I've been thinking a lot lately about ways to make it easier for parents to learn about high quality children's books. There are lots of wonderful individual blogs that I follow, but I realized that I do know of several good sources at which people can find out about multiple books at one time. Here are a few highlights:
- The Children's Book Review Wiki. This is a site at which a number of children's book bloggers (including myself) archive their reviews. You need a login ID to add links to the archive, but anyone can browse the links. You can browse books by category, or search for particular books. Clicking through the review links takes you to the original contributor's blog. The nice thing about this site is that visitors have access to thousands of reviews. The downside, then, is that it can be a bit overwhelming in terms of volume. And it's not a push system at all, but rather a reference to be searched.
- The Cybils blog, specifically the Cybils shortlists. The Children's and Young Adult Bloggers' Literary Awards are given in ten categories, ranging from in age from picture books through young adult, and in genres poetry through graphic novels. Each year, panels of bloggers come up with 5-7 book shortlists in each category (some of the categories are further separated by age range). These shortlists are a fabulous resource for parents. The Cybils selection criteria requires that the books be both well-written and kid-friendly. Shortlists since 2006 are available on the website. Printable lists can be found in the right-hand sidebar.
- Poetry Friday and Nonfiction Monday. The Kidlitosphere has two weekly themed events: Nonfiction Monday and Poetry Friday. Bloggers are encouraged to add links to book reviews or other relevant posts to each theme (e.g. an original poem), and many participate each week. While the hosts change each week, you can find the 2013 schedules via the preceding links (maintained, respectively, by Anastasia Suen and Mary Lee Hahn). This week's Nonfiction Monday roundup is hosted at Sally's Bookshelf. Last week's Poetry Friday was hosted at My Juicy Little Universe.
- Monthly Themed Carnivals. Zoe Toft at Playing by the Book hosts a monthly themed carnival, requesting children's book reviews on a particular topic. This month, she is looking for books about Ancient Civilizations, especially Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece and the Romans.
- The Children's Bookshelf. Another weekly, cross-blog event that is a great source of children's book reviews is The Children's Bookshelf, hosted by What Do We Do All Day?, No Twiddle Twaddle, Smiling Like Sunshine, My Little Bookcase, The Picture Book Review, Sprout’s Bookshelf, MeMeTales, and Mouse Grows, Mouse Learns. Bloggers are encouraged to link book reviews, literacy, and book activity posts. There are usually lots of interesting entries.
- Charlotte's Middle Grade Science Fiction and Fantasy Roundup. One individually-curated roundup that I wanted to mention is Charlotte's Library's weekly roundup of middle grade science fiction and fantasy. For this post, bloggers don't have to submit entries (though they can add their links in the comments). Instead, Charlotte scours the blogs each week for middle grade fantasy and science fiction reviews, author/illustrator information, and other tidbits of interest to fans of the genre. If you have a child who enjoys this genre, Charlotte's roundups offer a treasure trove of new book ideas each week.
There are lots of other great sources of information about children's books available, of course. But these are a few that offer multiple ideas (sometimes many ideas) in a single location. I hope you find them useful. I'll highlight others in the future.
This post © 2013 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved.