One of the most difficult things about working with a reluctant reader (or even an enthusiastic reader) is finding The Right Book. The Right Book is elusive, and it never seems to be the one that’s in your kid’s hands right now. This one is boring, this one is confusing, this one has too much girl stuff – the list goes on. Your public librarians work on finding The Right Book every day – and we’re always glad to help! If you’re ever having a difficult time hunting it down, just ask us!
In the meantime, though, here are two major tips:
1. Don’t Forget Non-Fiction!
A great deal of the time, when we think of what we and our kids should be reading, we think “literature”, which means we think “fiction chapter books”. But there is so much more than fiction in the realm of legit reading material! There are books on animals, exciting and mysterious moments in history, space, mythology, urban legends, how stuff works, the human body, and so on. This note is especially relevant for boys – studies show that often, non-fiction and graphic novels appeal to many boys a great deal more than the descriptive prose often found in fiction.
2. Try NoveList!
NoveList is an online resource available to you through Jeffco Libraries. You can use it to find book reviews, suggested age and grade levels for just about any fiction title you can think of, and to explore books more thoroughly than you can on Amazon or Google. The best part about NoveList, though, is that you can use it to find books that are similar to books you already know and love.
Here’s how to use it. From jeffcolibrary.org, click on “Research Tools”.
From there, click on “Subscription Databases A-Z” (you can also browse our online research resources, but we’ll use the A-Z list since we know exactly which one we want).
In the N’s, you’ll find NoveList K-8 (you’ll notice that there is also a NoveList for grown-ups just underneath)
In NoveList, you can search for titles, plot keywords, themes, and other things. In this case, I searched for a book I know that I like in order to find similar titles. Once I’ve found it, I can click “Title Read-Alikes” for a quick list of similar books.
Clicking on the title will bring you to a page full of useful stuff – plot synopses, reviews from reputable sources, and more. Notably, however, you can find a list of similar titles on the right side.
Beneath that, you can find books that are similar based on characteristics of this book. Want another book that’s been made into a movie, that’s suspenseful and fast-paced, but doesn’t necessarily have to be about magic, wizards, or school? Just check the boxes you’re interested and search away!
Happy searching! And remember, if you ever need help finding The Right Book – just ask us!