Book Roundup: Professional Development and Children’s Books

I don’t know about you, but I have a special “books” tag in my Goodreads: Books about books. A handful of these are books that have gotten me thinking more seriously about librarianship serving the very young, and I share those with you here in hopes that, over at our Facebook page, you will share some more titles to keep me and our colleagues reading and learning.

From Cover to Cover: Evaluating and Reviewing Children’s Books, by KT Horning

This guide to reviewing is invaluable if your work includes annotating, evaluating, or reviewing children’s books. The specific titles go out of date quickly--make sure to look for the 2010 edition, and obviously even that is several years out of date--but the general principles remain sound. The section on books for beginning readers is especially strong, and it’s what first brought the book to my attention.

I read an earlier edition first, and it was a little discouraging to realize how little had changed in almost two decades in the field of early chapter books.

A Family of Readers: The Book Lover’s Guide to Children’s and Young Adult Literature,

by Roger Sutton and Martha V. Parravano, editors of The Horn Book Magazine

I admit, I never thought consciously about what made a good board book until I read this. Famous children’s authors like Kevin Henkes and John Scieszkca weigh in on the qualities that draw readers to books from babyhood up, from joke compendiums to fairy tales, board books to sex ed to teen thrillers.

Reading Picture Books With Children: How To Shake Up Storytime and Get Kids Talking About What They See, by Megan Dowd Lambert

A coworker here at my branch turned me on to this one, and I’m so glad. Lambert’s “Whole Book Approach” treats picture books as coherent works of art. Are the pictures framed? Full-bleed? What’s in the gutter? What’s on the endpapers? Is the book vertical or horizontal?

For someone like me, who has definitely been guilty of privileging the text and seeing the pictures as window dressing, those questions were revelatory. I can’t wait to practice with my personal children at home (6 and 7 isn’t too old for picture books, right?) and start incorporating some Whole Book Approach techniques into storytime.

Have you read anything of these? What should I read next? Share your thoughts on our Facebook page!

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