Each time I visit my local library I feel like I’ve hit the jackpot! My first stop is the children’s library and their selection of new books. I have found several wonderful stories there. Then I move to the picture books, armed with excellent resources for choosing good books by Kathleen Odean, Chair of the 2002 Newbery Award Committee. I use these books a lot to broaden my scope of great authors and illustrators. Sometimes we get “stuck” and choose the same books or authors. I wanted to share these guides with you:

Great Books for Babies and Toddlers: More Than 500 Recommended Books for Your Child’s First Three Years:

This book has a wonderful introduction on how to read to your baby or toddler, extending books into their life experience, and tips for parents including tricks to help the reluctant listener stay interested in a read-aloud. It includes nursery rhymes, fingerplays and songs but is predominantly an annotated list of picture-story books, including appropriate ages.

Great Books for Girls: More Than 600 Books to Inspire Today’s Girls and Tomorrow’s Women:

In Odean’s forward she cites the criteria for her selections–stories about “strong girls and women” who were “creative, capable, articulate, and intelligent.” Her 600 choices are broken down into picture-story books, folktales, books for beginning readers, middle readers and older readers. Within the ability levels, choices are broken down even further by topic under fiction and biography and nonfiction. Her annotations and age suggestions are very helpful in matching books of interest to your child. Make sure you get the revised edition from 2002.

Great Books for Boys:

Understanding that boys face different challenges than girls, Odean has aimed at her male market. Again she annotates each selection, giving appropriate age ranges, and dividing her entries by reading ability and genre.

So next time you go to the library or your favorite book store, look for these resources or take yours along!