Sunday, April 01, 2007

Books on books, read-alouds, and reading!

Recently, I've become an avid reader of books about books.

You know the kind of book I mean -- the ones by Anita Silvey: The Essential Guide to Children's Books and Their Creators, 100 Best Books for Children, 500 Great Books for Teens, or this one from the New York Times, The New York Times Parent's Guide to the Best Books for Children. Kathleen Odean also has some wonderful volumes: Great Books About Things Kids Love, Great Books for Boys, and Great Books for Girls. Rick Ayers and Amy Crawford co-edited a book that's also a keeper: Great Books for High School Kids.

These are the kind of books you want to keep handy when your kids ask about a book or you're trying to feed some new fascination that your son or daughter has decided is SO IMPORTANT! Some of these books I've heard of or read to the kids -- but these volumes give good critiques of the books and further information I need. They also discuss books I've never heard of or topics I'd never have thought to research. These are really great books to have on my reference shelf -- and they're all sitting in my Amazon shopping cart for when the budget allows me to own them. For now I have to rely on my library copies.

But I just found one for which I'm willing to break the budget to place on my shelf NOW. Valerie and Walter's Best Books for Children is an absolutely fascinating, opinionated, full-of-information read. I'm having such fun going through this tome and finding all kinds of books for ALL my kids -- teens and toddlers alike. The authors -- one an independent bookstore owner from California and the other a media specialist/read-aloud guy also from California -- have collaborated to bring the reader of this book insightful, honest and often humorous descriptions of books that they have found WORK with kids. These guys know: one sells books successfully to and for kids since 1979 and the other makes his living (and is able to live in San Francisco based on his work) visiting schools and reading aloud to kids and talking about books to kids and adults.

The book is split into levels based on audience listening age-level as well as reader level. And the book goes far beyond just the books that they consider the best of the millions of Children's books out there. In addition to the book synopses and opinions, the authors have lists in the back, categorizing books by themes or content. Throughout the book are scattered, like seeds upon the wind, quotes from authors, illustrators and others about WHY reading is so critical for children, how best to encourage reading and read-alouds, and what you should be pushing or not.

Now, I don't agree with everything these two folks say -- I disagree on some of the politically correct ideas and books encouraged, but I appreciate their descriptions and opinions so I know exactly where they're coming from and why they recommend a certain book. By and large, though, this is definitely the best book on books I've found (and I've found ALOT!).

If there are any books on books you, dear reader, would like to recommend then please, feel free to leave me a comment and I'll check it out! THANKS!

1 comment:

max said...

This summer, let 'em READ a movie---------------------------------------------------

Several young readers have reported that reading one of my action-adventures & mysteries is like being in an exciting or scary movie. This comes from my extensive background of dramatic film and video production. My books are first targeted for boys ages 8 - 13. But girls like the books also.

Books are ranked by Accelerated Reader. They can be ordered from Baker & Taylor and Books ordered directly from the author will be signed. Email for details.

NEWSPAPER CAPER, TERROR AT WOLF LAKE, NORTH WOODS POACHERS, MOUNTAIN CABIN MYSTERY, BIG RIG RUSTLERS, SECRET OF ABBOTT'S CAVE & LEGEND OF THE WHITE WOLF, are compared by readers and reviewers to Tom Sawyer, The Hardy Boys, Huck Finn, Nancy Drew, Tom Swift, Scooby-Doo, Lemony Snicket, and adventure author Jack London.

So this summer turn off the TV, turn off the computer, and let 'em READ a movie

Max Elliot Anderson

Author Reviews Books for Boys blog
Ranked by Accelerated Reader...Distributed by Baker & Taylor