Our most recent posts have encouraged families to allow their child to choose their own reading material and to reflect thoughtfully on how books impact childrens’ (and adults’) lives. But where to turn when you’ve read the last page of a recent favorite, or finally finished that series you started 6 months ago? (I call this having a book hangover and the only cure is a new favorite!) Or maybe you’re still searching for that one book that is sure to hook them to love reading long-term.
Here are some fool-proof resources for great children’s book recommendations… some for when you have loads of time to browse with your child and a few that take only a few seconds!
Helpful Sources for Children’s Book Recommendations
Brightly: Renee turned me on to this email newsletter a few months ago and I am HOOKED. I know the last thing we all need is another email flooding our inboxes, but this one is worth it, I promise. If you know you’re bad about keeping up with emails, then just bookmark their website. It should be the first place you check for vetted, thoroughly described book recommendations for every age and ability.
Your Public Library: I’ll never forget the words our librarian shared with us at a parent info session years ago: “the library is the one place where parents can say YES to their kids, over and over again.” Especially if your child’s reading interests and preferences really aren’t defined yet (or change frequently!), this is a great place to just allow them to browse and grab anything that catches their interest to investigate further at home.
Imagination Soup: This website is a recent find for us, and we love their thorough list of book recommendations. Name a topic your child is interested in or their age, and you’re guaranteed to find a list of books here that fits. This is a particularly robust website for those looking for picture books, whether for toddlers/preschoolers or to read aloud with a group of kids (Scouts, Sunday school, guest reader, etc.)
Common Sense Media: If your family is conservative or cautious about topics, language, and behaviors you want your child to be exposed to, this is a handy website to bookmark. Or just use it to check out any sensitive topics that might be inside that chapter book so you can discuss those things with your child in advance, during, or after reading.
Raising Real Readers: We hope as our website expands you’ll find us to be a quick, helpful, and fun resource for book recommendations and guidance in helping your child love reading. A referral is the highest form of praise we could receive, so if you feel inclined to do so, please share our site with family and friends who need a resource like this. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, GoodReads, and Pinterest.
Book Recommendations At a Glance
Independent bookstore: I am extraordinarily lucky to live in a town with a phenomenal bookstore. I head here for every single birthday and Christmas present that I buy for other children, and I hoard coupons to treat my own kids to new books here. The staff there are phenomenally knowledgeable, too, which I think is usually the case at stores like this… it’s what separates them from the Amazon-like competition. Also, if your favorite shop has a mailing list, sign up! I love browsing their best sellers or just knowing what new titles they have in.
Amazon Best Sellers: If a book is trending on Amazon, you can bet loads of parents and caregivers (and often teachers!) are devouring this title. Plus the speed at which Prime shipping happens means you can strike while the iron is hot if your child is asking about a certain book.
The New York Times Children’s Book section: If you’re not an Amazon shopper for whatever reason, then the New York Times Best Seller list is another great source of reading inspiration. The NYT is also one of the few major publications that is still large enough to have editorial staff devoted to books/literature and their children’s editors make great recommendations.
Barnes & Noble: If you don’t have a great independent shop, then maybe you have a Barnes and Noble near you? It is basically the last remaining big box bookstore, and we’re often really impressed with their “Staff Picks” section in the children’s department.
Post on FB: Some of the most active and interesting threads I’ve seen on Facebook as my kids get older is parents and caregivers asking for book recommendations for their children. I sometimes even screenshot the comments because I see so many great titles that my own kids would love! Your friends on social media likely already know your child and what they might like, so it can be a personal, quick, and fun way of getting new ideas.
If You Like ____, You’ll Love ____ Lists: My library posts these lists, as do many of the resources we mention above. Yes, sometimes kids get stuck in a rut with their reading, but often if they’ve been excited about a particular book or series, they want to seek out others that are similar.
Your Child’s Teacher/School Librarian: Renee often gets emails from parents asking for suggestions for holiday and birthday gifts for their child. Or ask at your next parent/teacher conference!
Follow #ClassroomBookADay on Twitter: This is how teachers who commit to reading at least one picture book a day in their classroom share titles. These are often books with important messages that beg for discussion, both at school and at home.
Follow Renee’s Instagram Favorites: Renee loves to follow fellow children’s book aficionados including: @hereweeread, @ramonarecommends, @heisereads, @mrschureads, @picturethisbook, @because.my.mother.read, @the.bookwormclub, @readbrightly, @helpingkidsrise, @theconsciouskid, @book.nerd.mommy to name a few!
One Final Tip
If you are reading a book recommendation and it is described as “starred review” that most likely means at least one of the major book reviewers deems it exceptionally high quality.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.