at a higher reading level. Even though the child can read the material the content is not always appropriate.
- No one is ever too old for a picture book!!
- Consider all possibilities: great literature and fun, entertaining books. Says Natacha, "Think of books in terms of chocolate mousse and a Hershey kiss. There are moments for both!"
Reading Rockets Buying Guide Makes Recommendations for Kids 4 Through 9
If you prefer to walk into the bookstore with a list in hand, be sure to check out Reading Rockets’ fabulous annual Books as Gifts Buying Guide! This year’s buying guide includes a carefully selected collection of books so engaging the TV is happily turned off and the iPod and other electronic games are put away.
Reading Lists for Older Kids
If you are looking for a book to treat an older child, be sure to check out the Young Adult Library Services Association's list of the 2011 Best Books for Young Adults, which includes dozens of fiction and nonfiction titles. You may also want to peruse AdLit.org's expert list of Great Books for Teens, which includes themed lists with categories such as Baseball Books, Fantasy, Multicultural Stories, Poetry, and Romance & Relationships.
One Additional Recommendation
Consider Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out, an award-winning anthology includes original poetry, historical fiction, nonfiction, and primary source materials about American history using the White House as a unifying theme. It's a perfect book for kids of all ages, families, teachers, classrooms--anyone who loves art and history and literature!
Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David McCullough introduces this creative tour de force, in which 108 renowned authors and illustrators have donated their poetry, prose, and art to help advance the cause of young people’s literacy and historical literacy. The illustrations, essays, short stories, presidential letters, personal reflections, and historical accounts in Our White House inform and entertain, offering a window on more than 200 years of American history.
Our White House is now available in a paperback edition and includes a NEW poem by Nikki Grimes and coordinating illustration by A. G. Ford about President Obama's inauguration. Look for the hardcover and paperback editions at a bookstore new you!