Posted by: ad65shorty | October 21, 2008

Choosing books

Through the years, I’ve had the question asked to me numerous times in various ways: “How do you choose books?” “When you walk into a bookstore, how do you know which book to buy or even to look at? I get so overwhelmed!” “What do you look for in a book?” Now I’m not a pro by all means, but this is what I do (and I actually had to reflect on this for a moment because it’s so natural for me now).

The first thing I look for is the pictures. Books that have simple pictures for little ones, books that are super colorful (for the most part) for older ones. Pictures are KEY when picking out a picture book. If it’s attractive to you, it more than likely will be for them, too. Here’s an easy find: Any book that has a Caldecott Award is going to have unique pictures. That’s what the Caldecott Award is for: pictures. I always teach my students about this, because you know you’ll get a book with amazing pictures that way.

The second thing I look for is the storyline. If it’s interesting to you, it’ll be interesting for them. I shared a favorite with my son earlier today, and we had a blast talking about the funny things that were going on in the story. I found the book silly so he did, too.

I have to put a plug in here for non-fiction. I think we, as adults, avoid reading non-fiction to our children because we’re afraid it’ll be over their heads. I say, never underestimate your child’s ability to understand something; sometimes you just have to explain it in simpler terms. I always try to introduce kids to big words or adult cliche’s. It expands their vocabulary in many ways. And I have discovered through the years, that children LOVE non-fiction. They love the pictures, which are usually photographs, more than anything. And if you shop around a bit, you can find non-fiction books made especially for the younger clan (under the age of 8). Kids are like sponges and soak things up; they love learning how the world works. Introduce them to lots of different things. You may find a new interest this way (I have seen kids who thought they were only interested in cuddly animals soon discover that they loved frogs; and the life-cycle of a frog is so fascinating anyway).

So, I hope this helps a little. I’m not sure I shared anything novel, but maybe it’ll help you in your search for the perfect book.

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