How to Find Books Your Child Will Love

When my kids were younger, people would often ask me how I found books to read with them. There are tons of fantastic resources out there for book ideas: 

You can look at the booklists at Read Aloud Revival or Heritage Mom, or countless other book blogs. 

You can get a copy of the Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease or How to Get Your Child to Love Reading by Esme Raji Codell. 

Or you can use awards lists to find great books: Cybils Awards or the American Library Association (complete lists of all the Newbery and Caldecott Medalists and other awards) are fantastic resources. 

I used all of those to find books when my kids were young, but my favorite way to find books was to go to the library and pull a bunch of books off the new bookshelves, take them home, read them together, and see what we liked. So for this month’s list, I did just that. Here are some books I recently discovered on my library’s new bookshelf. I selected about a dozen books at random off the shelves, and these are the ones I liked best. Give it a try and see what treasures you discover! 

Patchwork by Matt De La Pena is a beautiful book with poem-like text that looks at all the different possibilities inside each kid. A dancer doesn’t have to just be defined by dance but can also be a coder. A basketball player might become a poet. 

Hot Dog by Doug Salati is an almost wordless picture book that follows a dog and its owner who escape the city on a hot day to go to the beach. Young kids can tell you the story from the detailed illustrations. Warning: You will want to go to the beach after reading this, even in January. 

Nikki Giovanni is one of my favorite authors for children. She also is a fantastic poet. The Library is a gorgeous book that looks at a little girl’s love for reading and the world a library can open up for a child. 

Books Aren’t for Eating by Carlie Sorosiak is another ode to reading but takes a slightly sillier approach. Leopold, the goat, owns a bookstore and loves to pick out books for his customers. But one day, another goat walks in, and much to Leopold’s dismay, only wants to eat the books. Leopold has to try and find the perfect book to convince the new goat that books are indeed for reading and not eating. 

Anne and her Tower of Giraffes: The Adventurous Life of the First Giraffologist by Karlin Gray is one of those fantastic picture book biographies about someone who I never learned about in school but wish I had. Anne Innis Dagg was born in 1933 in Toronto and fell in love with giraffes on a trip to the zoo. She went on to receive degrees in biology and animal behavior and then, in 1956, became the first Western person to study wild animal behavior in Africa (before Jane Goodall or Dian Fossey). 

Sincerely, Emerson: A Girl, Her Letter, and the Helpers All Around Us by Emerson Weber is a more modern inspirational tale. Emerson Weber is an 11-year-old living in South Dakota who wrote a letter to her mail carrier thanking him for helping deliver her letters. He then told other people at the post office about her, and they wrote to her, thanking her for noticing them. It’s a good reminder about the small ways everyone, even kids, can make an impact right in their communities.