Friday, July 17, 2009

Resources for parents of readers or future readers

Tell me if you've ever been in this situation. Your child has recently become addicted to The Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborne. She's read #1-12 but wants to see what happens with Jack and Annie so she must, absolutely must read #13 next. Or say your son is obsessed with insects and you'd love it you could find an adventure series with insects as the main characters. Or you'd love to collect all the Curious George books and are curious (har har) about how many there are. If you've ever been in this position, then boy howdy, are you going to be glad you read this blog today.

If you don't have this blog in your reader and you have children, you need to sign up. These ladies know their stuff and you can read the contributors' biographies here. Plus it's PBS, so it's like educational or whatever. Anyway, I've gotten hundreds of ideas from the Booklights blog's inception. So many ideas I cannot even use them all. I have two voracious readers and with these summer days leaving us with a lot of down time, we have to make great use of our city library. My girls would like it if I went to the library three or four times a week, but that's not happenin'. So when we do go, I like to make sure they're making it worth the time we're there.

One resource I got from the Booklights blog is the series books database. The post about it is here, or you can just go straight to the database here. When my kids are hungry for books, we go to the database, search either by subject or author or title and find some books to put on hold or look for while we're at the library. They love cruising the database, trolling for books. Each book or series is categorized by being either Juvenile Easy, which usually means picture book but is listed as birth through 2nd grade, Juvenile which is 2nd through 6th, and Young Adult which is 6th through 12th. It really depends on your child's interest and reading ability which category to go with. My older girls are Juvenile category types, while my younger two girls are definitely Juvenile Easy.

Thank goodness for Booklights so I can read up on series books that feature adventurous girls, or good audiobooks for roadtrips, or whatever else. Try it out and love it.

The other resource I've rediscovered lately is a book I reviewed a while back, Honey for a Child's Heart by Gladys Hunt. I was getting tired of my oldest daughter's book choices that included Goldie the Sunshine Fairy by Daisy Meadows. Please let that be a nom de plume. These kinds of books are the literary equivalent of cotton candy and I figured it was time for something a little more healthy. I think it's good for her to be reading and not to get too picky on her choices, but I sat her down with Honey and asked her to write down five titles of books from each of the chapters for intermediate readers. "Just find some books that have interesting summaries," I told her. I didn't tell her which books to pick or give her suggestions, but on her own she picked Caddie Woodlawn, Where the Red Fern Grows, The Call of the Wild, A Wrinkle in Time and other classics. I'm going to try to read each one along with her, which I don't often do because she reads so much more than I can keep up with. But I'll make the time for these books.

Honey also has lists of picture books, easy reader books, and some young adult novels. Hunt published a book for adult women readers called Honey for a Woman's Heart, which I have vowed to select some books out of for myself. There's also Honey for a Teen's Heart, but I'm going to wait a few years on that one. It's more full of tips on how to communicate with your teen through literature, which sounds awesome to me. I've got a few years to work up to that. My next project is to find some other moms who are interested in forming a mother-daughter book club. Doesn't that sound like fun?

Hope these resources help and either motivates your readers or keeps them occupied for a few hours at a time on a hot summer's day.


  1. This is great! Thanks for the blog recommendation; I subscribed and am enjoying reading some of the previous posts. And I've often wished for a handy series database, and so I'll have to bookmark that link, too!!

  2. Wow! This is fantastic! Thanks for sharing these great resources! I need to push my oldest a little more. She likes to stay where she's comfortable (ahem, Magic Tree House) but she could do so much more. And my 5-year-old has yet to get excited about reading so I'm hoping to find something that sets him on fire.