I love Good Night Moon and The Little Engine that could as much as the next guy but I love new books even more. While my girls read many of the books that I did growing up, I believe they are readers because of the current titles that I always keep in their hands. There are classics for sure but there are also many books that are now dated. And some children pick up on a dated title faster than you could believe possible. I have a theory that many kids who find books boring have just not been given the right book. Many children today are different than we were growing up and those kids should have different books.
Like many tasks that are important, keeping a home library current can be a lot of work. Thousands upon thousands of children’s books are published every year. There are many great titles out there but also a lot that are worth skipping. Finding the beauties takes time but I have a system that I have come to rely on that makes the process a bit easier.
Follow…blogs and tweets written by experts in the field of children’s literacy. Some of these people are teachers or librarians but I find their recommendations work just as well for families. A few of my favorites include Erica at What Do We Do All Day, Jennifer Robinson, Betsy at a Fuse 8 Production, Jules at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast, Colby Sharp and Travis Jonker at 100 Scope Notes, Mr. Schu at Watch, Connect, Read.
Read…the two big children’s literacy journals, The Horn Book and School Library Journal. I receive hard copies of each of these but they both have great websites as well. They both recommend tons of great titles and the best of the best receive stars so you know they are going to be good.
Use Goodreads…The only downside to collecting titles this way is that reviewers tend to talk about books that aren’t yet released. For a long time, I lost track of books that I was dying to read. I would write titles in notebooks or on scraps of paper and then loose track. I still struggle a bit with this but Goodreads has helped a lot. I now have a virtual book shelf title ‘To-Be-Read’ and I go there every few weeks to see which titles are now on the real shelves.
Request…titles from your local library or visit your local bookstore. Our library system has an amazing interlibrary loan system. It is rare that I request a book that I am unable to get. By doing this, I am able to pick up a stack of quality books from the library each time I visit. When there are books that we love, I will visit our local bookstore so that we can own new and current favorites.
I’d love to hear how others keeps their home libraries alive. Please share tips and tricks!