Recommended Reading

Q. My local service club would like to give children at the elementary school in town a book this holiday season.  Most of the children are African American or Hispanic, and they are in grades from kindergarten to sixth grade.  What can you suggest?

A. First and foremost, I'd suggest talking with the school librarian or your local public librarian to see what's popular in your town, or what books are on the local summer reading lists.  In addition, you might want to review the lists linked from the ALA Library Fact Sheet 23: Recommended Reading. This fact sheet contains links to the most recent book lists in the news--especially award winners, followed by additional resources grouped by audience: books for children, young adults/teens, and adults. There are also links to lists for choosing reference books such as atlases and dictionaries, and for finding "read-alikes" for topics such as Harry Potter and Gossip Girl.

In addition, your local library might have some  "reader's advisory" tools which have listings of many titles arranged by topic, grade level, etc.  However, these may not be as recently published and thus, possibly not available in the quantities you need.



An excellent resource for children’s book recommendations is the Cooperative Children’s Book Center based in Madison, WI but servicing librarians and educators nationwide (if not beyond).  One can search for recommendations based on the children’s age, theme or ethnic/cultural orientation.   There is always a featured "Book of the Week." Also helpful are their numerous podcasts, background information on authors and illustrators, intellectual freedom resources, and links to various book lists, award winners, review journals and literacy resources.  When it comes to children’s literature, they are genuine experts.