Read On! Finding good books for kids

Recently, I had a great conversation with another mom at the library about what books our kids like to read, what restrictions we place on their reading choices, and how we help them find books that make everyone happy. The other mom and I don’t have the same guidelines for our kids’ reading choices, but we both know that the decisions we’ve made work best for our kids and our families and wouldn’t ever try to impose our rules on another family. We do, however, use the same quick research techniques when helping our kids decide what is appropriate for them. 

We both like to read the book’s summary, look at the publisher’s intended audience, and try to find any professional reviews we can (I tend not to trust consumer reviews found on sites like Amazon or GoodReads unless there are a lot of reviews). 

The Library’s online catalog is a good place to start finding information about a particular book. It will give you a quick summary, reading and interest levels, and subject headings. Most of the books in our collections for young people also have the AR levels and points listed in the catalog too. 

For professional reviews, I look at the “Editorial Reviews” section of the book’s Amazon listing. I also chat with Chris from The Book Exchange here in town. He has access to a lot of good resources. If all else fails, I’ll read the book first. 

Explaining the guidelines for appropriateness to kids is an essential step in this process. This helps them understand our decisions and it gives them boundaries when making choices for themselves. 

There is so much content out there for kids to enjoy, it’s not difficult to find a replacement. The staff at your library is always happy to help you find books that are appropriate for your kids, so let us know how we can help. 

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