Friday, July 13, 2007
Picture books for picky kids
Jody commented in the last post that she selected books on bedtime by browsing the shelves at her library. While browsing the shelves is certainly one way to find books on a particular subject, there are other ways for parents and librarians alike to find a stronger body of books. By merely browsing the shelves, you risk ending up with books that don't represent the best of what's available. The children's literature publishing business is booming right now, and although that means more books for children are available than ever before, not all of them are worth spending much time on. And especially for parents: if your child decides she loves a book and wants you to read it over and over--it should be something you enjoy, too!
There are some great resources for librarians who are looking for picture books on a particular theme, and A to Zoo by Carolyn W. Lima & John A. Lima is probably the best. The current edition lists almost 23,000 picture books by 1200 subjects, with indexes cross-referencing books by title, author and illustrator.
While A to Zoo can be used by parents as well, to do so would probably be more time consuming than it's worth. Parents do have the option of asking their friendly neighborhood children's librarian, who probably gets asked about books on specific themes quite often. Many libraries also maintain lists of picture books on various themes, either in print in the children's department or online. Two libraries with good online lists are the Chapel Hill Public Library and (my local and beloved library) the Monroe County Public Library. And the Waterboro Public Library in Maine has an amazing round-up of booklists by theme, covering topics from cats to trains and everything in between--and it even includes links to lists on bedtime stories!