Ask the Experts!

When the pipes burst under your house (as ours did this week), you call the plumber. When your transmission goes out, you naturally head to the mechanic.  And when you're looking for your next great book, it is just as natural to seek out the reading professionals -- your local librarians.

LP's own Mrs. Helton is a wonderful resource for all things literary.  She personally selects the books that find their way into our school library and hence our homes by keeping a close eye on library journals as well as local bookstores, like the Storyteller.  In future posts, we'll be talking about new books to the LP library this year, but rest assured, the collection is staying current.  There have been about 150 new books added in the first part of this year alone, including an LP Reads' favorite, "The Odious Ogre" by Norton Juster (author of "The Phantom Tollbooth" -- remember that one?).

While Mrs. Helton remains a fantastic resource, her expertise can only be sought during work hours, so what do you do if it is Saturday and your child has just finished the last reading-worthy book in the house and is wondering what s/he should read next?  Enter the Contra Costa Library system.  The local libraries have pulled together their staff picks and they also offer lists of recommended reading broken down by grade level.

At the Orinda libary, you will also find book lists organized in the following categories: Growing Up, Historical Fiction, Short Stories, Animal Stories, Science Fiction, Mysteries, Children with Disabilities, Horse Stories, Books about Divorce, Funny Stories, Scary Stories, Books about Cats, Autobiographies, Native American Stories, California Fiction, Picture Books Adults Will Like, Fantasy, Adventure, Classics, WWII Fiction, and Read Alouds for both Young and Older Children.

Another great resource for books that have been vetted at least initially, is the CYBILS website.   CYBILS is the Children's and Young Adult Bloggers' Awards website, which in their own words, seeks to:
"Reward the children's and young adult authors (and illustrators ...) whose books combine the highest literary merit and 'kid appeal.'  What's that mean?  If some la-di-dah awards can be compared to brussel sprouts, and other, more populist ones to gummy bears, we're thinking more like organic chicken nuggets.  We're yummy and nutritious.
It seems like the perfect union doesn't it?  Something your kids will like that you also think has intellectual value.  The great thing about the CYBILS site, is that they are in their fifth year of awards (with the newest set due out on Valentine's Day), so there are plenty of books to peruse in the quest to find just the right one for your child.  To help narrow the field for you, CYBILS breaks down their nominees and winners by the intended audience (e.g., middle grade, young adult) and they include both fiction and nonfiction groupings, with special nods to fantasy & science fiction as well as graphic novels.  Each book that is nominated as a finalist or a winner is reviewed on the site so it is a bit more user friendly than just a long list of books.

Check out CYBILS' finalists for 2010 or their winners for 2009 and you'll be sure find something to peak your interest and that of your young reader!

What is your go to source for finding new books for your children?  Be sure to let us know so we can share the information with other LP Parents!

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