BOOKS FOR CHILDREN: How do you know what's good?

While there are many places (especially on the internet) where you can read book reviews, how do you really know if it's a good book or not when a single book might receive anywhere from one to five stars?
The answer: read the reviews of a book-addicted teacher librarian.

** The age recommendations are guidelines only; whether or not a certain book is suitable for a particular child depends on multiple factors, including their maturity, reading level, interests, and in some cases their experiences.
** While the ratings are largely based on my own personal appreciation/enjoyment of the book, they are also influenced by my experiences as a teacher and the potential attraction for the target-aged child (acknowledging that what one child may love, another may find exceptionally boring). A rating of 5 indicates the book is likely to be popular with the majority.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Harry Potter series

AUTHOR: JK Rawlings (UK)

ISSUES: friendship, trust, magic, good vs evil, family, 'coming-of-age', choices, shouldering responsibility, child-adult mentor relationships

NOTES: a 7-book series, together with movie versions. Incredibly well-written and detailed.

PLOT: A young boy who sees himself through the eyes of his aunt, uncle and cousin as a nobody discovers that he is actually a wizard, and a famous one at that. As the character develops through each book, we discover that he has been destined practically from birth to battle the most evil wizard the world has ever known.

AGE: Read-aloud from age 8 (depending on child's maturity and ability to handle elements of terror). Children can read for themselves from as young as their reading ability allows them (generally about 10). The increased length of the later books naturally attracts an older reader.

GENRE: Fantasy, with elements of sci-fi, horror, and supernatural. RATING: 6 (out of 5) stars!!!

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