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.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Rainforest VS Rainforest (NF) (compare)

For the first time, I am comparing two titles. Both are Non Fiction for Primary school ages (middle primary and up), on the topic of rainforests around the world, published in the same year and in the same country.

AUTHOR: Penny Arlon and Tory Gordon-Harris.
PUBLISHED: England : Scholastic, 2013.

AUTHOR: Elinor Greenwood.
PUBLISHED: England : Dorling Kindersley, 2013.

Both present roughly the same information (e.g the different layers of the rainforest, where they grow, what animals live there, what is unique about the ecosystem, why they are important to the environment of the world, etc). The most significant difference is that the second title does not make mention of the Papua New Guinea rainforest (the first one does). PNG rainforest is one of the most significant in the world. New species are discovered there each year. It's like writing a book about deserts, but leaving out the Middle East.

There ARE different approaches to how the titles present the information, and what facts are given prominence. Each title has information the other does not, but the absence of PNG in the second is starkly notable. There is nothing wrong with the second title (it has its place in a school and public library), but it highlights the importance of having a range of titles on the same topic available to children, and in some cases they will need adult guidance to help them understand that accessing more than one title will give them a more comprehensive view of the topic.

AGE: Middle to upper primary. RATING: Both are more than adequate NF resources.

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