Quick Picks for Kids
By Jennifer Bergen, Program Manager
We all know kids need good books that inspire them, amuse them, and spark their curiosity. With library stacks closed from browsing, it can be a struggle to find new children’s books for every child in your family. Most kids are not reading the New York Times’ bestseller lists or listening to author podcasts (although I know you hardcore readers are out there!). That’s where the expertise of children’s librarians can be of help.
“Quick Picks for Kids” is a library service we offer for parents or older kids to call and speak with a children’s librarian, Mon.-Fri. between 10:00-4:00, and we will put together a pile of books to suit your children’s interests and reading level. Using the “holds” system already in place, we can pull up to 15 books per library card. You will be notified when your stack for your super-readers is ready to be picked up in the library lobby.
Why ask a librarian? This can save you time, especially if you or your kids do not have specific titles in mind. Librarians may ask about books your child has read and enjoyed, which helps us find “read-alikes.” For example, if your child has enjoyed the “Dog Man” books by Dav Pilkey, we might pull “Rowley Jefferson’s Awesome Friendly Adventure” by Jeff Kinney. This spinoff of the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” series is told from the little brother’s point of view and includes a ridiculous misadventure he is writing with his brother’s help. “Dog Man” readers might also go the route of “Zo Zo Zombie” by Yasunari Nagatoshi, a manga (Japanese style) graphic novel with outrageous humor similar to Pilkey’s stories.
Reading level is another important aspect librarians will inquire about when choosing titles for your child. A child who is still learning to read and is having success with Mo Willems’s popular “Elephant & Piggie” books might like Jan Thomas’s silly stories about cow, duck and friends, or “Pete the Cat” books from the “I Can Read” series. Other go-to authors at this level are Ethan Long and David Milgrim for early vocabulary and sight words. Young readers can go through a stack of these books in a day or two sometimes, so load up.
Maybe you have a reluctant reader at home who complains about reading time or always finds other things to do. The question is, what are those other things you child loves to do? We can find some great nonfiction books about Legos, art, pets, video games or athletes. Tie-ins to popular TV shows, movies and games can draw a reader in, even if it doesn’t interest the parent at all. Maybe they want to read the “Lego Star Wars Character Encyclopedia” from beginning to end. That will include some unfamiliar words building their vocabulary, and complex thinking when they relate what they read to other information they already know.
Does your child like a variety of books on many topics? Perfect! Librarians have been paying attention to the new books coming in, and they always have a list of favorites in their heads, so being asked to just pull a bunch of good books is like a little gift.
Young readers may have missed out on books recent publications like “Fire Truck vs. Dragon,” or “The Guide to Minecraft Dungeons,” or the new series “Unicorn Diaries” by Rebecca Elliott (author of “Owl Diaries”.) We don’t want you or your kids to miss out anymore. Please, make our day, and ask us to find some library books that your kids will love.