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Are you and your child frustrated with trying to chose books from a list of recommended titles? First, find a reviewer who suggests a book you both like, then see what else that author recommends. We think these are the best guides available on Amazon or Abebooks, each quite different. Look through to find one that fits your family.

    Basic Guides          More About Children's Literature          Specialized Booklists    

    Good Old Booklists                     Online Book Reviews    

Reading Together by FrankensteinThe Best  Book to Begin With!

Reading Together: Everything You Need to Know to Raise a Child Who Loves to Read  by Diane Waxer Frankenstein (2009) THE perfect New Baby Gift! A well-loved book by an authority in family reading and children. 100 books, well described, followed by ways for a parent (or teacher) to interact with the child as he reads or you read aloud. If a parent started out with this book, they would be all set to choose books from the lists below. Amazon price $6 (reduced from $16, buy a few for presents!)


Basic Guides


Essential Guide To Children's Books by SilveyThe Essential Guide to Children's Books and Their Creators by Anita Silvey (2002) Good reading!  A book list followed by a well chosen series of short entries on books authors and genres, by a former editor of the Hornbook and an authority on children's literature. Amazon price $15.34 (reduced from 17.95)  Silvey has also written 100 Best Books for Children: A Parent's Guide to Making the Right Choices for Your Young Reader, Toddler to Preteen (2005) but we get a little tired of lists of "100 best books" and "right choices". There are supplementary lists included, actually, so the book might be right for you if you can get past the title. Amazon price $9.95 (on a 4 for 3)
Read-Aloud Handbook by TreleaseThe Read-Aloud Handbook: Sixth Edition by Jim Trelease (2009) A revised and updated version of this well loved book with excellent advice about bringing children and books together and reading aloud with children. Trelease presents comments on selected books, which include clusters of related titles.This book and Anita Silvey's book are the basic current, comprehensive booklists on this page and they are both good ones. It's a matter of personal choice, based on the author's tone. Amazon price $9.46 (reduced from 16.00)


More About Children's Literature

Also see the Collector's Corner on this site.


A Family of Readers by SuttonA Family of Readers: The Book Lover's Guide to Children's and Young Adult Literature by Roger Sutton and Martha Parravano. (2010) Although this book mentions hundreds of children's books along the way, it is really a book about modern children's literature, rather than a Guide. Sutton edits the Horn Book. Amazon price $13.91 (reduced from 22.00) See also our Books for Collectors for A Beginning Children's Book Reference Library for under $25.00 +Shipping. And other books suggested on the Collector's List.


Specialized Booklists


Book Fiesta by Pat MoraBook Fiesta!: Celebrate Children's Day/Book Day; Celebremos El dia de los ninos/El dia de los libros by Pat Mora, illustrated by Rafael Lopez. Written in Spanish and English for Dia, Children's Book Day, which falls on the same day as Mexico's Day of the Child.  Not really a booklist, but an inspiration, which I came across while looking for a book of Latino children's books. Written by one of our favorite authors, with beautiful illustrations and a rainbow of little children reading books. Mora and Lopez have also collaborated on Yum! Mmmm! Que Rico! Americas' Sproutings , a vibrant picture book about foods native to the Americas. What a treat!  Take a look at Pat Mora's webpages on Dia . Amazon price $12.23 (reduced from 17.99)
Books That Build Character by KilpatrickBooks That Build Character: A Guide to Teaching Your Child Moral Values Through Stories by Gregory Wolfe, Susanne Wolfe, Robert Coles (1994) A new copy of a wonderful older book that stays in print, used copies easy to find. Not nearly as didactic as the title sounds, an excellent list of literature, well described, that takes the ethical concerns and questions of children seriously. With a preface by Robert Coles. Amazon price $10.64 (reduced from 14.00)
Black Books Galore!: Guide to More Great African American Children's Books by Donna Rand (2001) Written by parents, for parents, with extensive lists and cross references. The authors organized Book Fairs across the country, and these books come from their own family experiences and their experience with children and parents. Amazon price $18.95. There is also a 1998 book with additional listings, and one for Girls (2001) and Boys (2000).
1001 Children's Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up by Eccleshare1001 Children's Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up by Julia Eccleshare (2009) If you and your children are ready for some new book adventures, this English book will be just right. International in scope, but about 3/4 of the titles are available here, so that should be plenty! Amazon price $24.39 (reduced from 36.95)
1001 libros infantiles que hay que leer antes de crecer (Spanish Edition) Included are books from Spain and Latin America. However, for North Americans, this doesn't have enough listings of the many beautiful Latino/Chicano books that have been published in the last 20 years. I do not know if this is just a translation or a reconceived book. Amazon price $31.96 (reduced from 49.95)
Best Jewish Books for Children and Teens (Jps Guide) by Linda R. Silver (2010) Eleven chapters recommending fiction and nonfiction, each with an introduction clearly stating Silver's criteria for book selection: Jewish Rites and Customs, Holidays, The Bible (collections and individual stories), Folklore, History, Immigrant Life, The Holocaust and World War II, Israel and Zionism, Contemporary Issues, Famous Jews, Judaism and Other Religions. National Jewish Book and Sydney Taylor Award winner Lists, Recommended Reading Levels for all books, Title, Author, Illustrator, and Subject indexes. Intelligent, well-written, selective reviews,  a perfect present for a young Jewish family and also very useful for parents of different faiths, and for teachers of children and teens.
Honey for a Child's Heart by Gladys Hunt. (2002) A well-loved book from a conservative Christian family perspective, but with many listings that all will enjoy. Hunt has also written similar books for different age groups. Honey for a Teenager's Heart, etc. Amazon price $10.39 (reduced from 12.99)


Good Old Booklists
These books can be purchased directly from Amazon in new condition. You can also find some of the books below second-hand. If you are going to spend more than a few dollars on a used book, check as well, as their descriptions are more detailed and it's easier to contact the seller.

Choosing Books for Children: A COMMONSENSE GUIDE by Betsy Hearne and Deborah Stevenson (2000) Here's the link to this thoughtful book, very parent friendly and one of our favorites but sadly not updated. (Double check the confusing price listings)
NY Times Parent's Guide to the Best Books for ChildrenThe New York Times Parent's Guide to the Best Books for Children: 3rd Edition Revised and Updated by Eden Ross Lipson (2000) A very useful book wide margins for notes. Well indexed by Titles, Authors, Illustrators, Age Appropriateness, Read-aloud, and Special Subject. All in all a knowlegeable selection of basic books, which you could also buy used and supplement with the internet. Amazon price $13.29 (reduced from $19.99)
The World of Children's Books by Michele LandsbergMIchele Landsberg
In our opinion, the best guide to children's books. Literate. Opinionated. A treasury of more than 350 great children's books and a beautifully written essay and guide by a Canadian critic who knows her books well and holds passionate convictions about children's literature. It's one I always pick up for a dollar to slip into a customer's package. Published under three titles: The World of Children's Books: A Guide to Choosing the Best. (1990) Reading for the Love of It: Best Books for Young Readers (1987) Michele Landsberg's Guide to Children's Books (3rd edition, 1986) Use Abebooks for this one. Amazon's spellings are completely confused. About $1.


Online Book Reviews

Use these with the second hand copies of the older books above and you'll have a great homemade guide!

link to hornbook newsletterNotes from the Horn Book, a free monthly electronic magazine, is  "perfect for parents and anyone else who is looking for good new books for children and teenagers. Each monthly issue features interviews with leading writers and illustrators, brief recommendations of noteworthy titles, and the latest news from the children's book world. It's written and published by Horn Book editors, the most trusted authorities in the field."

Indiebound  Indibound, a Google supported online association of independent booksellers, replaced Book Sense in 2008. Through them you can order most books from these lists. For the most current children's books! A list of the bestsellers at independent booksellers sold during the last week!  (scroll down) Also, the Indiebound list of recommended children's books by booksellers during the year, IndieNext which comes out in the spring and fall.

Chinaberry This catalogue, which amounts to a free magazine, has excellent selections and reviews. Their website is pretty but has no advanced search and few filters, so I would subscribe to the catalogue as well and use them together. You might also enjoy their thoughtful book, Under the Chinaberry Tree, Books and Inspirations for Mindful Parenting (2002) which is available on their website, and probably on Amazon. Mostly addresses picture books, many more appealing to little girls.

The Horn Book Magazine, launched in 1924: "independent, opinionated, and stylish, The Horn Book Magazine has long been essential for everyone who cares about children's and young adult literature. Our articles are lively, our reviews are insightful, our editorials are always sharp. We have gathered current and archival material to give you a taste of what we've been offering since 1924. Dig in", Lots of current and older reviews. A subscription to the Horn Books really makes you part of history. Discounted subscriptions to both the Magazine and the Guide are available.

For teacher groups, schools, and librarians,  Its sister publication, The Horn Book Guide, is strictly reviews — a concise, authoritative, and ingeniously indexed publication that critiques and ranks more than 2,000 books in each semi-annual issue. The Horn Book Guide Online contains "more than 80,000 authoritative, concise, and fully searchable reviews — nearly twenty years of the best, the worst, and everything else in children's and young adult publishing — are a click away. Individual subscriptions start at just $7 for 7 days. Multi-user subscriptions are available."

Links to Children's Literature sites
There are so many of these out there! To get started, explore the links listed on our Booklinks for Collectors



Book review website

What a helpful list! Let me be so bold as to add one more - my book review site: As a mom of 3 toddlers myself, all the books are "kid tested" as we read together each day. I also add activities to do following the books, which increases comprehension, and gives us moms some new ideas. Thanks for checking it out! :-)

Loved this site..

Excellent reviews and a broad selection for toddlers and early childhood, all well done.

(Note: Please don't propose a link unless you are very sure the site is well done, appropriate, and, very, very important,  presents an aspect of Reading with Children that's new to this page. Beautiful Books happened to meet all the criteria but I'm not likely to publish many links or refer many other sites, or books:  a major goal with this page is to keep it short. Look on our Collector Links for more comprehensive sites, especially Carolhurst  and Children's Book Central , which hasn't been updated in a while but has a wealth of information. (Thanks)

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